The Magic Key, January 2010

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The Magic Key (http://kessemmagickey.blogspot.com) includes references to unique websites, creative activities, home science experiments, books and more.

It forms a collection of personal suggestions and recommendations for a magical world of contemplation, challenge and fun for curious, creative and thinking kids: crafts, tips and ideas for parents who want to preserve their children's enchantment, wonder and gusto toward the world around us.

The Magic Key also includes a weekly post titled "This Week in History for Kids", published each Monday and presenting various events attractively for kids.

This document contains posts that appeared in The Magic Key during January 2010.

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The Magic Key, January 2010

  1. 1. The Magic Key, January 2010 The Magic Key includes references to unique websites, creative activities, home science experiments, books and more. It forms a collection of personal suggestions and recommendations for a magical world of contemplation, challenge and fun for curious, creative and thinking kids: crafts, tips and ideas for parents who want to preserve their children's enchantment, wonder and gusto toward the world around us. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for "This Week in History for Kids" published each Monday - a weekly post presenting various events attractively for kids. You are more than welcome to add your own comments, suggestions and ideas! A Cool Physics Game for Kids Learning physics without even knowing it - crayonphysics.com: a brilliant physics game for kids of all ages. Excellent free version (the demo). Enjoy! :-) ©
  2. 2. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 2 of 19 An Ant Colony - A Look from Within! This is truly amazing. An ant colony, deserted according to the publisher of this video (let's hope this is true), is exposed to its full dimensions. Bet you didn't think it is THAT huge...! The Exploratorium - Museum of Science, Art & Human Perception A virtual extension of the Exploratorium museum, featuring sections of seeing and hearing, matter/world, mind and life sciences. Fascinating! ©
  3. 3. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 3 of 19 A Homemade Distorting Mirror Requires transparencies. Works great and kids love it; at the same time, serves to easily illustrate optical principles: join together 12 transparencies, and paste them at the four sides (about 5-6 cm of tape at the center should be fine. No need to tape the whole length of each side; plus it might lessen the flexibilty). Now bend the "mirror" in any desired direction. If the lighting is reasonable, this works great (if not, add another one or two transparencies). Did your kids like it? :-) ©
  4. 4. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 4 of 19 Adding Fun - An Arithmetic Booklet for Kids Here is a small booklet I made for my own kids, which may be of interest to yours as well. There are two versions - an adobe acrobat (pdf) file in a regular printing mode (every sheet contains one page), and a "challenging" file, in the shape of a booklet (with two pages in every sheet, which allows for forming a booklet, but requires paying attention when folding and putting the pages together). The important principle shown is that addition is always addition, no matter what objects we add: tangible objects, numbers (or other abstract objects), and even concepts which we don't understand their meaning , or which don't exist in reality. ©
  5. 5. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 5 of 19 Astronomy Picture of the Day by NASA Every day features a new picture of the wonders of our universe as captured by NASA photographers. You can subscribe to the RSS stream of the photos or search the site for previous photos. I especially like the calendar search, where you choose a month and see each day represented by a clickable thumbnail of that day's photo. Share here the wonderful questions your kids raised following watching these photos! ©
  6. 6. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 6 of 19 The National Geographic Photo of the Day Every day features a different magnificent photo by the National Geographic, along with a concise explanation. The previous photos are divided into galleries by subjects, and you can choose photos for your wallpaper, send in photos taken by the kids (some of them will be published), and even get some photography tips. A feast for the eyes! ©
  7. 7. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 7 of 19 A Four-Dimensional Travel in the Known Universe A virtual three-dimensional journey, along with the fourth dimension - time, beginning in the Himalayas and ending at the verge of the known universe, with a magnificent afterglow of the Big Bang. A wonderful video from the American Museum of Natural History. It might be beneficial to assist the kids with a little explaining, though an "innocent" viewing will be just as impressive at any age...! Thanks for this reference to my friend Heidi Cool! ©
  8. 8. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 8 of 19 A Nice Test-Game in Logic and Creativity: Expressing Music in Shapes Not very simple, especially for kids, and yet intriguing and challenging: sounds are represented by geometrical shapes, and we are asked to discover the logic behind it (scroll down a bit in the page to reach the test). You can listen several times before answering. After the test (or before it, or instead of it, or without any connection to it) arouse your kids' imagination by asking them questions about the connections between different senses: what colors can you "see" in different musical pieces? What sounds can we "hear" in pictures or books, or what kind of music might suit them? What shape does an itch, a scratch, a caress have? Good luck! ©
  9. 9. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 9 of 19 A Microphone Craft Take a small dairy drink bottle (such as that of DanActive/Actimel), wrap with aluminum foil so that the bottle is wholly covered, and about 4" (10cm) of foil are left at the bottom. Tighten the remaining foil to create the microphone's cord. Use a tooth pick to puncture small holes in the part of the foil covering the bottle's opening, to create a microphone look, but mainly - to allow it to function! Indeed, since the bottle is a small sounding board, when speaking very close to it - it will amplify your voice. Very slightly, and yet - a real microphone, home-made by the kids! ©
  10. 10. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 10 of 19 The World as Seen through Animals' Eyes This, for instance, is what the world looks like from the eye height of a tarantula spider. A green turtle, an armadillo, an alligator and other animals contribute their viewpoints as well to the website of the Museum of Animal Perspective. You will also find here many wondrous videos of animals not taken "through their eyes" but by cameras very close to the animals themselves. Thus, for instance, we can watch a pair of vultures incubating, a bear attacking the camera (unmanned, operated by movement sensors), splendid fish side by side with sea-monsters deep in the ocean, and so on. Enjoy! ©
