One of the Hottest Outdoor Games Gets Raves Review – Spikeball Combo Set

If you’ve been to a park, beach, backyard party, family gathering or campground lately, you may have seen a group of people spiking a small ball across a net that looks like a mini trampoline.  If you have, you’ve seen the nation’s hottest new outdoor game in action.  It’s called Spikeball.  What is it exactly?  Well, if volleyball and foursquare had a baby it would be called Spikeball.  We like to call it the perfect family game that you can play outside ALL YEAR LONG!

The hottest outdoor game for families is here!
Spikeball is perfect for families and can be played anywhere.

Who can play it?  Almost anyone. That’s what makes it such a popular game, and in our eyes, the perfect family game.  Spikeball appeals to a wide range of ages and abilities.  As long as you can move around and toss a ball – you can play spike ball.

How do you play it?  A standard game calls for two teams of two players each.  Opposing teams line up across from each other with the net in the center.  The ball is served by bouncing it onto the net to the other teammate.  A bounce on the spikeball net equates to clearing the net to the other side in volleyball.  However, that’s where the similarities end.  In spike ball, once the ball is in motion, the players can move anywhere they want in a 360 degree radius around the net. There are no sides and no boundaries!

The object of the game is to hit the ball onto the net so that the opposing team cannot return it.  Each team is allowed up to three touches to return the ball.  Possession changes from one team to another when the ball bounces off the net.  When the ball is NOT successfully returned by the other team – score!

How popular is this game?  Spikeball is played around the world by families, friends, groups and schools.  Currently there are over 1,000,000 players and 1,500 ranked teams worldwide.  We’d say that’s pretty a popular game.

We love spikeball because it is easy to learn, portable, and can be played by the whole family.  Plus there are many variations on the game that ensure that play never gets dull.  As far as a family game goes, we give this one 5 stars!

The game that's taking the world by storm!
The game that’s taking the world by storm!
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At Home Science Experiment for Kids – How to Make a Cloud in Bottle!

Who needs to look up in the sky to gaze at the cloud formations when you can make your own cloud that you can hold in your hand.  All you need is a plastic soda or water bottle and a few common household items. Try this easy at-home science experiment and create your own cloud in a bottle.  It’s easy, fun, and educational.

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1. Assemble your supplies. Have your supplies on hand before you start on this experiment. You will need:

  • Plastic bottle with a cap: A 2-liter soda bottle is ideal for this experiment. Make sure to remove the label from the plastic bottle. Then you will be able to see the clouds when they form inside the bottle. It is also best to choose a clear bottle.
  • Matches
  • Water

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2. Pour hot water into the bottle. Use hot water from the tap. Pour in enough water to cover the bottom of the bottle (about 2 centimeters).

  • Don’t use boiling water in a plastic bottle. The plastic might warp and the experiment won’t work. The water should be hot, though. Try for about 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Swirl around the water a bit to warm up the sides of the bottle.

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3.  Strike a match. Blow it out after a few full seconds. Make sure an adult is assisting you with this step.

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4.  Toss the burned match into the bottle. Tilt the bottle with one hand and insert head of the match into the top of the bottle. Let the smoke from the match fill the bottle. , where it will seem to disappear. Discard the match.

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5. Screw the cap onto the bottle. Grip the neck of the bottle so that you do not squeeze the sides before the cap is screwed in completely. This prevents any smoke or air from escaping.

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6.  Squeeze the sides of the bottle hard. Do this three or four times. Wait a few seconds then squeeze the bottle again, this time holding the squeeze longer before releasing.

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7. Look at the formation of fog in the bottle. You should see your very own cloud there! Putting pressure on the bottle’s sides forces the water particles to compress. When you let go of the sides of the bottle, the air expands, decreasing the temperature. When the air cools, the particles can stick together a little more easily, which causes them to clump into little tiny droplets around the smoke molecules.

This mimics the process of clouds forming in the sky. Clouds in the sky are made up of water droplets that have clung to tiny particles of dust, smoke, ash, or salt.

Science Experiment Tips

  • Experiment with how many times and how hard you squeeze the bottle.
  • If you do not have matches, you can use a lighter and a piece of paper or an incense stick to make the smoke that you need.
  • Experiment with adding a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the water (distilled liquor also works) to make a more visible cloud.
  • Use adult supervision when lighting and handling the match if you’re a child.

For more fun experiments, visit jmcremps.com science department where you’ll find all kinds of science experiments, science kits, and science books.

