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Showing posts from September, 2012

Pom-Pom Catapult

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Yesterday I shared several pre-school / early elementary game ideas featuring the humble pom-pom.  One of them called for a homemade catapult.  I linked to plans for this engineering wonder at "Little Bit Funky."
Of course, I didn't follow her directions precisely - what kind of a DIY'er does that?! I thought I'd share today some of the modifications I made.
(Click to enlarge) Why I changed things up
Several of my substitutions were based purely on the materials availability. I have wipes containers in excess since I get one with every Costco-sized box of wipes, but no shoe boxes of the right dimensions. Making a virtue of necessity, though, I decided that the plastic box gave the toy a bit of permanence, not to mention a compact means of storage since the pencil "fulcrum" can be easily slid out of the holes and folded inside.
Others were based on the fact that I don't like glue.  I realized as I was thinking through past craft projects that this is…

How To Digi-Scrap for Free (or very nearly): Part 1

How to Digi-Scrap for Free (or nearly!)
Back in late 2009, I purchased a beautiful new laptop on a Black Friday sale. Since that time I have become immersed in the world of digital scrapbooking. My paper supplies have all but mouldered in the garage while I've digi-scrapped literally hundreds of pages of my babies, my niece, our courtship, and our family life. I've printed more than a hundred pages at 12x12 while keeping my monetary investment to about $1.25/page, including S&H and the plastic page protector. I've purchased no paper, no glue, and no shnazzy little metal brads that you just Know you're going to use but get lost in the bottom of the bag immediately. Perhaps more surprisingly I've also purchased no software, digital paper, elements, or fonts. All I've done is filled up my hard-drive!
This has become a multi-part series with a handful of Gimp tutorials on specific digital techniques. The first couple of posts, however, are an overvie…

Pom-Pom Party!

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I was in charge of our pre-school co-op's lesson today, and the week's theme was to be Manipulables."  As the school-year is new, I was the first to teach in this provocatively entitled yet mysterious category.  Thankfully.  After some head scratching, I decided that a "Manipulable" was any item or group of items that could be stacked, built, created, sorted, arranged, or - in our case - thrown, blown, or raced. Eventually, I settled upon my favorite cheap toy for the big event: the humble pom-pom.
I devised three games and a set of informal activities appropriate to the wide age range in our group.
Game One: Pom-Pom PuffMaterials

5 color-coded pom-poms per child1 large straw* per child Blue or standard masking tapeA square at least 8 ft per side of relatively obstruction-free floor space
* I purchased a bag of very small diameter straws from the Dollar Tree.  These proved impossible to use in Game 2, Pom-Pom Pick Up.  They also make this game harder.  Splurge on …