Fun with Duct Tape

ductroseEveryone likes duct tape, especially to use for just about anything except its original purpose.  Students, in particular, like to make things out of duct tape.  You might surpised by just how many things you can make out of duct tape and a few other supplies.

 

 

Some of the smaller, simpler things I found are:

  • Book cover (just need a book to cover)
  • Bookmark
  • Bracelet – regular, braid or chain
  • Drink koozie (see instructions, need a drink can)
  • Flower (see instructions, good to have a pencil or pen as a base)
  • Hair bow (see instructions, need a hair band or clip)
  • Lanyard
  • Megaphone
  • Necktie
  • Picture frame
  • Placemat
  • Sandals or Slippers (need cardboard)
  • Wallet (see instructions)

You can find instructions for these and many more things at Duck Tape Club Ducktivities (Duck Tape is a brand of duct tape).

Be sure to get your duct tape in a few different bright colors to make things more fun and interesting!

 

Fun with Magnets

magnetMy youth group students said they wanted to experiment with magnets, so I wondered what to do and came up with this plan:

 

 

 

 

Materials

  • Magnets (1-2 per student)
  • Paper mazes (1 per student)
  • Paper clips (3 per student)
  • Miscellaneous coins
  • Cereal high in iron
  • Needles (1 per student)
  • Corks or fishing bobbers (1 per student)
  • Plastic cups (1 per student)

Steps – have each student:

  • Navigate the maze with a paperclip using a magnet on the other side of the paper
  • Use the magnet to pick up a paperclip, and have that paperclip pick up another, and so on, to make a chain of paperclips
  • Try to use the magnet to pick up the coins – this should not work
    • This may surprise them, as most people think all magnets pick up all metal objects
  • Try to use the magnet to pick up crushed piles of the cereal high in iron – this should work
    • This may surprise them, as most people don’t think a magnet would pick up cereal
  • Make a compass
    • Stroke a needle with a magnet about 100 times
    • Stick the needle in the cork or fishing bobber
    • You may need to stick a paperclip into the bottom of the cork or fishing bobber to weight it down
    • Put the needle contraption into a cup of water and watch it point north!

 

Choices for Dinner

tacosWell, it’s Tuesday, so we experienced Taco Tuesday for dinner this evening.  We do something a little different, in that we offer choices for dinner.  For example, for Taco Tuesday, we have BOTH hard taco shells AND soft tortillas, and we have BOTH ground beef AND chicken strips.  And, then we have all of the fixins laid out, including lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream and taco sauce.  It’s basically a self-serve taco bar.  Some family members only like certain things, and others have a couple different things because they like variety.

We do something similar when we have pasta for dinner.  We only have one type of pasta.  However, we have BOTH marinara AND Alfredo sauces, and we have BOTH powdered Parmesan AND shredded cheddar cheeses.  Sometimes we have meatballs, onions, or mushrooms on the side for anyone that wants them.  So, it’s like a self-serve pasta bar.  Again, some family members pick very specific things, and others have half a plate of one variation and half a plate of another.

I sometimes wonder, is this normal or unusual, good or bad?  It’s definitely good for getting the children to eat, as each one chooses what he or she wants.  But, is it bad to allow them to be picky by having choices for dinner?

 

Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Contest

PopsicleBridgeAre you looking for a fun, competitive activity for a youth group or Scout meeting?  At today’s middle school youth group, we had a popsicle stick bridge building contest!  Students paired up and received popsicle sticks, clay, clothespins, and rubber bands.  They had about 15 minutes to build their bridges.  When done, the students had to be able to put at least one book underneath each of their bridges.  Then, we tested each bridge to see which could hold the most books on top.  Of course, you could change many aspects of this activity, like the size of the groups, materials used, time allowed, and so on.  The students that built the strongest bridge won a prize, but they all had a good time!

 

Understand Teenagers!

IntimateUnderstandingIf you have tween or teen children, or if you associate with teenagers through church, Scouts or somewhere else, then you know they can be utterly confusing.  I still think that Middle School Ministries is the best starting place to understanding tweens and teens, but if that is Parenting 101, then the latest book I finished reading might be Parenting 102:

An Intimate Understanding of America’s Teenagers: Shaking Hands with Aliens

The author is a veteran school teacher and youth group leader, so he packs years of insight and wisdom into this book on teenagers.  He covers many points that won’t surprise you.  Teenagers need stability, love, boundaries, purpose and respect.  If you would  like to better understand why they need all of that, and how you can help provide it to them, then you’ll find heart-felt and thought-out guidance throughout thise book.

Extra note:  each chapter ends with advice for parents, teachers, and teenagers!  So, this is even a great book for teenagers to understand more about themselves and their fellow teens.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Family Tradition

GreenEggsHamFamily traditions are important to children. It gives them a sense of belonging and something to pass on to their children.

Every St. Patrick’s Day, for the last 14 years, we have started the day by reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. All the while, we actually enjoy a plate of green eggs and ham!

If you have a child, then you probably already have the book. If not, then you can get it here:
Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books)

For the dish, we just scamble some eggs, mix in some chunks of ham, and stir in a little green food coloring.

What St. Patrick’s Day family tradition do you have?