Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or not, you have likely struggled with the issue of a child’s lack of concentration at some point during your parenting years. Of course we know that children are curious, energetic discoverers. This is natural. However, some children struggle more than others. Many frustrated parents don’t know where to turn for help. What if there were some simple antidotes and tools you can use to improve concentration? There is. Of course no solution will work for everyone, but we think you’ll find the following suggestions extremely helpful. Your sanity will thank you!
So, how can you motivate and improve your child’s focus? There are several different tools available. In the beginning, it’s best to try them all to see what works best for you and your family.
1.) Attend to physiological needs. Ensure your child gets 9 hours of sleep every night. Reduce sugar intake & increase protein levels (lean meat, almonds, & eggs). This stimulates dopamine which makes concentration easier, particularly for lethargic kids. Taking frequent breaks for exercise will have a similar effect.
2.) Remove distractions at home. Make a list of things that may prevent concentration (i.e. noise, people, lighting, fighting, tiredness, & hunger). Then go through each distraction and come up with a solution. Make sure you implement those solutions daily!
3.) Create the right mood for concentration. Playing calming background music, placing a fish tank (with fish) in the environment, and reducing fluorescent lights have all been proven to be successful in creating the right mood.
4.) Introduce sequencing & organization activities (i.e. following recipes, setting the table, and putting things in alphabetical order.) Board and card games help as well. Chess has proven to be particularly good for improving focus long-term. Their minds become incrementally stronger, alleviating the concentration problem, and in many cases, almost entirely curing it. The study of chess also instills patience and can help a child’s attitude.
5.) Find out which activities your child focuses on best. Some kids do best with hands-on activities, and some do best with a lot of visual cues. Look for activities that your child gets lost in for hours. These activities can enhance your child’s concentration levels.
These are only a few of the tools we’ve found helpful through the years. I’m sure there are many more that you’ll find that will work in your home. Before assisting your child with their concentration habits, pay close attention to their pattern of concentration and observe if there are any obvious links between diet, energy pattern, sleep, and your own behaviors. Remember to lead by example!
Concentration can be improved and made automatic. Picture the first time you drove a car. No doubt the prevailing, panicky thought in your head was, “How on earth can I focus on all of this stuff at the same time?!” After enough practice, your brain built pathways of concentration, and the task of driving has become a smooth and easy one. Take action today and make the process of learning a lot more enjoyable for both you and your children!
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.
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.”
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.
Step 1: Overlap 3 sheets of aluminum foil in a stack.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why is the sky blue? What makes a wheel turn? How do airplanes fly? These questions show a kid’s natural curiosity of the world around them. Science is an excellent tool to help kids strategically find the answers to their many questions. Here at JM Cremp’s, we specialize in developing the adventurous and inquisitive minds of children. We highly recommend these great science kits for kids and simple science projects to encourage the learning process.
Science experiments don’t have to be complicated or expensive. This simple science project for kids uses materials that are found in most kitchens and can be completed in a few minutes. It is easy and safe, so it is perfect for kids of all ages. So call in the little mad scientists and let’s get started.
The 3 Layer Float
Have you ever wondered why wood floats and rocks sink? The answer is density. Density is simply the measurement of how solid something is. This experiment will show the different density of 3 substances and 3 objects.
Gather Your Materials:
Tall Clear Cup
Note: Corn syrup will work as a substitute for honey. Don’t have a cork handy? Try a small piece of wood or a leaf instead.
Begin the Science Experiment Procedure:
1. Fill 1/3 of the tall clear cup with honey.
2. Fill the next third with oil.
3. Fill the last third with water.
4. Wait a minute and let all three substances settle.
5. Carefully drop in the coin, then the grape and then the cork.
Results and Observations:
Answer these questions as you make your observations:
1. What layer is the water?
2. What substance settled on top?
3. What happened to the coin?
4. What happened to the grape?
5. What happened to the cork?
Now that you have made your observations it’s time to determine the results. Discuss these questions to reach a conclusion:
1. What substance has the highest density? (bottom liquid)
2. What substance has the lowest density? (top liquid)
3. What object has a higher density than honey?
4. What objects have a higher density than water?
5. What object has the lowest density?
We think the words learning and fun should always be in the same sentence. From mechanical science to chemistry, kids science activities are a great way to keep the fun in learning. If you are a homeschooling family, this is a great family science experiment since you can involve both younger and older students.
JM Cremp’s Adventure Store, the Only Online Retailer Focusing Exclusively on Fun Adventure Products for Boys, Opens its 1st Retail Store in Dassel, MN
Online sales growth results in retail store opening
Dassel, MN – JM Cremp’s Boys Adventure Store, the only online retailer focusing exclusively on adventurous boyhood, announces the grand opening of its first destination retail store in Dassel, MN. Located in the former train depot at 651 Parker Avenue West, the store will feature the same great products, gear and activities for boys that have made the online site a success. The grand opening of the store will take place over the extended Labor Day weekend 2012, Friday, August 31- Monday, September 3.
