Book Review – The Dangerous Book for Boys

Whether you’re a boy of 8 or 80, you’ll love The Dangerous Book for Boys!  The title sounds a little intimidating, but be sure to dive in a bit before making a snap judgement.  In these days of video games and battery powered toys that do everything except buy themselves for you, today’s unimaginative kids need to learn how to PLAY again. This book is filled with good old-fashioned, get-off-the-couch, get-out-of-the-house and get dirty ideas.

Book Review - The Dangerous Book for Boys

A perfect way to stay out of trouble but still have fun, The Dangerous Book for Boys covers essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age old question of what the big deal with girls is. In this digital age there is still a place for knots, skimming stones and stories of incredible courage.

This book recaptures Sunday afternoons, stimulates curiosity, and makes for great father-son activities. The brothers Conn and Hal have put together a wonderful collection of all things that make being young or young at heart fun—building go-carts and electromagnets, identifying insects and spiders, and flying the world’s best paper airplanes.

As one reader put it, “It is perfect tinder for a young mind to fan the flames to the fire of personal wonder for the rest of their lives.”

You won’t want to put it down!  Pick up a copy today at jmcremps.com, and be sure to take a look at The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things To Do, and The Pocket Dangerous Book For Boys: Things To Know.  Happy reading!

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How to Make a Mask Using Tin Foil and Tape

A perfect mask can be made using surprisingly few products that can be found at home: tin foil and tape. Not only is this mask incredibly simple to make, but the tin foil enables it to perfectly fit your face. Once the mask is made, there are so many possible characters it can be adapted to.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 1: Overlap 3 sheets of aluminum foil in a stack.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 2: Push the stack of sheets onto your face. Push down as hard as you are comfortable pushing. Do it carefully, so the foil does not become punctured. (It might be useful to have a helper do this part.)

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 3: Check you have the general outline of your face imprinted: nose, lips, corners of your eyes and cheekbones. Use a marker and trace around your eyes (it might be good to follow the bones around your eye socket) for where you want to place the eye holes in your mask. Also, trace around anything else you want cut out. (Breathing holes are useful for breathing!)you might also want to cut a hole for talking too.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 4: Carefully remove the foil from your face. Cut with sharp scissors around the edges of the mask. And note––once you cut it, you can’t really go back easily, so leave extra.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 5: Carefully cut out the eyes. Do this either by puncturing the foil with a toothpick and tearing the foil out, or snipping in the center of the area with the tip of scissors and folding the foil back.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 6: Cut holes or slots in the side of your mask. These are for the ribbons/cord/shoelaces to attach the mask to your face.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 7: Cut small sections of tape. While pressing the mask to your face to keep the features strong, gently place the tape onto your mask. When you feel the mask’s features are firm enough, place all the sections of tape, overlapping, across all visible places of foil, including the back (foil is itchy next to the skin).

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 8: Tie the cord to the holes in the side of your mask. Leave enough length to both wrap around your head, and to tie in a nice knot or bow.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 9: Decorate using acrylic paints. Paint whatever you want, making sure to leave it to dry out of the way of people or pets. 

Paint completely black for the ideal Ninja disguise, or add colorful paints and sequins for a masquerade ball!  You can also add things like horns, a pointed nose, or antlers by simply making the form with tin foil, and covering with tape like what you did in the previous steps.  Become whatever character you’d like in a few easy steps!

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 Mask Out of Tin Foil and Tape  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

A Modern Resurgence of Vintage Pastimes

As the buzz over the technology revolution is settling down and becoming less of a novelty, the past couple of years have seen a resurgence of vintage, or traditional pastimes.  The world keeps spinning faster, and everyone’s eyes seem to be opening to the need for relaxation.  Gone are the days of the glorification of “busy”.  They are being replaced with the art of slow living.

The Resurgence of Vintage Pastimes

One of the most popular vintage pastimes that’s resurfaced seems to be whittling.  What do you think of when you picture whittling?  Perhaps what pops up in your head is an old man in a rocking chair on a front porch, carving a piece of wood, with an ice-cold beverage nearby.  His grandson sits in a chair next to him whittling his own stick of wood, keeping up a steady stream of chatter.  As the sun sinks lower in the sky, their wood pieces start to come to life.  The scene is idyllic, peaceful, and relaxing.

