Funschooling News #12

Hi! Welcome to Funschooling News!


I’m offering more great family-friendly activities that will help make your week a little more fun. This week’s activities include baking soda related resources. This inexpensive item can be turned into an awesome learning tool!

 Be sure to scroll all the way down to the Special Days section where you’ll find a fun activity to do or an interesting topic to learn about each day of the week. 


Baking Soda


Baking soda is another convenient and inexpensive item you may have in your home for science projects. If you click on the link below, you will find 13 great science experiments that are fun for all ages. 

Some experiments may require supervision.

Baking Soda Science Projects

I hope something in this post makes you smile!

Still Learning Something New: Homeschool Humor
Here’s a peek at what you’ll find…

Funschooling Press: On Sale Until Sept 22

25% off Johnny Appleseed 4 in 1 Puzzle Page 



Johnny Appleseed Day is celebrated on September 26th!
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Funschooling Videos

Baking Soda


Baking soda can cause some very cool chemical reactions and produce fun or useful results. The videos below offer both fun and practical things that can be done with baking soda. For the video with ’10 baking soda hacks’, test some of the uses out to see how well they work. Some of the videos may require supervision because of the materials used in the experiments or the results. 
The last video features a math art project to do.

Baking Soda Slime 



Black Fire Snake – Amazing Science Experiment
Supervision Suggested

10 Awesome Baking Soda Life Hacks

Math Game Idea: Infinity Tiles


Printable template available on this site.

Special Days & Holidays Sept 16-22


Betty Jo, of Still Learning Something New, has posted the newest version of her September 2018 Special Days Calendar. It has a long list of famous birthdays, historical events, interesting days, monthly event and food themes, and more. 
Betty Jo and I have created a Special Days Companion filled with 120+ activities you can do as a family during the month of September. To find out more about this wonderful product, click here.

Here are a few of the things on her list and some helpful activities and links:

One of September’s themes is Preparedness. This link will take you to a resource page that will give you information about getting prepared for a storm or bad weather.

🎩September 16Illusionist David Copperfield born 1956 – This link offers a Magic Tricks Resource Page that features Copperfield and many other great magicians plus some magic tricks to learn how to do.
Watch the YouTube video that features The Magic of David Copperfield – FULL MOVIE

September 17Constitution Day – Read the constitution with the resources provided. There are videos available in this post as well.
Constitution Week Begins on the 17th as well and Still Learning Something New has some great resources such as quizzes, School House Rock videos, and more.

September 18: Cheeseburger Day –  Find out how this fun food day got its start and make some with your favorite toppings.

September 19Talk Like A Pirate Day Celebrate this fun day with the resources on this pages such as: The history of pirates, pirate crafts, and information that crosses the curriculum.
Learn how to tie knots too!
Still Learning Something New’s Pirate resources include: Biographical info, YouTube videos, night sky resources, a compass activity, and more.


September 20Artist Dale Chihuly born 1941 – Learn about this interesting artist, make a virtual macchia, watch some videos, and more.

🍌September 21Banana Festival – Read an article about the benefits of bananas and make something delicious with bananas like banana bread.

🎈September 22Scientist Michael Faraday born 1791 – Learn about this fascinating man and his important accomplishments. One of the things Faraday invented was the balloon, you’ll find info about them in the post too. 

🍁September 221st Day of Autumn/Autumnal Equinox – What is the fall equinox? Find out with the resources in this post. Check out some of the other Autumn Resources too.

Thank you for stopping by, please feel free to share this post with others!
Have a wonderful week!

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Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!

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Fun Ways To Use Toothpicks As A Learning Tool


  • Use toothpicks to form the letters of the alphabet and words.
  • Dip a toothpick in ink or paint and draw or write with it.
  • Make toothpick pictures. Glue colored or plain toothpicks to a piece of paper.
  • Glue toothpicks together to form a solid structure such as a toothpick bridge, house, tower, etc..