  11. 11. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 11 of 19 The Sensory Box (Tactile Box) Does your child complain that his clothes itch? Must she always have the socks entirely streched, or, to the opposite, must they always be loose? Do strong noises make him cover his ears with his hands? And if "this" touched "that" in her plate, does it mean dinner's over? Many kids are especially sensitive to touch, and we are not always aware of this. The "tactile box" is meant to allow them to safely and gradually experiance new sensations, some pleasant and some unpleasant, and to get used to them. What should you put in the box? - Anything: a bath sponge, an acorn, a leaf, a feather, a brush; items made of wood, of wool, of nylon, of plastic; hard objects, soft objects, tickling objects, itching objects... - anything at all: diversity is the name of the game. Put all of these items in front of the child, then ask him to close his eyes. Choose one object and touch the child all over his body: hands, legs, stomach, back, face, nape... - now, let him guess with which object you touched him. It would be a good idea to switch turns, too. Another important game requires no object but your hand. Ask the child to close her eyes, and touch her swiftly in some part of her body. Ask: where did I touch you? Gradually, make your touching gentler and gentler. Try switching turns here, too. What did you find out? Any surprises? ©
  12. 12. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 12 of 19 Art in our Nature Next time you go out to nature, allow the kids to draw out in the open. Whether they draw what they see, what they sense or what they feel, the experience is unique! ©
  13. 13. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 13 of 19 The Easiest Mask Craft Simply cut along the length of a towel paper roll to open it. Add holes for the eyes, nose and mouth, and attach some string to allow wearing the mask. Leave as is, or decorate as you please! ©
  14. 14. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 14 of 19 San Diego Zoo - Visit through Your Computer! View map The San Diego Zoo is now viewable through Google Maps' "street view": use the arrows in the interactive map above, or click here, choose "street view" by clicking the little yellow person on the upper left side of the map, and start strolling around. Never a replacement for a real visit, and yet, a nice compromise when weather and/or distance prevent you from actually visiting! ©
  15. 15. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 15 of 19 "This Week in History for Kids", published Mondays: This Week in History for Kids - From "Action Painting" to Bossa Nova (Jan 25-31) This week (January 28th) marks the birthday of unique painter Jackson Pollock. Pollock belonged to a small group of painters whose work was termed “action painting”. Can you, or your kids, paint like Jackson Pollock as well? Simply move your cursor, and click to change color. How do you like your finished work? Is it good art? You might want to compare it to the works collected at The Museum of Bad Art (oh yes, they mean it). If you dare leave the computer, you might benefit from a charming, though messy, experience - let this video inspire you. How beautiful! This does not conclude the list of artistic birthdays of this week: Antônio Carlos Jobim, of the creators of Bossa Nova - a Brazilian musical genre close to Samba - was born in January 25th, 1927. One of his most well-known songs is The Girl from Ipanema. It is somewhat disappointing to realize that the web is still missing musical resources for kids as regards specific musical genres. The best way to present Brazilian music to your kids is, of course, to introduce them to various songs (such as Desafinado, A Felicidade, and many others). While listening, you may engage the kids in interesting activities; ideas can ©
  16. 16. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 16 of 19 be found here (this is part of a curriculum, that may be adapted to other songs of your choice). Of course, those who play musical instruments will be happy to discover this treasure of notes (scroll down the page). … And how would you feel about action-painting while listening to bossa-nova songs? This Week in History: Flying Saucers, UFO's and Frisbees (Jan 18-24) In January 18, 1644, a group of pilgrims reported seeing the first UFO in America. Ever since, people around the globe continue to “see” UFO’s and be “abducted” by aliens. Are we alone in the universe, or is there life outside Earth? “Alien Earths” is the name of an online exhibition on the search for life outside Earth; what are we actually searching for? NASA offers kids game-“trainings” in the necessary conditions for life, and having passed these trainings, they can design a habitable planet other than Earth. In another game the kids can listen to sounds from space, trying to determine whether they are natural, or constitute a message from aliens. ©
  17. 17. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 17 of 19 In a strange coincidence (or is it the outcome of intelligent alien design?), this week also celebrates the birthday of frisbees, first produced by a UFO enthusiast named Walter Frederick Morrison in 1957. Morrison patented his invention, which was based on playing with empty pie tins. On patent registration and related issues kids are welcome to learn in the beautiful and imaginative kids’ website of the US Patent and Trademark Office. This Week in History for Kids: Christopher Columbus "sees" mermaids Jan 9, 1493: Christopher Columbus reports seeing 3 mermaids. The mermaids, he wrote, “came quite high out of the water”, but were “not as pretty as they are depicted”. ©
  18. 18. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 18 of 19 Unfortunately, the “mermaids” turned out to be manatees (sea cows), which might explain Columbus’ disappointment of their looks. What do your kids know about Christopher Columbus? Here’s one nice place to start - short kids’ stories about Columbus. Crafts can always help to arouse kids’ interest in any subject. Here are some ideas: Preparing egg cup ships: Create a New World Map: ©
  19. 19. The Magic Key, January 2010  page 19 of 19 Or make an ocean in a bottle: What about the mermaids? Your kids can color them, craft them, or try and make their own mermaid costume (probably with your help!). And the manatees? Here is a lovely page dedicated to them by an absolute fan. National Geographic Kids has a beatiful resourceful page about them. And finally, here’s a great video featuring manatees. Bet you’ll learn something new about them! * note: some sources ascribe Columbus’ mermaids log record to other dates. Imported from: Kessem.com on Tumblr Keep in Tune with "The Magic Key": Follow Kessem's profiles for "This Week in History for Kids" each Monday, and more: The Magic Key RSS Subscribe Email Subscribe Tumblr Twitter Facebook ©

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