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikiHow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make a Cloud in a Bottle.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

The Ultimate Hot Cocoa Bar for Kids

The next time your kids have friends over to play outside this winter treat them (and yourself) to the Ultimate Hot Cocoa Bar.  It’s the ideal way to warm them up when they come in with frosty noses and cold toeses.  Plus you can use the lure of hot cocoa as incentive to make sure all of the hockey sticks, sleds and shovels are put away where they belong. Trust us, you’ll win Mom-of-the-Year honors for this one!

What you need for the hot cocoa:
1 c. cocoa powder
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
pinch salt
6 c. milk
2 c. milk chocolate chips (about 12 ounces)

What you need for the toppings:
Here is where you can be creative. Use whatever you have on hand or think would be a great addition to hot cocoa. Some things to try are: Whip cream, cinnamon sticks, candied orange zest, caramel, whipped cream, marshmallows, mint chocolate bars, shaved chocolate, Nutella, peppermints, chocolate candies, candy canes, sprinkles and (if you’re brave) cayenne pepper powder.

What you do:
Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan (one with a spout if you have one). Make sure to mix it really well. Whisk the milk in slowly, you don’t want any lumps. Add the vanilla seeds and pod. Place over medium heat and bring to a slight simmer. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean and stir in the milk chocolate morsels until melted. Keep warm until serving.

Cocoa Bar Setup: Arrange or display all the various flavorings your hot cocoa lovers will enjoy. If you know they will want to try multiple combinations, have espresso cups available, so the hot cocoa will last longer and they won’t get too full too fast.

You can watch the video of how easy and fun it is here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/kid-friendly-hot-cocoa-bar-0174965.embed.html

Recipe courtesy of: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-thornton/hot-cocoa-bar-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Winter Break Reading List for Boys

After all the presents are opened and the toys are played with, it’s time to take a break, sit back, and relax a bit.  There’s nothing better for winding down than a good read.  This is true for us as adults, and it is very true for growing boys as well.  The benefits are reading include a greater vocabulary, a boost in self-esteem, and enhanced communication skills.  Besides the long-term benefits, in the short term, when your child grabs book and begins reading he begins to relax, calm-down and focus on the present.  So after a busy holiday season, an afternoon spent curled up with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate may be just what your family needs to get back on track.

Here are a few of our favorite reads:

The Kingdom Series:  The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black takes place in the Kingdom of Arrethtrae where the King and His Son implement a bold plan to save their kingdom; where courage, faith and loyalty stand tall in the face of opposition; where good will not bow to evil.  There are six books in the complete series and starts with Kingdom’s Dawn.  This series will inspire, engage and fascinate your children from one book to the next.  They won’t be able to put them down!

My Side of the Mountain is an inspiring and fascinating best seller that generations of boys have come to love.
My Side of the Mountain is an inspiring and fascinating best seller that generations of boys have come to love.

My Side of the Mountain Series:  Jean Craighead George is the revered author of this classic, best-selling series that has been a favorite of boys for decades.  Sam Gribley, our boy hero, is terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment.  He runs away to the solitude and danger of the mountains where he finds a side of himself that he never knew.

This set includes the three books in the My Side of the Mountain series, along with the corresponding outdoor guide.  Books included are:  My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, Frightful’s Mountain, and every boy’s favorite – the Pocket Guide to the Outdoors.

Robot Wars Complete Series:  Set in an experimental community on Mars in the year 2039, The Robot Wars series features 14-year-old virtual reality specialist Tyce Sanders. Life on the red planet is not always easy, but it is definitely exciting. Tyce finds that the mysteries of the planet point to his greatest discovery-a new relationship with God. He talks about his growing faith and curiosity in a manner that kids can relate to as they are probably wondering some of the same things. Each book contains two exciting adventures. These books are recommended for ages 10-14 years and are perfect for the sci-fi lover in your house!

 

Fall Into Adventure Word Search

Are you looking for a fun rainy-day activity?  Or how about a quick way to supplement your homeschool curriculum?  Here’s a fall-themed JM Cremp’s word search that will keep your adventurers busy for quite a while!

Print your fall-themed Adventure Word Search here: JMC Fall Into Adventure Word Search

Print the solution to the Word Search here: JMC Fall Into Adventure Word Search Solution Visit http://www.jmcremps.com for more fun adventure puzzles, games, and books.