JM Cremp’s Boys Adventure Store is home to thousands of carefully selected items designed to foster the spirit of an adventurous boyhood—from toys and games, outdoor gear, books, and so much more. In a world inundated with electronic games and gadgets electronic games and gadgets, JM Cremp’s promotes an old-fashioned American boyhood experience reminiscent of days gone by. In fact, parents love that they won’t find a video game in the store. JM Cremp’s highly trained adventure team is ready to help customers gather the best products for boys all under one roof. “The retail store is just another way for us to help bring adventure to the lives of our customers. A place where families can come to find the unique products and gear that will help ignite their child’s imagination—all in a unique, spacious and creatively designed retail environment” said Jay Asplin, owner.
About JM Cremp’s Adventure for Boys Store
JM Cremp’s online retail store launched in October of 2010. The company was started by Jay and Maria Asplin, and their five boys in their hometown of Dassel, MN. JM Cremp’s attributes their success to their unique selection of quality products and unmatched customer service. See JM Cremp’s complete selection of unique ‘adventure for boys’ products and gear at www.jmcremps.com, and if you are looking for fun, imaginative, and healthy activities for boys, their new Adventure for Boys Blog is the website you can rely on. It’s packed with activities, stories, and projects that will keep them engaged for hours. When it comes to boys – JM Cremp’s is your complete “Adventure for Boys” resource!
Grand Opening Hours:
Fri 8/31: 9 am-7 pm
Sat 9/1: 9 am-7 pm
Sun 9/2: Noon-5 pm
Mon 9/3: 9 am-7 pm
Okay boys, how many times have you heard this question in your house when Dad is trying to fix something, “Where are my tools when I need them?” UH-OH! You quickly try remembering if you borrowed them to work on the fort, or if you left them by that birdhouse you were making. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember where all those tools belong in the first place.
Attention Dads: While you’re outside searching for those tools, try out this great father and son activity, and help your son build his own tool box for kids. Woodworking projects are a great way to teach the basic skills of planning, measuring and proper tool use to your children. Let them get creative and you’ll be surprised at what your little carpenters can build. Hands on projects are a great platform to instill important values and teach life lessons to your son. At JM Cremps we understand the amazing imagination of kids and the importance of quality father son bonding time. Nurture them both with these great resources for kids crafts and woodworking projects, kids tool sets and ideas for father and son activities.
STEP 1 – Find Your Woodworking Tools
Tools – Quality tools are a must to make any woodworking project a masterpiece. Tired of searching for your tools Dad? Check out this Kids 9-Piece Tool Kit. These are fully functional, metal tools just like Dad’s, but they are made for smaller hands.
STEP 2 – Gather Supplies and Cut Your Wood
1 – 13 1/2″ X 5″ length of 1/2″ plywood for bottom
2 – 14 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ lengths of 3/8″ or 1/2″ plywood for sides
2 – 6″ X 5″ lengths of 1/2″ plywood for ends
1 – 14 1/2″ length of 3/4″ dowel
14 – #6 X 1 1/4″ flat head wood screws
STEP 3 – Let the Building Begin!
First complete the ends of the toolbox following the drawing below. Be sure to drill the holes for the handle first and then trim the tops.
Next, insert the dowel into the holes in the end pieces. Then with # 6 X 1 1/4″ screws and glue, fasten the two ends to the bottom piece as shown:
Now it’s time to fasten the two side pieces to the ends with # 6 X 1 1/4″ screws and glue. Slide the dowel out until it almost comes through one end, apply a small amount glue to the exposed end of the dowel, and to the cavity in the opposite end, slide the dowel back in to position. Finally, drill a pilot hole from the top down into the dowel and insert a #6 X 1 1/4″ screw at each end to keep the handle securely in place. It’s time for the fun part; make this toolbox a masterpiece. Grab some paint and get creative.
Okay junior adventurers, its time for your first Camp Cremp outdoor activity. Here’s round 2 of our Camp Cremp outdoor activity. This kids scavenger hunt is a great way to explore the outdoors and enjoy nature. Print this form or grab your nature notebook and head outside to find an item beginning with each of the following letters. Your backyard has many surprises just waiting for you to find them!
Adventurous kids tend to also be talented, artistic kids, who enjoy creating things and working with their hands. That’s why wood whittling is not only a pleasant past time for many, but it has spanned generations. It’s the type of activity that grandpas have taught their grandkids while spending a quiet evening on the front porch. JM Cremps is big into families, tradition, and creativity, and that’s why we are happy to be a resource for whittling basics, wood carving sets, whittling kits, and whittling projects.
If you are new to wood whittling, there are a few basic principles that will make sure you start with good technique and safe practices.
