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The Magic Key, May 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 May 2010.

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The Magic Key, May 2010

  1. 1. The Magic Key, May 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 the last post, for the time being, of "This Week in History for Kids" - weekly posts presenting various events attractively for kids. These posts will be replaced with the "Profession of the Month" posts, presenting one profession or occupation each month. This new section will explain to kids, in simple words, what people are doing in their work, and arouse their imagination with questions and interesting information about the profession and the people who occupy it. The News page will update about the opening of this new section. You can subscribe to updates via email (note: after registering, you should receive a confirmation email; please click the link in this email). You are more than welcome to add your own comments, suggestions and ideas! ©
  2. 2. The Magic Key, May 2010  page 2 of 9 Balloon Pouf Take a large plastic bag, and about 20-30 balloons. Partially inflate the balloons, to about half their maximal size. Put the balloons in the bag and seal (with duct tape). You now have a real pouf, which you can sit on, lie on, roll on... a real treat! How come the balloons don't pop? You can conduct several experiments to understand how this happens: blow the balloons fully, so that they're very tense (it is well to prepare for the noise, and place the pouf on a soft surface); blow them just a little, and see what happens; blow different balloons to different degrees, and observe the consequences. Inflating the balloons to a medium size allows the balloon to be soft and cozy enough, and yet loose - thus strong - enough as not to pop. The child's weight is split between all the balloons, thus each one carries just a relatively small weight. Highly recommended! :-) ©
  3. 3. The Magic Key, May 2010  page 3 of 9 Birthday Cake: Foosball The original idea comes from the wonderful website Family Fun. The link contains a detailed explanation of the cake's decoration, but the idea is fairly simple: I covered the cake with whipped cream, and put gummy sour worms and Gummy Bears in their proper places as seen in the photos (of course, any other sweet or snack with a similar shape will do). I made the starting circle using two more Gummy Bears: I carefully cut their ears, legs and arms, which come rather close to a round shape. Cylindrical wafers, such as Pirouette cookies, form the rod handles. Each is secured to the cake with a toothpick (it is best to add these in the last minute; otherwise they lose their crispness). ©
  4. 4. The Magic Key, May 2010  page 4 of 9 My two additions to this cake are the chocolate goals (instead of using licorice) and the spectators' benches. Preparing the chocolate goals requires some dish with an appropriate shape, reminiscent of goals. This may require some imagination; here are the goals I made while still in the bowl, to illustrate a possible shape - a square with rounded corners: Melt some bittersweet chocolate (in a microwave or double boiler. When melting in a microwave, break the chocolate to small pieces and heat for no more than 10-20 seconds at a time, mixing well after each heating, to avoid burning). Cover the bowl with baking paper and tighten well (it's a good idea to use an adhesive tape). Use a spoon's or a teaspoon's handle, a brush or any other tool to "paint" with the melted chocolate on the paper. Use toothpicks to draw the fine lines. Freeze for about an hour and then repeat the process, drawing a second layer and making the chocolate twice as thick and strong. After the second freezing, gently remove the paper from the bowl, and then - very carefully - remove the paper from the chocolate. This is best done as soon as possible to serving the cake, but if done beforehand, it is advisable to fit the paper back in the bowl, and put the chocolate back on the paper (no need for precision), so that the chocolate remains chilled and protected until the cake is served - and only prior to that, put it on the cake. The spectators are some more Gummy Bears, leaning on some more cylindrical wafers. Spread a line of melted chocolate to "stick" the wafers, and another line in front of it, to help stick the Gummy Bears as shown in the photos. Finally, the soccer balls (or footballs) are, of-course, the birthday candles. Bon appetit! :-) ©
  5. 5. The Magic Key, May 2010  page 5 of 9 Home Science Experiment: Fire in Water Cut a candle short, so that when you attach it to the bottom of a bowl, it doesn't reach the bowl's rim. Fill the bowl with water almost up to the candlewick, and light the candle. Now all you need is some patience. The candle will burn, and you would expect the flame to finally touch the water and extinguish. Wouldn't you? ... Here's the trick: the water absorbs some of the candle's heat. Thus, the candle's outer layer does not get as hot as the inner part, and doesn't melt. This forms a protective "wall" surrounding a small pit, in which the candle continues to burn. Did you guess this beforehand?... :-) ©
  6. 6. The Magic Key, May 2010  page 6 of 9 This Week in History for Kids: Will the Sun Rise Tommorrow? (April 26- May 9) Happy birthday to David Hume, the philosopher who made us ask ourselves: Will the sun rise tommorrow? David Hume was born on May 7th, 1711, or in April 26th that year (according to another dating system). He was a skeptic philosopher, meaning - he questioned our ability to gain any certain knowledge; and an empiricist, i.e. - thought we gain our knowledge of the world through experience, rather than pure reason. Hume’s greatest contribution to philosophy is generally considered to be “the problem of induction”. We use induction constantly, from infancy: ©
  7. 7. The Magic Key, May 2010  page 7 of 9 We dropped a toy once, and it fell to the floor. The second time we dropped something, it did the same thing. After half a dozen more times, we are pretty sure that anything we drop would fall to the floor. It doesn’t take much longer for us to expect things to fall down when they are dropped. This is how induction works. Hume, of course, agrees that if things fall to the ground each time they are dropped, then it seems very plausible to assume that this is a rule, and anytime anything is being dropped, it would fall to the ground (unless otherwise stopped, of course). However, as reasonable as this sounds, it is apparently very difficult - if at all possible - to justify. Take ravens for example. Have you ever seen a raven that was anything but black? It is rather safe to assume you haven’t, since, as we know, all ravens are black. But how do we know that? Has anyone seen all ravens, those that exist at present, ever existed in the past and will exist anytime in the future? Of course not. So, we need to assume that ©
  8. 8. The Magic Key, May 2010  page 8 of 9 whenever we see a raven, anytime in the future, it is bound to be black - based on our past observations. In simpler words: sometimes we don’t know all the cases, and cannot possibly know them. The ravens are a good example: no one person can ever see all of the past, present and future ravens. In such cases, we induce from some cases to all of them: we assume that one and the same rule applies to them all. However, remember that all swans were once thought in Europe to be white; it was only in the 17th century that Europe discovered Australian black swans. This is but one demonstration of the problem of induction… Now you can also see why sometimes your parents don’t allow you to do things you consider perfectly safe. You may claim: “I (or my friends) have done this dozens of times before, and you see that nothing happened!” - to which your parents reply - “Yes, but something may happen”. A black swan, so to speak, might occur… How basic is induction to our life? Probably, as basic as it gets. Recall the babies and toddlers learning about gravity - Earth’s force drawing everything to the ground. Think about your behavior with your parents, your friends, your teachers - anyone around you: “usually, when I’m being rude, I don’t get what I asked for. I guess I’d better ask nicely”. ©
  9. 9. The Magic Key, May 2010  page 9 of 9 “All right”, you say, “so we haven’t, and cannot, see everything. But what about mathematics? Surely, 3+2=5 is always true?” Indeed, what do you think? What is the difference between claims like “all ravens are black” and claims like “three plus two always equal five”? Does the problem of induction apply to all claims? Keep in Tune with "The Magic Key": The Kessem Magic Key This Week in History Subscribe Facebook Twitter Homepage for Kids to news ©