The Magic Key, April 2010


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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.

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 April 2010.

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The Magic Key, April 2010

  1. 1. The Magic Key, April 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 document 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! ©
  2. 2. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 2 of 15 Some Very Creative Websites Here are some of the family/kids websites I like best, because of their creativity and quality content: - Family Fun - one of the largest family websites, contains craft ideas, ideas for other activities, cooking, parties... almost anything you can think of. Recommended. - DLTK - a great resource for various crafts. - Enchanted Learning - another great resource for crafts and other educational activities. - Simple Kids Crafts - a great website I just recently discovered, containing innumerous imaginative craft ideas by its super-talented author, Merve. Wonderful! - The Lazy Stay-at-Home Mommy is, as you might have guessed, not lazy at all, and full of resourceful ideas. - Almost Unschoolers shares the adventures of a home-schooler of four, who is highly imaginative and well worth learning from. - Finally, Coach's Corner is an excellent website intended actually for teachers, but it is so useful, there's no reason why it shouldn't serve parents who wish to help (or even homeschool) their kids. I have listed here several of my favorite websites for families, parents or kids, but obviously, there are many, many more valuable websites. You are very welcome to list your own favorites in the comments below! ©
  3. 3. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 3 of 15 A Super-Simple Dazzling Greeting Card It takes but a few minutes to create this dazzling greeting card: all you need is some paper or cardboard and glitter glue. Of course, you can add to this any other ornament, but the result is charming as it is. The credit for the technique goes to a creative 6.5 years old girl! :-) Fold the paper (or cardboard) in two, so that the two halves overlap; open it, and spread some glitter glue around one half. Creating round spots can create a "fireworks" effect. Now fold the card again, and press it with your hands. Open it again; isn't it lovely? ©
  4. 4. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 4 of 15 Home Science Experiment: Candles' See-Saw A very nice experiment, requiring parental assistance: Take a regular candle, and using a knife - expose the candle's other wick-end - at the candle's bottom. Try to make both candle sides as similar as possible. Take two sewing pins and help the kids stick them in the candle's center, perpendicularly, one in each side (you'll get a kind of "+" shape, where one line is the candle, and the other - both pins, one after the other). Now take two glasses of the same size. Place them, turned over, on a metal plate or tray (or one covered with aluminum foil), and carefully balance the candle on both of them, so that each pin lays on one glass, as seen in the photo. You may have to adjust the pins' location - make sure the candle is balanced and horizontal. All set! Now light up both candlewicks. What happens? ©
  5. 5. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 5 of 15 Did the children understand what is going on? Did you? :-) ©
  6. 6. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 6 of 15 "This Week in History for Kids", published Mondays: This Week in History for Kids: Computers, Brains and Thinking (April 5- 11) Do you know when the computer was invented? One answer is: the German Konrad Zuse filed for a patent for the automatic execution of calculations in April 11, 1936. Another answer is: that depends. How do you define “computer”? The Enotes website mentions English mathematician Charles Babbage who designed, in 1812, “a mechanical computing machine called the „analytical engine‟. It is considered the forerunner of the digital computer, a programmable electronic device that stores, retrieves, and processes data.” ©
  7. 7. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 7 of 15 A somewhat newer model of the ancient abacus WikiAnswers states that “the earliest “computers” were mechanical devices used to help people count. The first known counting devices or tools were Tally Sticks from about 35,000 BCE.” This article also mentions the abacus, which “was invented, possibly by the Babylonians or the Chinese, in about 2400 BCE.” These ancient “computers” were actually mere calculating aids. The future of computers, however, seems much more ambitious than that: neural computers try to imitate the brain’s activity. How does the brain work? is it a super-complex computer? Will we ever be ©
  8. 8. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 8 of 15 able to fully understand how it functions, and maybe artificially imitate it? If so, will it be a good thing, a bad thing, or perhaps, as is so often the case, simply a different thing, with both good and bad implications? Before you pose these questions to your kids - which I deeply hope you will, and remember to share the great insights you are sure to hear from them in return - it is best to explain to them (and to ourselves) a little bit about how both computers and the human brain work. Dr. Eric H. Chudler’s website, “Neuroscience For Kids”, offers a great variety of online games, offline (with actual moving!!) games, experiments and crafts which will teach any curious child (and adult) about the structure of the brain. There is also a nice coloring book and many other resources; don’t miss the “brain alphabet”! Chudler also helps us compare the brain to the computer, and easily understand some of the differences and similarities between the ways in which they work. Try also four games offered in a BBC website, which will teach you fascinating stuff about the brain, the nervous system and the senses. ©