The history of whittling really begins in early Americana.  With only the use of a pocket knife and good, soft wood; crafty folks could whittle just about anything.  A couple of main things that have changed with the pastime since then is the quality of the knives and the selection of specialty blade shapes available.  The craft has become easier and more enjoyable than ever before.

If you’re looking for a way to wind down after a busy day, or to connect with your children or grandchildren, your search is over.  JMCremps has a large selection of knives, thumb guards, whittling & woodcarving books, and kits to get you started or keep you going with one of the best hobbies out there.

What are you waiting for?  Throw away your worries for a moment so you can sit back and relax while creating something beautiful.  Spend some quality time with someone you love. Connect with the past while living fully in the present.  There’s a reason this pastime is coming back, and I think if you give it a try you just might become an advocate of the art of slow living.

Easy Science Project: How To Make a Bouncy Egg

Are you in need of a simple science project that only requires a few household ingredients?  Look no further!  Parents are always telling children not to play with their food, but they’ll make an exception on this one.  Try this fun experiment that turns an egg into a bouncy ball!  The only ingredients required are an egg or two, some vinegar, and a container.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 1: Get a container of vinegar ready. Find a jar or Tupperware container large enough to fit the egg. Grab a bottle of regular white vinegar and fill the jar or Tupperware container with vinegar. Don’t fill it all the way to the brim though, because then putting the egg in will make it overflow.

Step 2: Add dye if you want to color your bouncy egg. You can easily make your finished bouncy egg any color you want to by adding food coloring dye to the vinegar. Just add around 10 drops of the dye to the vinegar, or enough to color the whole container of vinegar.

  • It doesn’t have to be filled to the top but it should be filled high enough so that the egg can be completely submerged in vinegar.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 3: Submerge an egg. Get a raw, unboiled egg. Place the raw egg in the vinegar-filled container. Just drop it in from right above the vinegar so the vinegar doesn’t splash everywhere. Make sure it is completely submerged.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 4: Cover the container. Place a lid on your container and leave it somewhere safe but out of the sun. The less sunlight it gets the better, so either put it somewhere dark like a closet, or cover it with something like a kitchen cloth.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 5: Wait for the shell of the egg to completely dissolve. This process can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. To be on the safe side, wait three days before continuing.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 6: Check the egg. Look at the egg through the container every once and a while to check its progress. The egg will turn a transparent color because the eggshell is decreasing in thickness. The eggshell will soon dissolve, leaving a thick strong egg white.

  • The reason the shell dissolves is because vinegar is a weak acid. The egg shell is made of calcium carbonate. When the shell meets vinegar, it makes a chemical reaction that turns the calcium carbonate into carbon dioxide, which is what those bubbles in the container are.

Step 7: Remove the egg. Take the egg out of the vinegar carefully. Just reach in and pull it out with your hand. Don’t forget to wash your hand afterwards. Place the egg on a couple of paper towels to let it drain.

  • Be extra careful when handling a raw bouncy egg. It will be more fragile than a boiled bouncy egg.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 8: Bounce it. Make sure it’s dry first. You can speed this up by drying it by hand with a paper towel. Be careful not to drop it from too high of a height, as it can still break and leave a mess. Start with just a few inches, and have cleaning supplies ready!

If you enjoyed this project and are looking for more science-related entertainment, be sure to check out jmcremps.com for a great selection of science kits, science books, and loads of other fun, exciting, and educational items!

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 Bouncy Egg. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

The Ultimate Summer Fun Checklist

Summer days are here again!  Once the novelty of no-school wears off, don’t let boredom set in.  JM Cremp’s has a Summer Fun Checklist that will keep the kids busy and mom happy.  Best of all, these great ideas are interactive and can be fun for the whole family.

Obstacle Course for Kids -Summer Adventures
A backyard obstacle course is a perfect way to keep your adventurous boys happy!

Easter Themed Scavenger Hunt

Round up the whole family for an Easter Themed Scavenger Hunt!
Round up the whole family for an Easter Themed Scavenger Hunt!

After the Easter Baskets are found and dinner is consumed, you may want to plan an activity to help burn off some of that excess sugar.  An Easter Themed Scavenger Hunt is the perfect way to get the kids focused on an activity that will get them moving and keep them occupied – at least for a little while!

