Tag Archives: kids

Homeschooler Catapult Exhibition, June 2014

The kids & I thought it would be fun to revive the catapult exhibitions we attended a few years ago, when they were too little to build any themselves.  So, here we go:

Catapult Exhibition
June 11, 2014 11AM
Location: TBA green space near North York Centre
Participants: Children educated at home in and around the Greater Toronto Area
Comment here or send me a message (iam at this domain) and I’ll build a roster of participants

Catapults go by many names: ballistae, trebuchets, onagers, hsuan feng, mangonels, petraries, scorpions, tormenta, and others.  What we’re looking for here is a ballistic device used to launch a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices.  Put your thinking caps on, get your tools out, work out the maths and angles, and build away.

We are thinking of setting up a system to measure the distance the objects are thrown, and also an accuracy/target course.  Two categories: kid made only, and then the models which the adults helped with.  Ammo wise, plan to use something similar to an orange — we’ll update this after we’ve had a chance to test a few things out.   Depending on numbers we will either give everyone a chance to talk about their build in front of the group, or a set time where spectators can go from build to build and ask questions about it.

Ideally the space we pick in addition to the missile range will have some playground equipment for families with younger siblings, area to picnic for lunch, and generally hang out to make a day of it for those so inclined.  I have a great spot in mind, I just want to test out the range of our builds to get a sense of how much space we’ll need before I settle on it.  Don’t want any windows broken or near by roadways interfered with.

catapult-DIY-easy-kid-actvity-marshmallowNot everyone is as handy with tools and building as they once were, so I hope to see some collaborations between different groups, maybe even some teaming up to share resources and expertise, or some grandparents pitching in.  It could be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for to try a maker project?  Alternatively you might want to start small and build a simple one out of craft sticks, or marshmallows.

Toronto Tool Library logoA place you might want to check out in the course of your project is the Toronto Tool Library, they have a variety of tools available, and at their East End location a makerspace.  Another makerspace in town that has woodworking capability is Site3 co-laboratory.  Let me know if you are aware of others.  Maybe we’ll see some 3D printed designs, in which case maybe check out the Digital Innovation Hub at the Toronto Reference Library?

A site we like is DIY.org, and they have a Catapult or Trebuchet challenge you can submit your project to, or review some of the devices other kids have made.

Some books we’ve found at the library that have designs and plans and ideas on how to get started are:

Toronto_Public_Library_logoSpeaking of the library, maybe you’ll join us at our Wednesday afternoon homeschooler group at North York Central library (1:30-3pm in the storyroom).  We plan to cover a few topics in the next couple of months applicable to catapults (levers & fulcrums for example is set for April 9th’s session for example).

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Teach Me How To Breastfeed Rap Video

Tanefer Lumukanda is a hospital-based Lactation Consultant who wanted to explore new ways in educating and encouraging new moms all over on how to breastfeed.  She came up with a Rap Video: Teach Me How to Breastfeed (also on Youtube).

She writes about the experience at the MomsRising blog.

For more information on Breastfeeding see Jack Newman’s resources and the Government of Canada’s top reasons to breastfeed, or contact your local La Leche League.

Busy few weekends

green eggs and ham storymobThe next few weekends have a lot of action going on.  Here are some of the things we’re doing, what is keeping you busy?

September 7 we’ll be meeting at the yet to be revealed location (Update! Cabbagetown Festival Another update — CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER) for our Green Eggs & Ham Storymob!  In the morning Jen will be helping out at the Ladies Learning Code Introduction to Drupal.

Toronto School of Circus Arts LogoSeptember 14 the kids and I will be returning to the Toronto School of Circus Arts for another exciting session of all things circus.

September 15 is the Ice Ride.  We’ll be participating in Toronto’s ride to help save the arctic.

September 21-22 is the Toronto Mini Maker Faire, and the Sunday has recently been announced as Family Day at the Faire, where families can go as a group and enjoy some activities as well as all the awesome makers and their creations (such as the ‘Mothra’ skis).

Toronto Mini Maker Faire banner

Toronto Mini Maker Faire banner

Jillian Jiggs Storymob

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Yesterday we participated in a StoryMob.  What’s that you ask?orangePirate_sm-150x150

“StoryMobs are where great kids’ books meet flash mobs with a dash of Mardi Gras thrown in.  A story mob is inspired by an exceptional children’s book and allows for participation in a variety of ways. These may include costumes & props, copies of the book, simple choreography, musical instruments and vocal parts.”

I learned of it through our love of Fancy Pants Kids, whose Mompreneur Gretel Meyer Odell is one of the organizers of the StoryMobs in Toronto.  We were eager to participate and lucky the timing worked out for us so we could enjoy this family friendly theatre-esque event in Toronto.

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Yesterday‘s book was Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman, which was a great choice due to all the dressing up that the characters in the book do, along with the refrain: “Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs, it looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!”.

I really wish I could have gotten video of the experience itself, but when you’re in the middle of it, as a reader (of two lines I was :-D) and costume changer of the kids, I wasn’t able too.  Hopefully down the road a video will be released of it from some of the many other participants so you can see what it is like in true flash mob style.  The passers-by who were walking the closed down Queen St for the Beaches Jazz Festival seemed to enjoy the street theatre they happened upon.

Thanks to children’s book store Ella Minnow for being a back-drop and anchor for the event.

The Children's Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it "LMNO".

The Children’s Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it “LMNO”.

Their window display for the Storymob.

Their window display for the Storymob.

If you’re keen to try this out yourself, they will be organizing two more this summer here in Toronto.   And yeah, why not start your own local one where ever you might be?

Update: More photos on the ‘official flickr‘, and Stephanie Mclellan’s  blog (you have to go fullscreen to see them all) and facebook (if you can handle the gif formated images).

Game of the Week: The Kids of Carcassonne

The kids have been enjoying playing The Kids of Carcassonne this week (thanks for the loan Karen!) so I’ve declared it the “Game of the Week” (something tells me I won’t have a post every week for other games though).

The game is part of the Carcassonne family of ‘German Style’ games, which I have had recommended to me a number of times, but always figured the kids needed to be a few years older to try.  Not so with this simplified, but still fun, version that doesn’t require any reading and little more than some spacial work and a bit of space to spread the tiles around on.

The box says a game lasts 20minutes, we’ve been finding it’s probably closer to 10 minutes.  We’ll play 3 or 4 times in a row — we just pick different colours to be.  My daughter likes it when I pick a colour that’s a little girl on the box art.

For those that like non-competitive games, this one can be done with a flavour my daughter chooses to play in, which is to aid your fellow players roads over advancing her own.

Published in North American by Rio Grande Games.

I wonder if this means we’ll be trying The Kids of Catan next?

See the below gallery of images for an example of how the board can build during game play, as well as a few ‘artsy’ shots we took with the new camera and it’s filters.