Science Experiment for Kids – How to Make Water Rise

This simple at home science experiment for kids will fascinate and intrigue your children as they watch water seemingly defy gravity.  The question you’ll have for them will be, “How is the water rising?”

What you’ll need:

  • A pie plate
  • A match
  • A candle
  • A lump of clay or chewing gum to hold the candle in place
  • Water
  • A glass (don’t use plastic)

Let’s get started!

Step 1.  Add about one inch of water to your pie plate.

670px-Make-Water-Rise-Step-3-Version-2Step 2.  Place a short candle in the middle of the tray.  If it doesn’t stand up by itself, use the clay or chewing gum to secure it to the bottom.

670px-Make-Water-Rise-Step-4-Version-2Step 3.  Light the candle.

670px-Make-Water-Rise-Step-5-Version-2Step 4.  Carefully place the inverted glass over the candle, setting the rim into the water.

670px-Make-Water-Rise-Step-6-Version-2Step 5.  Watch as the water rises and the candle goes out.  How did this happen?  Ask your children to give you their ideas and theories.   Reveal the real reason below and repeat the experiment a second time so that they can follow along.

What happened?

Notice carefully as the water rises in the glass.  While the candle goes out because it consumes oxygen, that’s not why the water rises. The water rises after the candle goes out.

  • As you lower the glass over the candle, the flame heats the air inside the glass.
  • The glass contacts the surface of the water, trapping a volume of warm air.
  • The candle goes out and this warm air cools rapidly.
  • Air that cools rapidly under a constant pressure does so according to Charles’s law, a specific version of the ideal gas law that holds the quantity of gas and the pressure constant. Charles’s law holds that the ratio of Volume to Temperature is constant.
  • Since the temperature decreases, the volume must also decrease.
  • Additionally, some water vapor may condense on the sides of the glass and back into the liquid water. This also reduces the total volume of gas inside the glass.

The simple answer is that fire heats the air in the glass, so the air volume increases causing positive pressure inside. As fire goes out, and the air cools inside the glass, the volume decreases lowering the pressure (forming a vacuum). Then the outside air pressure the with pushes the water into the glass until the pressure inside and outside the glass are equal.

Did you enjoy this fun science experiment for kids?  If so, check out some of the great science kits and other at home science experiments at jmcremps.com.

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikiHow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Water Rise. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Why a Boys Store? The Answer is Simple

We often get asked, “Why a Boys Store?”  It’s a good question, and we appreciate the opportunity to answer.  Let’s see what JM Cremp’s founder, Jay Asplin, has to say.

“My wife and I have five sons of our own. As we were raising these guys we began to realize that not many people wanted to encourage boys to be boys…to understand what makes boys unique…to celebrate that uniqueness.  That is why we focus on boyhood…it is our purpose.   We want to give boys who are growing up in this world the tools and traditions to help them become men of integrity, honor and faith.

Boys are unique. They grow, mature, and think differently than girls.  Why not celebrate their uniqueness and give them the tools to thrive in their own special way?
Boys are unique. They grow, mature, and think differently than girls. Why not celebrate their uniqueness and give them the tools to thrive in their own special way?

We are not just your average toy store.  Our purpose is to encourage families raising boys through the products we sell.  It doesn’t meant that we think ONLY boys will like our products, certainly many girls like adventure as well.  Just as many girls stores focus on the uniqueness of girls, we’ve chosen to focus our energies on the things that foster uniqueness and growth in young men through a traditional american boyhood experience.”

Jay is right. Boys are unique. For example, boys mature differently, they process thoughts differently, and recent research has shown that boys even see and hear differently. Boys also interpret spacial settings in their own unique way. A boy’s brain develops differently while still in the womb, and then again through the process of puberty. It is because of this uniqueness that JM Cremp’s products and messaging are designed specifically for boys.  We want to encourage families raising boys to not only understand these differences and the uniqueness of boyhood, but to embrace them.

As a group, boys are struggling in our society.  They are having a hard time in school, and even fewer boys are going on to college. Video games are replacing time that should be spent being creative, imaginative and adventurous. Movies and television are replacing books, and as a result boys are no longer reading like they did 30 years ago.  We’ve even seen the trend where adult males are living at home for much longer than they have in the past.

We want to encourage families to raise men, and we believe the only path to manhood is through boyhood. You will find many great resources for raising boys and developing the characteristics of manhood such as: honor, integrity, respect, perseverance, faith, courage, discipline and more. We believe manhood is not an age, but rather a maturity. We appreciate the opportunity to help your family in this journey.

