Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Episode Twenty Seven: Screw Screws

This project has taught me the following things: Inspiration can come from anywhere and the simplest ideas are often the best. Case in point: this little gem that I nicked from Softfluffycloud on Instagram. Also, this isn't so much about spending time with your children, but thinking on your feet and finding ideas from different sources. Fear not though, I will be screwing screws with my kids soon in another idea coming soon.

On New Years Eve the Auckland cousins came to play! It was awesome and without a doubt our children's favourite past time: playing with them and showing off their toys. As the children get older and can entertain each other I get a chance to talk to my brother without being interrupted. Win-win really.

On this particular visit we had arrived home from our Christmas camping expedition the day before and the children discovered that there was one more present they hadn't unwrapped on Christmas day: A 14ft trampoline. Needless to say they were ecstatic and very keen to show it off to their cousins.

For one reason or another we had to keep the children off the trampoline and so quick thinking was needed. That's when I looked at the huge pile of cardboard boxes from the trampoline and thought about that Instagram image. These kids could screw screws into the cardboard and that would keep them distracted and would (hopefully) be more interesting that the trampoline.

The instructions for this one are pretty simple. Grab some cardboard (I used about three pieces stuck together to make it hard work for the boys), half a dozen screws and a screwdriver. Bam! Done. I got all of the boys together and told them I needed their help: I needed all of those screws screwed into that cardboard. They were off and away laughing. I had them distracted for a good ten to fifteen minutes.

Just a quick word of warning here: Obviously the screws come out the other side and they can be sharp, that's why I put the cardboard on the grass. This avoided them screwing into our wooden deck or anything else precious. Also, I gave them strict instructions to leave the cardboard on the grass and not carry it around as the other end of the screws can really hurt. Keep that in mind.

All in all this was a dead simple idea that I was able to pluck out of the memory bank and, best of all, it actually worked! Have you found any great ideas from unlikely places? I really enjoy Pinterest for finding ideas and old magazines like Jabberwocky. Let me know of any other places I can look.

Have fun!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Episode Twenty Six: Go Crabbing

As far as I am concerned, and my children would probably agree, this is the idea to end all ideas. If this website was made up of one idea this would be it. It is quite simply the perfect idea: Go crabbing.

If you're lucky enough to live in New Zealand,  you live within 10km of the coast. If you're even luckier you live near a harbour with low and high tides, this is prime crabbing country. Sorry international readers, I'm not well-travelled enough to know if you have harbours like ours - I've been to one other country and they did. So, here's hoping.

With low tide comes mud and with mud comes crabs. The particular spot we frequent for crabbing features thousands upon thousands of little crab holes which are full of tunnelling mud crabs (Helice crassa). These little guys tend to hide in their holes but if you stand still for a moment and cast your eyes over the whole mud flat, you'll see dozens of brave souls scuttling from one hole to another. It's amazing.

All of our family (toddlers, boys, parents and grandparents) love squishing around in the mud - some in aqua socks (haha) or barefeet looking for crabs. We challenge each other to find the biggest one, collecting each one in a butterfly net that we bring along for this very purpose.

Not only is there a competition to see who can find the biggest crab, there is also a challenge to see who is brave enough to pick them up with their bare hands. How big a crab can you pick up with your fingers? It's great for confronting fear and doing things out of our comfort zone.

For me, this idea ticks quite a few boxes: Family involvement, competition, pushing boundaries of fear, getting dirty, being outside and close to nature, compassion for animals/creatures, exploration, discovery and the thrill of the chase. What more could you ask for?

Watch out for those pincers, they're small but they still hurt. Have fun!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Friday, Funday VII

Wow! Haven't done this in a while sorry team. Here are some cool videos that I've found and that some helpful people have sent me:

Apart from making me want a drum kit very much, this video shows how different environments affect sound. That effect you can hear is called 'reverb' and you can learn more about it by clicking here.

I've been thinking about ancient man and the evolution of humans lately and although this video doesn't explain much, it shows how awesome some people are at sculpture. This guy is amazing!

Speaking of clever sculptors, check this guy out! Making seemingly robust object malleable and flexible. Very clever and very weird.

The boys and I have been body-boarding this summer and catching some pretty mean waves. Now that they have an understanding of the ocean, videos like this can be seen in perspective. Watch in fullscreen!

This may be a bit cheesy, it is a Malaysian bank advert after all. But, it shows a huge mix of water and cornstarch and people doing nutso crazy stuff on it.

I'm afraid there is a naughty word in this one so maybe not suitable for allll the kids (from memory it's the f-bomb?). I don't know what sort of rules you got going on over there. Anyways, this video is about one of my most favourite people in the world and I used it to show my kids that not all adults are boring squares that won't let them stay up late and eat chocolate for dinner.

Thanks for reading!