  9. 9. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 9 of 15 As for the computer, surprisingly and dissapointingly, I searched in vain for a clear and appealing explanation, suitable for kids, on how computers work. Any suggestions or references are most welcome! However, the basic binary principle carries a potential for loads of fun: You can start with a very simple and clear explanation of this principle, and while you’re at it, type in any text to get a binary version of it. Here’s the binary version of “This Week in History for Kids”: 01010100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01010111 01100101 01100101 01101011 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01001000 01101001 01110011 01110100 01101111 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 00100000 01001011 01101001 01100100 01110011 Also try this binary card game and see if you can figure out how it works, or this Cisco binary game, and see how well you understand the binary conversion… Have a 01100111 01110010 01100101 01100001 01110100 week! ©
  10. 10. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 10 of 15 This Week in History for Kids: Kings, Princes and Grace Kelly (April 12- 18) Happy anniversary! The majestic wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco took place 54 years ago, in April 18 (the civil ceremony) and April 19 (the religious ceremony at the St. Nicholas Cathedral). The six-tier wedding cake was sliced using the Prince’s sword. But this is not the weirdest detail of the fairy-tales of both monarchy and weddings. “In the Scottish pre-wedding tradition of „Blackening the Bride‟,” recounts the Eventecive blog, “The bride is taken by surprise and covered with foul substances, such as eggs, various sauces, feathers, and well you name it…” In Germany, goes on Eventective, the bride may be even less fortunate, and be kidnapped by friends, in order for the groom to find her. More common is the habit of breaking a good amount of dishes and having the bride and groom clean up the mess. ©
  11. 11. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 11 of 15 This video (which I found through Eventective) shows the Indian ceremony of Mehndi or Henna - super-delicate ornaments drawn on the bride’s hands, arms and feet, which take hours to complete. Henna is also accustomed in Morocco, where, according to WiseGeek, “wedding traditions include parties that can last up to seven days, [and] “furnishing parties” to prepare the couple‟s future home”. Seems like weddings have much more variations than we usually are aware of. It also arouses questions about the place of tradition in our lives: in case of conflict, do we choose to preserve tradition, or be true to what we believe is right? ©
  12. 12. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 12 of 15 This same question arises in the past decades also in relation to monarchy itself. Is this costly tradition still justified in today’s world? In some places of the world monarchy is still about actual ruling, rather than simply tradition. You may be surprised to know that children are sometimes crowned to monarchy. Richard II became king of England in 1377, at the age of ten. Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned in 1543, when she was still a baby of six months! But then, Alfonso XIII of Spain was declared king at his birth - and that was in much more modern times, in 1886. But the youngest living king was actually crowned this very week, in April 18th! View video ©
  13. 13. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 13 of 15 King Oyo of Uganda’s Toro kingdom has been a king since he was three years old, but - like other child monarchs - he received his reigning power only now, upon turning 18 (in ancient times, the age of eligibility was lower). The new king declared his plans for the coming years: he wishes to make sure everyone has enough food to eat, store, and sell for income. He also stressed his wish to improve health and education. A question for the kids: what would you like to achieve were you in command? Assuming you can’t have everything, what are your priorities? ©
  14. 14. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 14 of 15 This Week in History for Kids: Earth Day (April 19-25) Happy Day, Earth! April 22nd is “Earth Day” - an American initiative which started in 1970. The idea is to arouse awareness to environmental issues, and hopefully become more friendly towards our lovely planet. The internet is filled with wonderful ideas for engaging our kids with Earth Day. Here are some of my favourite links; feel free to add yours in the comments! DLTK’s Earth Day Activities for Kids - DLTK is always recommended. It is a thoughtful website with high-quality ideas. It is very recommded to bookmark it! is another highly recommended webpage. This link is to their Earth Day page, including games, crafts, quizzes, lessons and more. Meet Me at the Corner is a great initiative, inviting kids to shoot, narrate and send their own video presenting their corner of the world. There are also learning activities. Lovely! Apples4theTeacher offers some really nice coloring pages for Earth Day. Other coloring pages, along with various other activities, are to be found in the EcoKids website. ©
  15. 15. The Magic Key, April 2010  page 15 of 15 TIME for Kids, as usual, come up with interesting new angles on the subject, including a child-reporter’s account of a “smart home”. Finally, PlanetPals offers a very wide and varied choice of related links: a recycle lesson; interactive games; Earth Day flag; “Happy Earth Day” greetings in dozens of languages, and many others. That said (and linked to), I think there is a far more important lesson to be emphasized on Earth Day, or any other day. “Old Pops”, as he was sometimes called, very poignantly stated it. Enjoy this wonderful song, and be sure to listen carefully to the spoken introduction: View song video Keep in Tune with "The Magic Key": The Kessem Magic Key This Week in History Subscribe Facebook Twitter Homepage for Kids to news ©