Make This School Year All About Learning Through Adventure

As the school year approaches, take a minute to reflect upon your school years.  Skip past the football games, the assemblies, and the lunch breaks spent with friends.  Try to go back to your time spent in class.  Do you remember sitting through a lecture, reading the required chapter, and acing the test on Friday only to forget everything you learned by the time Monday rolled around?  If so, don’t feel too bad.  Not everyone is a “book” learner, and this is especially true when it comes to boys.  Boys tend to be hands-on learners who thrive on learning by experience.

Fortunately, we understand this at JM Cremp’s and we have several creative ways for your boys to learn while still having fun.  Here are some of our best sellers:

Remote Controlled Machines Building Kit Remote Control Machines Kit for Kids
Your creative genius can build one of ten remote control vehicles with this one kit.  This award-winning science kit teaches kids several different scientific principles in a hands-on and fun manner.

Chem 200 Chemistry Set
Discover how fascinating the world is when you understand the remarkable reactions behind ordinary occurrences. CHEM C2000 includes everything in CHEM C1000 and more — with twice the tools and materials, and more than three times the experiments. Most notably, this kit introduces you to the alcohol burner for experiments that require heat, greatly expanding the number of experiments you can conduct.

A Beginner’s 3-Blade Craft Carver Set Whittling and carving is for the creative at heart who don’t like having idle hands.  Inspire creativity in your son with a simple beginner’s set that will teach him to safely whittle and carve.  Beginner 3-blade Craft Carver Whittling Set

 

Remember Those Who Served

Memorial Day weekend is viewed by many as the start of the summer holiday, but it’s about more than just bar-b-ques, potato salad, and marshmallows by the fire. There is a serious and sober meaning behind the holiday, and it is important that we teach it to our children.

Memorial Day was originally started on May 30th, 1868, by Union General John A. Logan. He declared that day as a day to decorate and remember the graves of Civil War soldiers. In 1950, the President issued a proclamation calling on Americans to observe Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace. In 1971, President Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday, and it is known as an occasion to honor the men and women who died in all wars. In other words, it is a day to “Remember Those Who Served”.

"Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day" by Remember - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day.JPG#/media/File:Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day.JPG
“Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day” by Remember – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day.JPG#/media/File:Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day.JPG

You may or may not know a veteran yourself, but there are ways that your family can honor the men and women who served in your community:

  • Thank a veteran
  • Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
  • Visit a monument dedicated soldiers, sailors or marines.
  • Join a parade
  • Put flowers or flags on the graves of men and women who served in the military.
  • At 3 pm, participate in the National Moment of Remembrance
  • Teach others about the true meaning of memorial day
  • Visit a veterans facility and just take a moment to visit and thank the people you see there.

There are many ways that you can honor veterans and celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day.

This Year Fill Their Easter Basket with Adventure

I’ll admit it – this year, I cringed when I saw the marshmallow eggs, the generic jelly beans, and the colored fake grass start to creep on the store shelves.  Not that I don’t love a good Cadbury Egg once a year, but the thought of buying all that sugar, bringing it home, and then letting it get spread all over the house in a pile of messy grass and empty wrappers DID NOT fill me with joy.

Adventure Filled Easter Basket
Be creative and fill their basket with fun and inspiring gifts.

I know I sound like a bit of an Easter Scrooge, but I’m sure I’m not alone.  My quest was prompted in part by conversations I’ve had with other moms who are likeminded.  After all, I think there has to be something else that I can fill their basket with besides calories. My mission this year is to reduce the basket calorie count and replace some of it with a little more fun and adventure.

With adventure in mind, here are my top picks for mom approved, kid-friendly, reduced-calorie Easter Basket Gifts.

Survival Themed Easter Basket – A survival themed basket is easy to put together and is ideal for the outdoor-oriented kid.  Items to include are:

The Ultimate Readers Adventure Themed Easter Basket – If you have an avid reader in your house like I do, then this Easter Basket will keep them happy for a long time!

The Hands-On Child’s Dream Basket – When you have a “take-it-apart, see-how-it-works” kid in the house, you need productive and interesting projects to keep them occupied.  Add one or more of these items to their basket and they’ll be thrilled!

A themed adventure basket is a great idea to inspire your kids and keep the easter afternoon sugar coma at bay.