Download your printable copy of the Easter Themed Scavenger Hunt here:

_______ Easter Basket

_______ Stuffed Animal

_______ Chocolate Egg

_______ Cross

_______ Easter Basket Grass

_______ Red Jelly Bean

_______ Easter Bunny

_______ Flower

_______ Lamb

_______ Plastic Easter Egg

_______ Real Easter Egg

_______ Easter Hat

_______ Baby Chick (Can be candy, toy or real)

_______ Easter Card

_______ Easter Decoration

_______ Chocolate Easter Bunny

Spy Games for Kids – Create Your Own Invisible Ink in 4 Easy Steps

Secret messages, treasures maps, and notes that big brother or sister isn’t allowed to read – those are a few of the many reasons why young kids need to know how to make invisible ink!  Luckily for Mom, it’s easy, non-toxic, and shouldn’t make a big mess.  You only need two ingredients – baking soda and water.

 

Step 1.  Mix equal parts water and baking soda.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 12.38.26 PM

Step 2. Dab a cotton swab, toothpick, or paintbrush into the mix.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 12.38.47 PM

Step 3. Write a message onto white paper using the baking soda solution as the ink.
Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 12.38.53 PM

Step 4. Allow the ink to dry thoroughly.
Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 12.39.07 PM

Reading the message is easy, and there are two ways to do it. The first is to hold the paper up to a heat source. An incandescent light works perfectly for this. The baking soda will cause the writing on the paper to turn brown.
Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 12.39.15 PM

The second option is to paint over the message with purple grape juice. The message will appear in a different color than the juice.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 12.39.22 PM

 

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 Invisible Ink. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Z-Curve Bow Sets Rule the Range with FREE Downloadable Target

Z-Curve Bow and Arrow Sets
The Z-Curve Bow is more than just a “toy”. It’s one of the funnest shooters we at JM Cremps have ever used!

Some of our most popular and all around fun products at JM Cremps are the Z-Curve Bow Sets.  These bow and arrow sets are fun for the whole family.  With them, you AND the kids can play shooting games, target practice, or just let off some steam.  Once you download and print our FREE Downloadable Z-Curve Bow Target, you’ll be all set.

What’s so special about the Z-Curve Bows?  Their range!  The Z-Curve Bow will fire the foam-tipped arrows up to 125 feet!  It is an accurate bow too, so target practice and archery games are really fun.  Plus, the arrows are made of foam so they are soft and will even bounce back upon impact.

Many of us here at JM Cremps have the Z-Curve Bows in our homes.  Here’s what the JM Cremps family has to say about the Z-Curve Bow Sets:

This Z-Curve bow is really a great toy and our kids love it! In fact, dad loves it too. Mom’s and Dad’s will want to set some ground rules for where the Z-Curve Bow can be used, but once that is understood then this youth toy bow will provide lots of fun! They are very durable and with normal wear and tear they will last a long time. In our own home we have found that occasionally the Z-Curve arrows will need some minor fixing with super glue, but then they are good to go.

If you don’t already have a Z-Curve Bow, you can check out our full collection of bows, arrows, and accessories by clicking here.  If you already have a Z-Curve Bow (or any bow), download our FREE Downloadable Target now, and get shooting!

FREE Downloadable Z-Curve Bow Target
Download your FREE Downloadable Z-Curve Bow Target

What is the Real Story Behind Labor Day?

What is Labor Day?  According to the United States Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. “

Labor Day Parade 1882.
This is an image of a Labor Day Parade in Union Square in New York City in 1882.

This last hurrah of summer is cherished by many for the long weekend it brings us, but the true meaning behind this holiday is often overlooked.  This year, take a moment to explain to your children the real reason we celebrate “Labor Day” and the interesting history behind it.

The first Labor Day holiday, better known then as the “working-men’s holiday”, was organized by the Central Labor Union of New York.  It was originally celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882.  In 1894 Congress decided to make this holiday an official National holiday and designated the first Monday in September as “Labor Day”.   Originally, Labor Day celebrations consisted of union organized parades, displays of products and machines, large community picnics, and even labor rallies.

Original Labor Day celebrations were very family-oriented, and as such, there was usually good food, entertainment, and games for the whole family.  You can replicate that old-fashioned, family fun this weekend at your celebration.  The whole family can get involved, and best of all, there are no electronic devices required!

