How to Launch a Rocket with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Making a bottle rocket with baking soda and vinegar is always a fun and explosive (but safe) activity! When the baking soda reacts with the vinegar, it forms carbon dioxide and water. The carbon dioxide builds up inside the bottle until it launches into the air!

Here’s step-by-step directions to launch your own rocket:

Supplies:

Empty water bottle
4 Chopsticks
Tape
Paper
Scissors
Markers (or paint, crayons, etc.)
Vinegar
Baking Soda
Paper Towel
Cork

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First Make Your Rocket:

1- Take a sheet of paper and color one side. This will be your rocket decorations.

2- Cut out a circle, cut a slit halfway, wrap it to make a cone and tape it in place. This is the top of your rocket.

3- Tape three or four chopsticks to the upside down bottle, with a few inches extending past the top opening. This will be your rocket legs, so make sure they are even and the bottle can stand on its own.

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4- Wrap the decorated paper around the bottle, over the chopsticks and tape into place.

5- Tape your pointy cone to the top. You should now have something that resembles a rocket!

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It may not be very pretty, but it will still fly! lol

6- Wrap tape around a cork until you can plug the bottle easily but not too tightly. If it is too tight, it won’t shoot out.

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Prepare to Launch:

1- Take a square of paper towel and put about a tablespoon of baking soda in the center.

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2- Wrap it up to create a little baking soda packet. This delays the release of the baking soda and gives you time to put in the cork and get out of the way.

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3- Fill your bottle about 1/3 with vinegar

4- Find a nice flat surface outside where you don’t care about the splatter. It makes a big mess when it explodes, but it is all easily washed away with water.

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5- Push the baking soda packet into the bottle and VERY QUICKLY put in the cork. Make sure it is secure enough but not pushed in too far or it won’t pop out.

6- Give it a few shakes, flip it over and then RUN!

Jumping Around at Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park

Indoor trampoline parks are a great way for kids to burn some energy! They’re our go-to spot when it’s rainy or too hot to play outside but my son is ready to run and play. Jumpstreet in Jacksonville Beach is the closest one to us, but our city has several different options and I’m sure there are ones just like it across the US.

Jumpstreet has a special area called the Earthquake zone for smaller kids under five. They have a trampoline area, plus a blow-up slide and maze. It’s enough to keep most kids entertained for a couple hours.

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Before you go, it’s best to sign their waiver online. That way you can just go in and give them your name. It’s hard to fill out the form on the computers there with an antsy kid jumping around, pulling at you and begging to run and play.

The first time we went, it took my son 30 minutes to work up the courage and figure out how to climb the ladder on the blow-up slide. Now he’s an expert and loves sliding down on his belly and running up in the wrong direction!

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We usually go in the early afternoon and it’s never too crowded. We did try it once in the evening and it got a little packed. The kids don’t need any special socks to jump (some places require this) so they can jump barefoot or in their own socks.

My son loves it when they put out the bouncy balls on the trampolines. They usually have them out unless it gets packed.

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The total with tax for little kids comes to about $8.50 and is good for the entire day. They get a sticker and as long as they have that, you can leave and come back. They don’t charge anything for parents unless you plan on jumping as well. If you join their rewards program on the Fivestars app, then they will often send you great coupons like $5 off a jump session or 1/2 off your purchase.

They have tables around the place with good views of all the activity spots, so the bonus for parents is mostly getting to stay in one spot and keep an eye on the kids. Hurray for a moment to rest!

If you haven’t tried out an indoor trampoline park yet, I totally recommend it. Most will have a special area for small kids and some even have a special “Toddler Time” where kids under five get the run of the place for a few hours on special days. And if you are looking for more indoor fun, check out this post about Kids Bowl Free all summer!

 

 

 

Summer Fun: Kids Bowl Free is Back Early

Last summer we signed up with Kids Bowl Free to bowl two free games a day, all summer long. This year we got a message saying the program was starting up in March, so we’ve signed on again. Read on for the details!

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What is it?

The Kids Bowl Free program is two free games a day for kids and you can add on a family pass for around $20 for up to four people over the qualifying age. Check with your center for age requirements. (Ours is ages 2 – 15.) It’s just a one-time fee, and it can be anyone, not just family members. Adults don’t have to bowl with the kids, so you can just let them bowl for free. Shoe rental is not included, but the younger kids won’t need to rent shoes.

Each week they will send you coupons by e-mail for your free games. You can also download their app and get your coupons that way.

How do I sign up?

Head to KidsBowlFree.com and look for your closest participating bowling center. Each center will also say the ages, times they honor the free passes and when they start the program. Then sign up! You can keep it totally free and just pay per game for yourself, or add on a family pass.

Plus, when you register please enter my email address candykay921@yahoo.com in the “Referred By” field on the registration page and we’ll both be entered to win some great prizes including Gas Cards, Amazon.com Gift Cards, Weekend Hotel Trips, Restaurant Gift Cards and more!

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A few tips

* If you have younger kids, you can ask them to pop up the bumpers so they won’t get a gutter ball.

* You can also ask for a ramp to help them roll the ball. Some places will give you one for free, but our center charges $2.