  • Make 3-D toothpick structures with clay or marshmallows. Try making polyhedrons such as pyramids, chemical models, animals, and other 3-D shapes.
  • Make simple shapes with them. Simply play around with the toothpicks and see what shapes you come up with.
  • Learn some toothpick tricksThere are some fun tricks you can do with a simple toothpick.
  • Make a spinning color wheelThese are simple to make and fun to play with. You will need a light cardboard box, toothpicks, and paint or markers for this activity. Alternate the colors, draw some shapes, make crazy patterns and see what happens when you spin your wheel.
  • Play a Guesstimate game. Take few toothpicks out of their package and toss them lightly on a table, without counting them, guess how many there are and write that number down. Count how many there are and figure out the difference between what you guessed and the actual number. How close was your guess? Play a few more times and see if your guesstimating gets better the more you play.
  • Toothpick and shaker challenge. This is a great way to build fine motor skills at any age! You will need toothpicks, a cheese shaker or a container with holes on top that will allow a toothpick through it easily, a timer, and paper and pencil for this activity. To play, set a timer for 30 seconds and see how many toothpicks you can get into the container via the small holes on top within that time period. When the time is up, count the toothpicks in the container. Write down the time and the number of toothpicks. Play a few times and see how much you improve from the first try. Reduce the time allotted and challenge yourself to get as many toothpicks into the container in the fewest seconds possible. For an extra challenge, use a container with smaller holes. Snip the tips off the toothpicks if they are too sharp.
If you would like to access all the videos at once, please visit my Toothpick Playlist on YouTube. Here’s one of the videos in the list…

What are some of the fun and interesting things you like to do with toothpicks? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!


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Thank you!

The Benefits of Using Recreational Mathematics


NY Times: The Importance of Recreational Math – This is an opinion piece about the benefits of using Recreational Math in the classroom.


Journal of Humanistic Mathematics: Recreational Mathematics – Only For Fun? –  A paper written about the benefits of Recreational Math in the classroom. It talks about how other countries approach math as well. This is a 20 page PDF.


Benefits of Games

Teach Thought: 6 Basic Benefits Of Game-Based Learning – This article offers positive reasons for online gaming.
eLearning Industry: 5 Advantages Of Using Games For Learning – Article includes reasons why games help people learn better.

OpenEducationEuropa: The Benefits of Game-Gased Learning – Offers information about the potential of games for learning.

Classroom: What Are the Benefits of Games in Education & Learning Activities? – Talks about how games engage students, promotes teamwork, and build good sportmanship skills.

Logic Roots: 8 Surprising Health Benefits Of Board Games – This article addresses some of  the serious health benefits of playing board games such as lowering stress, building cognitive skills and mental functions, and lowering blood pressure.

NCTM: Why Play Math Games? – Talks about the benefits of playing math games. 

Stem Learning: Using Games To Teach Mathematics –  A short article that talks about the benefits of using games to teach math.

Scholastic: The Benefits of Board Games – Benefits of parents playing games with kids.

Benefits of Puzzles

USA Today: The Surprising Benefits of Puzzle Solving for Adults – Article about the benefits for adults.

Dumb Little Man – The 5 Benefits of Puzzles Solving for Adult – Article talks a little about the history of puzzles and the benefits of using them as adults.

Exodus: The Benefits of Puzzles in Early Childhood Development – Article talks about the skills that are build via puzzle during early childhood.

Memory Jogging Puzzles: Why Jigsaw Puzzles are Good for Your Brain – Social psychiatry article.

Learning4Kids: Why Puzzles are so Important for Kids Learning? –  Benefits of using puzzles.

Clue Detective Puzzle Agency: Discover the Benefits of Solving Puzzles – 10 Ways puzzles help to improve our lives.

Think Fun!: Get Jiggy with Jigsaw Puzzles: The Benefits of Being a Puzzler – This brief article talks about the history of Jigsaw puzzles and their benefits.

