#367: Make a Balloon Stick to the Wall

'Tis the season for static electricity. Why not use it for fun?

Did you know if you rub a balloon in your hair, it will build up static electricity on the balloon's surface, making it able to stick to a wall? Try it!

Make this a family activity: Get everyone adding a balloon to the wall.

This activity promotes curiosity about science.


#366: Paper Doll Chain

To make a paper doll chain, you will need paper, a pencil, and scissors.

Fold your paper like an accordion. Start on one end of your paper and fold it up about and inch and a half. Then, flip you paper over and take your inch and a half fold and fold it (as well as the paper over it) up an inch and a half. Flip your paper over and fold the fold up again. Keep going until you are at the end of your paper.

Now, draw half a person on the top fold of your folded paper. Starting on the left fold, draw half a head--the middle of the head will be right at the fold. Draw the neck and body. The arms and legs come next and will reach all the way out to the right fold. Next, cut out your body--make sure you cut through all the folds--but do not cut the folds apart. You should have half a body when you are done.

Unfold. You should have a chain of people holding hands with their feet touching.

Make this a family activity: Have everyone make a chain that is 'them' and put all the chains together in a big family. You can buy a large frame at a second hand store to place your family chains into and hang them on the wall.

This activity promotes eye hand coordination as well as visualizing abstract concepts.


#365: Make a Volcano

Instructions for making a volcano:

To make a BIG volcano, you will need:

- 250mL (1 cup) Vinegar
- 60 mL (4 tbsp) Baking Soda
- Red food coloring—about 4 drops (optional)
- Dish Detergent—about 6 drops
- jar or bottle (This will be your volcano. Or a volcano can be made from clay or paper maché.)
- stir stick that reaches the bottom of your volcano (a long straw works)
- tray to put under the volcano to catch the lava

In your jar or bottle, pour in your baking soda and dish detergent. Mix your food colouring and vinegar. Pour the coloured vinegar into the volcano (jar/bottle) and give it a slight stir.

Look out! It's a bubbly eruption! There's lava everywhere! Save the people!

If you are using a smaller bottle like mine in the video, use half the ingredients.


Make this a family activity: Work together to make your volcano erupt.

This activity promotes the knowledge of chemical reactions.


#364: Musical Chairs

Number of players for musical chairs: 5 or more.

To play musical chairs, you will need: music, chairs (one for each player—minus two).

Musical chairs rules:

Place chairs in a circle, the seats facing out. One player is in charge of the music, the others are trying to get a chair to sit on when the music stops.

Put out one chair for everyone, minus one chair. For example, if you have 5 people, one is in charge of the music and 4 are playing, so you need 3 chairs. Without looking at the players, the player with the music randomly turns the music on and off. The rest of the players walk around the chairs while the music is going. (You have to keep moving!) As soon as the music stops, everyone tries to sit on a chair. Whoever is left without a chair when the music stops, is out.

After each round, take out a chair. Keep playing until there is only 1 player left.

Variations: Everyone tries to get in a hula hoop or onto a towel when the music stops.

Make this a family activity: Who can get their butt on a chair the fastest? Is it better to be small or tall?

This activity promotes listening skills, coordination, and timing.


#363: Categories

Categories can be a tricky game. If players are to keep the rhythm, this is a game best suited for ages 9 and up. If players don't need to keep the rhythm, this game can be for younger players--ages 6 and up.

Everyone sits in a circle and claps or slaps their legs to a rhythm (like: clap-clap, clap, clap-clap, clap or if you are slapping: slap-slap, slap, slap-slap, slap). Once everyone has the rhythm, one player starts the categories by saying “I am thinking of kinds of…. (and says what the category is and then adds in their item).”

They say this in rhythm to the clapping or slapping. The next player in the circle joins in after one clap or slap by saying something that fits in the category.

Go around the circle until all players are out of ideas or someone misses a beat. Players are normally sent out of the game for missing a beat, but you can also play where they keep playing.

Person one: (clap-clap, clap) “I am thinking of kinds of clothes” (clap-clap, clap) “hat”
Person two: (clap-clap, clap) “socks”
Person three: (clap-clap, clap) “pants”
Persons four: (clap-clap, clap) “t-shirt”

Category ideas: clothes, candy, places, things that grow, TV shows, books, people, relatives, food that is red, animals, electronics, teachers in your school, sports, dog breeds, song titles, names, school subjects, ice cream flavours.

Make this a family activity: Instead of playing a board game on family game night, try this one. This game can also be played in the car. (The driver doesn't have to clap or slap though!)

This activity promotes timing, word association and grouping skills.


#362: Obstacle Game

You will need a ball and some obstacles as well as some space on the floor to play the obstacle game.

The point of this game is to roll your ball (you toss it at the start line) from one end of the 'court' to the other end where the finish line is, missing or hitting different things that are in your ball's way.

This is an easy course with the white rack as the start line, the blue jar lid as 100 point bounce off object and the comb as a knockdown item for 200 points. The horse was a bridge to go under, but is now the audience.

First off, decide where your court will be. Create a start line (can be a ribbon, a pencil, a line drawn into the carpet with your finger, or whatever you have) and a finish line. Between the two lines, make obstacles for your ball to hit, miss, go over, bounce off, under, around--anything!

Some ideas--a toy horse could be a bridge and your ball has to go between the legs. Maybe a propped up comb needs to be knocked over, a toilet paper tube needs to be gone through. Put as much in your court as you want. Mix it up! Is it too hard? Make it easier. Too easy, make it harder!

When playing with a friend, have one person on each end of the court. So your finish line becomes their start line and your start line becomes their finish line.

The obstacle game can also be a 'points' game where you get points for hitting or missing different things in your court.

Make this a family activity: The more people working on the course, the cooler the ideas!

This activity promotes fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.


#361: Telephone

Telephone is a game that is best when you have 5 players or more players.

How to play the telephone game:

Have everyone sit in a circle. One player makes up a sentence—silly sentences are good—like, “On Sundays giraffes walk sideways in peanut butter.” They whisper their sentence in the ear of the next player. That player repeats what they heard to the next player, and on and on until it reaches the last player.

The sentence can only be whispered to a player once. If someone forgets or doesn’t hear it all, they have to repeat the sentence to the next player as best as they can. The last player in the circle says the sentence out loud and the player who made up the sentence tells everyone what the sentence really was. Sometimes it is very different!

Make this a family activity: Sit in a circle with your family and see if the telephone gets broken.

This activity promotes listening and memory skills.