I purchased two electronics soldering projects for my son, expecting he would do one project a week – taking his time. The first project was the Useless Machine Kit, which he loved! Endless giggles come from any kid (or adult) who flips the switch. And no one can flip the switch just once! The second project was this see through calculator. The SpikenzieLabs Calculator Kit is really cool and gives him more experience with soldering. My only problem is that I find I am going to have to release his future electronics projects on a schedule, as he finished both of these in less than 2 days! So much for keeping him busy this summer!
One of the summer breakfasts that my kids love is my fruit salad, although it can be eaten all year round. And kids can make this salad, with very little supervision!!! I like recipes that kids make because when they participate in making it, they will usually eat it.
First chop some strawberries. In a hurry, use strawberries from the produce isle in the store.
Drain a can of mandarin oranges and add to the chopped strawberries…
Grab a beautiful apple…
Chop the apple and add to the strawberries and mandarins…
Starting to salivate yet??
Add some Greek vanilla yogurt…
I like to use Chobani, but my kids prefer Yoplait because it is sweeter and less tangy (probably less healthy too), but on this one I let them win …
Toss in some coconut…
I just use Baker Sweetened Coconut…
Stir. The mardarins will crush, mixing with the vanilla yogurt creating a wonderful sauce.
Summertime is project time for my kids! So, before school was out, I was on a quest for electronics soldering projects for my son, who just turned 14. One of the projects I discovered, which my son loves, is the Useless Machine – a box with a switch on it. When the switch is flipped on, the box opens up and turns itself off. It is a contraption that has resulted in endless giggles from all who flip the switch. WARNING: No one can flip the switch just once!
I bought The Paper Architect: Fold-It-Yourself Buildings and Structures for my son several years ago because he likes origami and has an interest in being an architect. He did many of the designs in this book and enjoyed it. There are structures for all skill levels. You can reuse the designs by copying to card stock, and cutting the card stock copies instead of the originals. Doing this allows you to make extras, if they mess up, as well as allowing your younger kids to enjoy the book when they get older. I store the originals designs in a large Ziploc inside the book. My daughter, who loves origami, is also now enjoying this book!
Simply copy the design to card stock…
Using an X-Acto craft knife, they cut on the solid lines. Make sure to have a cutting board of some sort underneath their work to protect the work space.
She is halfway there…
Once all the cutting is complete, they do some origami folding – valley & mountain folds. Then, wallah…. a 3D bridge from a 2D piece of card stock! So Cool!
The bridge is one of the simpler designs! There are so many cool structures to build from easy to complex. I love this book!
Kids can write their own applications for their android devices. How you might ask? With the free App Inventor development environment from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The wonderful thing about App Inventor is that it lets you see the results of each step of coding immediately, so you never get bored. This is especially great for kids! They get immediate feedback! And… Oh … by the way… App Inventor is not just for kids. It’s for adults too!!
Here’s is how I got my 10 year old daughter started:
First you will need to create a Google account, if you do not have a Google account already.
Follow Setting up App Inventor 2 to setup your android device for live testing. If you do not have an android device, there are also instructions for setting up an emulator that will simulate an android device.
On your computer, bring up two separate browser windows.
In the first browser window, bring up App Inventor’s Designer and Block Editor. It will request access to your Google account. This allows App Inventor to use Google’s free cloud space for storage instead of your computer. It will then bring up the App Inventor’s Designer and Block Editor.
The easiest way to start is to follow a video tutorial(s) to write your first few applications. The video I used with the kids, ages 10-13, on my FIRST Lego League team was Build the Paint Pot App. Those kids went on to write the Triag application in the picture shown above. The Paint Pot App allows you to draw circles and lines on a picture taken with your device’s camera.
In the second window, step through each of the videos (1-7), pausing as needed to allow time to code the application in the Designer and Block Editor – window one.
When you are finished with the step 7 video, you should have your completed Paint Pot application!! Pretty Cool!