Benefits of Riddles

The Organic Mind: Brain Teasers & RiddlesTalks a little about the brain science behind using riddles and brain teasers and the benefits.
ESD: Why Riddles Are Important for All Ages – Explains what a riddle is and the types, cultural riddles, and their benefits for all ages.
Grin: Six Benefits of Riddles for Children – How riddles benefit and word the brain. 

Thoughts From The Boys: The Benefits of Riddles: Benefits of riddles and offers a few difficult one to solve.

YouTube: Recreational Mathematics Playlist – A collection of videos about recreational mathematics: Documentaries and benefits.
Here’s one of the videos from the list:

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Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!


Recreational Math Activities

Math World: Recreational Mathematics – Offers a list of activities available on the site. Some of the selections include: Cryptograms, dissection, folding, games, illusions and there’s MUCH more!

Math.com: Recreational – Puzzles, fractals, Spirograph, Roman Numeral calculator, and other topics.


The Math Factor: A Quick Puzzle From OSCON – Check out the archives of this site located on the right side panel for great information.


Yummy Math.com – Site provides students and teachers with engaging real-world math activities. 
Example page: Big Air Snowboarding

KhanAcademy: Math for fun and glory  – Offers users the opportunity to explore doodling in math and puzzles.


Math Lair Recreational Mathematics – Offers a selection of activities related to recreational mathematics.

Math Overflow: Recreational Mathematics Where To Search Where to find recreational math activities.


Age of Puzzles: According to the site, it offers ‘a colorful journey through endless patterns of quick wits’.

Math Pickle.com: Site is Organized By Grade and offers lots of games and puzzles.

Scientific American: Blog: A Month of Magic & Mystery – Article offers some fun ways to get into a math mood.

Briddles: Maths Riddles – A daily treat for your mind.

David Eppstein’s Recreational Mathematics Page – Math Fun offer links to other great math activities.

Earth Measures.com: Native American Geometry DESIGNS – From the site: ‘The Design Section is a playground that exercises visual/mental creativity and behavioral precision.’

The Art of Mathematics – Offers a collection of downloadable books for educators to use.

Funschooling & Recreational Learning: Informal Math Activities  – I offer a variety of fun and informal math activities such as: Roman Numerals, geometric art, spirals, strategy games, challenges, and quite a few other things to enjoy.

Wikipedia offers the following topics: 

List of Recreational Number Theory Topics

Journal of Recreational Mathematics


Verbal Arithmetic


Book: Recreational Mathematics

For the rest of this series please visit my Recreational Mathematics post.

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Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!

Recreational Mathematicians

Martin Gardner.org – Martin Gardener is no longer with us, but his incredible work lives on with this site. You can get to know him via the information on this site.

NPR: Martian Gardener A Genius Of Recreational Mathematics – Read or listen to the interview about Martian Gardener. You can listen to the short interview if you click on the arrow in the upper left hand corner of the page.

Age of Puzzles: Boris Kordemsky – Read the biography of a master puzzle maker who specialized in creating nonword puzzle books.

University of Calgary: Charles Trigg – A bit of information about a man who is considered one of the foremost recreational mathematicians of the twentieth century. 

Puzzles.com: Charles Trigg – Hexagon-Circle-Hexagon – Solve one of the  puzzles he created.

Scott Kim.com –  Modern day puzzle creator, computer game designer, and author. Read or follow the blog of Scott Kim.

Peter Winkler: Games People Don’t Play – Article PDF Offers a compilation of thinking games.


Wikipedia: Recreational mathematicians and puzzle creators:

Paul Erdős         Ian Stewart           Scott Kim               Ernö Rubik

Sam Loyd          Henry Dudeney      Will Shortz            Lloyd King
    

For the rest of this series please visit my Recreational Mathematics post.

Video: Puzzlemaster Spotlight: Scott Kim


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What is Recreational Mathematics?


The really short answer? Its about learning and exploring mathematics via math related games, riddles, and puzzles….but the activities could have you going for hours, days, weeks, or longer!

Wikipedia: Recreational Mathematics – Explains what recreational mathematics is.

