An impulse purchase while at the St. Jacob’s Market with my kids in the fall committed me to making a large batch of pickles. I have done canning plenty of times before for my favourite salsa recipe so all I had to do was learn how to make pickles. Turns out there is plenty to do in preparation for the canning.
I live in an “established” neighborhood – it’s been around for 30+ years, so the homes are are settled in and the trees are nice and mature. We don’t live far from my kids’ school, so we walk every day, and every day we take a path as a short cut.
For a few days, I noticed birds going crazy every time we walked up the path. The same two birds, a cardinal then a robin. Finally, it dawned upon me, they must be nesting. So, the next day, I walked slowly behind my kids as they ran up the path, and took note where the birds were flying from. And sure enough, on top of the City’s chain-link fence that borders the path, I found two nests within six feet of each other. Read more
I run a regular program at WPL called “Discover DIY” (formerly known as “Mini Makers”) for children aged 2-4. Each week I set up and run 1-2 new activities with the kids, interspersed with some story time.
Recently, I had an idea for a program for the kids where I could use up some scrap wood from my workshop. I would cut the wood up into regular-sized pieces, and give the kids instructions to make cars with them. I brought in some thin dowel to use as axles, some thick dowel pre-cut into thin strips and drilled with holes for wheels, and I brought in a power drill to make axle holes wherever the kids wanted with my help.
I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of the creations. These are kids aged 2-4, while they all have an idea of what a car is, it isn’t as cut-and-dry a definition as what an adult would have if you asked them to create a new car. Below is a sampling of the results of the kids’ work: Read more
Ever have one of those ideas that worked out better in your head than it did in reality? I had one of those for a kids’ activity. Pinterest inspired me to try painting some river rocks. Find some rocks, spray paint them white, give kids some inspiration, and go! Read more
On time and under budget to boot! Work tasked me with making five prize wheels. I estimated it’d cost $50 to do and got the go-ahead. Approximately it cost me:
- $10 for the mdf to make the wheels
- $6 for the dowel for the clicker
- $10 for the hardware
- $10 for the wood for the stands
- Free! for the clicker (just a strip of plastic cut from a lettuce box)
It’s that time of year! Christmas! I have put together a tutorial on how to make some quick snowflake decorations. This is a great activity for kids and adults, and can be used as decorations for the tree, gifts to be given, even little tiny add-ons for your presents. It is quick and simple, cheap, and awesome for last-minute ideas.
You will need:
- Sheet of acrylic
- available at most hardware and surplus stores. I used stuff 3mm thick.
- Access to a laser cutter
- often found at Makerspaces, some Libraries, Universities, and the occasional local service provider. I am a member at Kwartzlab (a Makerspace in Kitchener).
- Inkscape installed on your computer
- or any other vector editing software (Inkscape is free and Open Source)
- Access to the Snowflake Generator site
- Colourful permanent markers (I’ve used Sharpies without issue)
- Glue gun and glue stick
Time for another fun kid-friendly tutorial! This time, we are going to make a pull-back airplane! Pull-back all the things!
Consumables needed include:
- 1 popsicle stick
- 1 elastic
- 1 paperclip
- 1 straw
- 1 small ball of Plasticine, clay, play dough, whatever
- duct tape
- 1 styrofoam tray (15 cm x 21 cm pictured here)
I got to check one off the bucket list the other day.
With all the LRT construction in #KWAwesome, it was inevitable that I become obsessed with trains, as I am a six year old boy at heart. Most days I drive and/or walk through some of the LRT construction, watching the changes slowly take shape over the days, weeks, months. Read more
I was recently was bitten by the knitting bug, and I have just got it out of my system. I have knitted before, but I find the process too simple and repetitive and have a hard time relaxing (if something is too repetitive I get stressed out, I prefer a little variety/challenge to my simpler tasks). Plus, knitting with needles make my hands cramp easily. However, I taught myself how to knit hats with a loom, and I found it had just enough variety to its simple tasks that it became quite enjoyable.
The most striking thing I noticed, however, was how knitting with a loom was so similar to another activity, which may be familiar to parents of young children: Rainbow Loom! Read more
You just need to know where to look. Read more