STEP 1 – Gather Your Wood Whittling Tools and Supplies:
Knife – A good quality, sharp knife is essential to wood whittling. A pocket knife works well, but to make learning easier and your carving more precise, we recommend the Beginner Palm & Knife Set. This kit contains the most popular and useful tools and knives every whittler needs. They are high quality and priced reasonably. This whittling kit contains a cutting knife, detail knife, v-tool, and gouge. Remember, the key to proper whittling is a sharp knife, so when the time comes, it is a good idea to ask an adult to help you learn proper sharpening techniques.
Thumb Guard – A good carving thumb guard is an important safety measure all beginning whittlers should use. It is made of cut-resistant leather and will prevent most accidental cuts while you are learning. Plus, it will help mom and dad to relax since they know you will be protected. Thumb guards are inexpensive and can be found at many craft stores. JM Cremps carries a good carving thumb guard designed especially for kids, and it comes in three sizes.
Wood – While you can use any type of wood, there are woods that are easier to work with and whittle better than others – especially for a beginner. Soft woods like basswood are easy, have small grain, and are easy to find. (Don’t attempt to whittle hardwoods until you are very experienced.) You can buy convenient wood whittling block sets designed specifically for whittling projects, and JM Cremps carries many of them. These sets are inexpensive and are already cut to size for your whittling projects. Some even come with several whittling ideas and patterns to make your first few projects fun and easy. For example, the Basswood Forest Animals Starter Blocks Set Whittling Kit lets you create several fun animal creations, while the standard Basswood Wood Carving Blocks Set Whittling Kit contains a good assortment of basswood just waiting for you to be as creative as possible.
STEP 2 – Getting Ready to Carve
Before you begin carving your wood, you must first determine the grain (the growth patterns in the wood). When you are carving in the same direction as the grain, you are carving with the grain. When you are carving opposite the direction of the grain, you are carving against the grain. This is important, so if you don’t understand “grain” ask an adult to clarify it for you.
It is important to hold your wood block and whittling knife properly. If you are right-handed, your left hand will hold the piece of wood and your right hand will hold the knife. Put your LEFT thumb on the back of the blade and the blade against the wood at slight angle to the block. Your LEFT thumb will push the blade forward and your right hand will guide the blade along the wood. Never push the blade forward with your right hand because you will not be able to control the blade.
Remember to keep all of your fingers out of the path of the blade!
STEP 3 – Carve!
Now you are ready to begin carving! Once you have your knife and wood block in the right position, begin by pushing the blade with your left finger and guiding the blade in a scooping motion. Don’t push too hard. The knife has to dig into the surface only a little bit and then angle back up to come out of the wood. If you do this right, you will have created a wood shaving that isn’t too thick. Most shavings that are done correctly will curl. You can check to see if your shavings curl to know that you are doing it correctly. If you whittle away thin shavings, you will be able to be more precise and smooth. If you go too deep, your knife might get stuck. If this happens, back it out and try again, but this time don’t go as deep.
Take your time and have fun. Before you know it, you’ll have your own creations that you can give as gifts or even sell to make some money. Expert whittler and the author of many books on whittling, Chris Lubkemann, put himself through college by whittling and selling his creations! Chris is the author of the book, Big Book of Whittle Fun, which contains 31 whittling projects, basic and advanced instructions, helpful pictures, and it even teaches you how to sharpen your knife.
Here is a perfect Beginners Whittling Project to get you started and to provide perfect practice for your technique. It is also a perfect way to strengthen your hand and to learn about the grain of the wood. (To see a more advanced woodworking project, check out our detailed instructions on How to Build a Tool Box.)
The Wooden Egg
Choose a block of wood that has the grain running through the length of the block.
Lay the block on a table with the long side down.
On the side that is facing up, divide the block into thirds running across the grain. Mark each third with a small pencil dot.
Draw a dark line (with a pencil) across the block on the bottom one-third mark and the top one-third mark.
Repeat that for all four sides.
Now you should have a line that goes all the way around the block one-third of the way up the blocks surface on each end.
Choose one end to be the “fat” end of your egg. The line on that end is your starting line and will always be the thickest part of your egg.
On the fat end, slice off the corners of your egg by starting your cuts on your pencil line and finishing at the end of the block. Keep turning the block as you go until the bottom end is rounded and the corners are gone.
Flip the block, and do the same on the other end, but this time you will need to cut more off of each corner since this the narrow end or the top of your egg.
Continue working and rounding by slicing then rotating your egg until all four corners are gone and the egg begins to take shape.
After you have the basic ends shaped, you can work on connecting them through the middle of the egg. Remember to slice WITH the grain.
As your egg nears completion, go back to the ends and make finer cuts to smooth the surface.
If you would like you can sand your egg, spray it, paint it, or carve your name in it. Be creative!
Are you a homeschooling family? If so, wood working and wood whittling are great hands-on activities to add to your homeschool curriculum. This traditional activity encourages creativity and will give your students a sense of pride and accomplishment when they have finished their project.