Scientific American: A Quarter-Century of Recreational Mathematics – PDF Article written by Martin Gardener about 25 years of amusing puzzles and serious discoveries.

Article by Charles W. Trigg: What is Recreational Mathematics? This a PDF file. This article was written in Mathematics Magazine Vol. 51, No. 1 (Jan., 1978), pp. 18 -21

MathOverflow: Recreational mathematics: where to search? – MathOverflow is a Q & A site for professional mathematicians. This question came up and offers a few responses. 

Periodicals You Can Subscribe To

Access back issues for FREE by putting the date and issue you want to look at into the panel on the right that says, ‘Magazines Available’. You’ll get a version you can view online and print.
Read book reviews of published books on recreational mathematics.

Subscription needed to access information.

Check your local book store and online book stores for books that contain math related games, riddles, and puzzles.


For the rest of this series please visit my Recreational Mathematics post.

Here’s a video about recreational mathematics…


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Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!

Recreational Mathematics

April is Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month and I’d like to focus on a fun version of math called, Recreational Mathematics. It’s the type of math that not only makes you think creativity and critically, it really gets your brain going in ways that make time fly by, because you’re truly engaged in what you’re doing, and having a great time.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to introduce you to Recreational Math in the following ways…

An Introduction to Recreational Mathematics – What is Recreational Mathematics?

Recreational Mathematicians –  This is about people who are a wiz at making up and explaining recreational mathematics and games.

Recreational Math Activities – Games, puzzles, and other fun ways to do math.

The Benefits of Using Recreational Mathematics – There are a lot of benefits to using recreational mathematics and this post will tell you what they are.

If this sounds interesting to you, then please connect with me so you don’t miss any of the posts in this series!

Here are all the videos connected with the posts above…



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Shamrocks

Cultural & Botanical Information

Irish Culture and Customs: Emblems of Ireland: The Shamrock Learn how the shamrock became an emblem of Ireland. 

Fine Gardening: The History of the ShamrockFull of symbolism, this plant has mystical roots – Article

SFGate: Botany Difference Between Clover and Shamrock Plants – Read about the difference between the two.

Wikipedia: Shamrocks – Offers information about different aspects of the shamrock: As a cultural icon and plant species. 

Videos

Craft Projects
DLTK: Shamrock Crafts – Get instructions to make: A 3D Shamrock paper craft, a lacing craft, a cross stitch pattern, and more.
Artists Helping Children: Shamrock Crafts For Kids: Saint Patrick’s Irish Shamrock Day Crafts and Activities for Children & Preschoolers – This site offers a variety of crafts that include shamrocks.

About Framily Crafts: 21 DIY Shamrock Crafts – This site offers links to a variety of shamrock related crafts.

Kids Activity Blog: 17 Shamrock Crafts for Kids – Links to shamrock crafts.

Hands On As We Grow – 20 Lucky Shamrock Crafts for Kids to Make this St. Patrick’s DayMore interesting ways to make shamrocks. 


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Funschooling With Hearts!



When my kids were little I would offer them quick and easy craft projects to do and we’d do them as a family. Over the years, we expanded this tradition by challenging ourselves to be more creative with the activities we did. The more we challenged ourselves, the more we learned. Turning simple items into something more became an amazing learning experience. I thought of it as recreational learning, my kids called it Funschooling.

With all the benefits we have gained from our experiences, there is no doubt that these activities allowed us to be more creative, forward thinking, better problem solvers, open to exploring new ideas, and make lots of lemonade when things went sour.

Since we thought the activities were so much fun, I used them to develop very successful craft programs for my local library, 4-H groups/programs, and homeschooling programs. 

Now, I’d like to share them with other families so they can enjoy open-ended creative learning activities too.

IntroducingFunschooling With Hearts

You can find it in my Etsy Store: Funschooling Press

There are two parts to this publication:

Part 1 is a printable PDF booklet that offers

  • A brief word about Funschooling with Hearts.
  • Tips for making great patterns.
  • 40 craft/project ideas that promote creative learning fun for all ages.
  • General information about where to fit the activities into a curriculum.
Once you print out the booklet, it can be folded in half.