On that same tutorial page are other video tutorials under the header APPS(AI2). These are for App Inventor version 2. Those under the APPS(Classic) header are for the older version of App Inventor. I suggest Android Mash.
Here is my list of 2013 summer camps for Newport News, VA. I have heard good things about them all, but the ones I expand on are ones I have personal experience with.
Camp Invention (at Christopher Newport University) – My kids have attended this camp for the last 7 years and have loved it. My son has aged out, but my daughter will attend. I love it because it encourages them to think outside the box, while inventing — and they love it. They come home wanting to take everything apart and create new things. For kids who have aged out of Camp Invention, Menchville High School’s award winning FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, Triple Helix, holds their Robo Camp at the same time at Christopher Newport University. It’s nice to have something for the older and younger children at the same time and same location.
Chesapeake Experience Kayak Camps – both my kids attended kayak camps last summer and both loved it. My daughter, who was skeptical, only signed up for the 2-day camp and wished she had done the whole week camp. This year they both wanted to do the week long camps. The camps fill up quickly, so hurry if you are interested.
Jamestown 4-H Camp – another outdoorsy camp we are considering. Kids spend the week away from home at the Jamestown 4-H Educational Center.
PFAC Summer Art Ventures – Go to the bottom of this PFAC page to see the list of all the Summer Art Ventures camps. These are 1/2 day camps. My kids are especially interested in the clay camps. They have attended other camps here before and really enjoyed them.
The folks at Chesapeake Experience Kayak Camps sent me this information about the Seaford Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program. I thought it might be worth mentioning, although I have no experience with this camp.
Is your child having difficulty with a particular math subject at school? Are you taking a college calculus course and could use some extra explanation of a topic? Does your child or you need help in other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects? Check out Khan Academy. Browse their wonderful math videos, from Singapore Math at grade school level all the way up to Calculus and Trigonometry at College level. These videos are great for that extra support understanding a new topic. Khan Academy has over 3,400 free videos on various subjects – math, science, computer science, finance & economics, humanities, etc.
A year and a half ago, my daughter (almost 9 now) said she wanted to learn how to sew. I thought that a sewing kit and, possibly, a sewing machine would make a good Christmas gift. So, I started my research on sewing machines (a post soon to come) and sewing kits for kids. I quickly realized that the sewing kits out there for kids were all so cheap, in quality — but not in price. For what you paid, you received very few items and the items were not very good in quality. I wanted a sewing kit that my daughter could use throughout her life… something that would last… and that she would have years of wonderful, creative memories associated with…
The top compartment of the box holds larger items that won’t fit in the trays. It works out nicely. For the four internal boxes….
One became sewing related items….
One became embroidery related items…
One became knitting related items…
One became crochet related items…
There is lots of space, so items can be added as they are needed for various projects.
I also filled a dollar store drawstring bag with lots of colorful felt and yarn. Her favorite color felts are long gone — she has used them for making small drawstring bags, small felt animals or practicing embroidery on. Felt is a wonderful starter material on which kids can learn to hand sew, machine sew or embroider.
The following is a hand sewing project my daughter embarked on after my son, who is 12 now, put a sign on his door, which said “No, GIRLS younger than me allowed in MY room without MY permission!” His sign was paper.
She stopped working on her sign for a little while (due to school & gymnastics) and is now hard at work on it again, now that it is summer time!!! CUTE!
I purchased several of the following sewing books for kids when I was creating a sewing kit for my daughter at Christmas. I looked through the projects in the books to figure the initial supplies to put into the sewing kit. Other books I have added since. I love all these books. They have wonderful and fun ideas!
The Cute Book and The Cuter Book have CUTE little stuffed animal creatures for kids to sew. These were the first projects that both my kids and their cousins were drawn to. I think because the animals are small and the books have step-by-step instructions, kids are not intimidated by them at all. They jump right in and start sewing these cute little animals…
See and Sew: A Sewing Book for Children covers the very basics of sewing — with a Norman Rockwell feel. There is a very nostalgic look and feel to this book. It includes many basic stitches, sewing on buttons, shanking buttons, making pom poms, etc.