Here are some of the original Labor Day games that you can try during your Labor Day celebrations:

Classic Egg and Spoon Race
Children the world over enjoy a Classic Egg and Spoon Race.
  • Tug of War – Split your family and friends into two groups.  Grab a rope, mark a spot on the ground that corresponds to the middle of the rope, and TUG!
  • Potato Sack Race – Flour sacks, potato sacks, or pillow cases will work for this race.  It’s easy, just put on your sack and hop your way to the finish line.
  • Three-legged Race – Find a partner, tie your legs together, and run (or hobble) as fast as you can.  The duo that crosses the line first will be awarded the designation of the Fastest Group on Three Legs.
  • Egg Spoon Race – Split your group into two or more teams.  This is a relay style race, so the first member balances an egg on their spoon and hurries to the turning point and back.  That person carefully transfers the egg to the next racer in line who repeats the process.  The team to cross the finish line first with their egg intact wins.  (Or the team with the egg that survives the longest without breaking will win by default.)
  • Watermelon Eating Contest – This one doesn’t really require too much explanation, but it does require a lot of watermelons!
  • Seed-Spitting Contest – After all that watermelon has been eaten, you can make good use of the seeds by having a seed-spitting contest.  Have the contestants line up behind a barrier or line.  Each contestant spits a seed as far as they can. Have the crowd keep track of whose seed goes the farthest to declare your winner.

JM Cremps, the Adventure for Boys Store, is dedicated to bringing families together.  While Labor Day celebrations only last for the weekend, the memories your family makes will last a lifetime.  Rest assured, these old-fashioned picnic games are sure to bring on some memorable moments!

Summer Fun – Obstacle Course for Kids

Obstacle Course for Kids -Summer Adventures
A backyard obstacle course is a perfect way to keep your adventurous boys happy!

School is out, summer is here, and the Fourth of July is just around the corner.  This is the time of the year where fun and games are all your kids have on their mind. To keep things interesting and to prevent mid-summer doldrums, why not help your kids create a challenging backyard obstacle course.  It’s a great way to keep them both occupied and satisfied.  Plus, it’s the perfect afternoon entertainment for family bar-b-ques, birthday parties, and those fun Fourth of July gatherings.

To create an obstacle course that will keep your kids happy for hours, be sure to choose obstacles that draw on different skills.  For example, create a course that includes obstacles that gives them the opportunity to rely on their balance, speed, agility, strength, daring, or even their wits.  Using a variety of activities guarantees that your obstacle course will be a memory-making hit.

Here are some ideas you can use for obstacles.  Mix and match these, create your own, or change them up to suit your child’s age and abilities.  Include your child and their friends in the creation of the course, and they’ll really love it!

Jumping:

  • Do X number of jumping jacks on a designated spot.  (Pick a number appropriate for their age.)
  • Hop through a hopscotch board drawn on the sidewalk.
  • Jump Over Obstacle:  Arrange boards, towels, or anything you have on the grass for them to jump over.

Crawling:

  • Crawl under lawn chairs, lawn furniture, or outdoor tunnels.
  • Belly crawl over a tarp that has a small sprinkler on it.
  • Special Delivery Obstacle:  At the beginning of this obstacle, have them pick up a carrot from a bowl with their teeth and crawl to the receiving bowl (placed wherever you’d like) and drop the carrot in.

Balance:

  • Walk The Tightrope:  Stretch out the garden hose and have them walk across it.
  • Walk with an egg balanced on a spoon from point A to point B.
  • Balance one, two, or three flat objects on their heads. Books, plastic plates, or Frisbees work great.

Wits:

  • Solve a riddle
  • Recite a poem
  • Recite the alphabet backwards.

Water:

  • Run or crawl through a wading pool.
  • Throw water balloons at a target.  (This target can be a person for an extra twist of fun!)
  • Using a squirt gun, shoot at a target.  (A tab of alka seltzer on a plate a short distance away works great for this obstacle as the alka seltzer dissolves and fizzes.  They are allowed to move on when they’ve dissolved the alka seltzer tab.)

Agility:

  • Weave your way through a plastic cone course (Use plastic cups for this if you don’t have cones.)
  • Follow a crazily drawn chalk line that weaves down the sidewalk or driveway.
  • Weave through balloons strung from tree branches that are at their head-height.

Speed:

  • Take a lap around the block on a bicycle.
  • Sprint through the yard or around the house.
  • Walk backwards from one end of the yard to the other.

As you can see, these ideas are great starting points for you to choose from to build an awesome obstacle course.  When kids get involved in the planning, then the creativity really starts to flow!  If you really want to have fun and outfit the kids with some fun water balloon launchers, squirt guns, or other outdoor toys, check out our website at www.jmcremps.com.  We carry a full selection of toys, gear, and games to make summer adventures extra special.