Part 2 has 7 pages of printable templates that can easily be made into patterns that will be good for many uses. Instructions are included in the booklet section. 

Templates include:

 – X Lg. heart (1 per page) 
 – Lg Hearts (2 per page) 
 – Medium Hearts (3 per page)
 – Small Hearts (6 per page)
 – X-Small Hearts (12 per page)
 – Mixed Sizes ranging from large to x-small (9 per page)

 – Crazy Hearts Page with 6 interesting shaped hearts

These ideas are great for families, homeschoolers, classrooms, groups, camps, libraries, crafters, babysitters, grandparents, and anyone who runs craft-related or learning programs for children, families, or adults.

This digital download is sold as a PDF on Etsy.

I hope you’ll take the time to check out the first publication in my math series and be on the look out for more!

The regular price for this publication is $9.00.

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Drinking Straws


Bon Appétit: A Brief History of the Straw – This article talks about:

  • How the first drinking straw was made.
  • How the bendable straw came to be.
  •  How they went from paper to plastic.
  • Krazy Straws.
  • Modern straw designs and uses. 
  • How we’ve gone back to paper straws and why.


The Atlantic: The Amazing History and the Strange Invention of the Bendy Straw – The story of the how the bendable straw was invented.

Smithsonian: Inventions – The Straight Truth About the Flexible Drinking Straw – How the first flexible drinking straw was invented.

Wikipedia: Drinking Straw – History of drinking straws and their modern uses. Also types of straws.


Howstuffworks: How are Bendy Straws Made? – The first page talks about what straws have been made up of, click on the word “NEXT” under the video and the second page will tell you what straws are made of now and how they are made. The third section is an author’s note.

The Inventors.org: Drinking Straws – This short article starts with the history of the drinking straw and ends with other things spiral wound tubing lead to.


Days of the Year: Drinking Straw Day – January 3rd of each year is drinking straw day. Learn about the history of drinking straw day and how to celebrate the day. Try a recipe for Mint Julep – an adult drink. A kid-friendly mint julep recipe can be found on Twice As Good Show.com

NASA: Rockets – Rocket Pinwheel – This cool experiment requires a straw, balloon, pencil, a sewing pin, and tape to make it. Go to the site for full instructions.


Manufacturing.net: Va Plant Produces 4B Drinking Straws Annually – Information about a plant that makes more then 4 billion straws a year.

Going Plastic Straw Free


Seattle Time: The last straw? Seattle will say goodbye to plastic straws, utensils with upcoming ban – News article about a new ban.

Washington Post: A campaign to eliminate plastic straws is sucking in thousands of converts – News article about a young man on a campaign to eliminate plastic drinking straws.

Straw-Free.org – Find out what you can do to help the campaign and go straw-free.


Strawless Ocean.org – Find out who’s going straw free and what you can do to help.

Engineering.com: Engineers Develop Edible Straws to Combat Plastic Pollution – New developments in drinking straws that are plastic free.

One of the ways to help the straw-free movement is to reuse the plastic straws that you do have in positive ways such as in art projects, science experiments and math activities. Below, you will find videos that show you fun ways to reuse plastic straws. Once you are done with them, clean them out well, and get creative!
Straws can be cut down and melted, and used in some cool ways, as you’ll see in the selected videos.
If you like to use straws, purchase reusable straws in stores and online.
Once your plastic straws are gone, make straws from other materials, as show in the videos below.


Videos

HowStuffWorks: Stuff of Genius: Joseph Friedman: The Flexible StrawThis 1:27 minute video tells you about the inventor of the bendy straw.

YouTube: Drinking Straw PlaylistThis playlist includes information about the history of drinking straws, and fun activities you can do with them such as science experiments, art projects, and math activities.
Some videos will require adult supervision to use a lighter, hot glue gun, or cutting tool.
Here’s one of the video from the list…


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Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!