* If you plan to go a lot, you can save money by buying yourself bowling shoes. I got found a cute pair of bowling shoes on amazon for $35, but they even have cheaper used ones on eBay. They last forever and eventually pay for themselves.

* Don’t let them discover the game room too early. Once they go in there…they may not come back out to finish bowling! So also bring a couple dollars for quarters/tokens.

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We had a lot of fun with this program last year and I’m looking forward to going again!

Regrowing New Lettuce From Old Lettuce

I love seeing what I can regrow, whether it’s from cuttings, stems or seeds. Recently I experimented with regrowing lettuce from a few different varieties I got in the Artisan Lettuce pack. You can try this with any kind of lettuce- it works great with romaine!

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I always replant my green onions, so when I heard you can do it with lettuce, I decided to give it a try. With green onions you can keep regrowing and cutting them over and over, but with lettuce it seems you just have one chance to regrow and even then it may not be enough to fill a salad bowl. So I don’t expect this to replace my usual mixed greens, but it was a fun little experiment and something neat to do with kids too.

First I used the tops of the lettuce for salads and saved the last bit with the stem. I stuck the stem part in a bit of water and then sat it on the windowsill for about a week before it sprouted roots.

You can see the lettuce already had started growing again out of the top by the time it sprouted very small roots at the bottom. The rest of the lettuce started turning brown and it didn’t seem to be growing very fast so I decided to plant it in the garden and see what happened. You can also just leave it in the water and it will keep growing.

After I planted them, they started growing pretty good and a week later they were more full and the two purple varieties started turning more purple. Then we had some cold weather and no rain and one of the purple ones withered away while one of the green ones grew big enough to eat! The other purple one was still doing good, but it’s such a deep purple that it is hard to see in the photo. If you plant them in dirt, keep them well watered!

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I was worried I might lose the nice big green one, so I decided it was time to eat my new lettuce, about three weeks after planting it and one month total including the time spent in the water cups. So even after one month, I still had to mix in a little bit of grocery store lettuce. But overall, it was a very tasty salad and neat gardening experiment!

Do You Want to Play a Game?

Playing a game with a three-year-old is a unique experience. It takes a lot of patience, imagination and a complete lack of concern for following rules. We got this great set of games from Goliath Games and Pressman Toy Company and my son couldn’t wait to rip open the box and try every single toy, regardless of those pesky age recommendations.

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We got started with Googly Eyes, where you get to wear funny glasses and draw pictures while your team guesses what you are drawing. I can tell this one is going to be a lot of fun as soon as he can draw something more than a scribble. The glasses have three sets of lenses and we had fun trying them on and just trying to draw any kind of picture!

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Next up we gave Sequence a try. It’s a game of both strategy and luck, played with a board game, cards and chips. My son made up his own set of rules for this one involving the color-coded chips while I quietly snuck the cards out of view before they ended up all over the house. I thought this one looked like a good one to stash away until he’s a bit older.

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The last one we opened, and the one my son keeps pulling off the shelf to play again, is Rummikub. Must be something about all those little tiles. He’s convinced he’s quite the Rummikub champion and keeps telling me he’s winning every time he fills up one of the trays.

Another game of luck and strategy, players take turns placing numbered tiles in runs (consecutive numbers of the same color, like 2, 3, 4 in red) and groups (three or more of the same number in different colors, like a red 9, a blue 9 and a black 9), rummy style. The Joker tiles can be any color or number. The object is to be the first to play every tile on your rack. The “board” changes all the time as players adjust the tiles on the table.

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The next Rummikub champion

As much as my son loves trying to play all these games, his ultimate goal is to throw all the pieces everywhere and create as big of a mess as possible. So you can see why Sequence was hidden away with all its little pieces. But he’s quite attached to Rummikub so it’s a good thing all the little tiles are an easy clean-up. We even make a sort of game out of that part.

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Think your family would like a prize pack of these great games? Be sure to head to GeekMamas.com for this week’s giveaway! Starting Wednesday 2/20 and running until 3/4 you can enter to win.

Making Wall Worthy Kids Art with Stencils

Stencils are a great way for kids of almost any age to make wall worthy art. As long as they can hold a painting utensil or sponge, then they should be able to transfer paint onto the prepared stencil surface and have it result in something pretty decent!

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We recently took advantage of a cold rainy afternoon to do an art project compliments of Stencil Revolution. I picked out a neat seahorse stencil to go with our beach house renovation decor and set it up so my three-year-old son could do the painting.

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The first thing we did was head to the hardware store to get a piece of wood to use as a base. I also had a second Halloween themed stencil, so I got a 4ft. piece of wood to fit them both for just $9. After cutting it to fit both stencils I still had enough left over to make something else. After cutting the board to fit, I stained them a navy blue. You can also paint the boards a solid color.

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After the stain was dry, I taped the stencil where I wanted the design to be. My board wasn’t as wide as I should have been, but I just went with it. I realized later, as my son was really going crazy slapping on the paint, that it is best to have all the sides taped down really well. I was only able to tape down the top and bottom so it slipped a tiny bit, but not enough to mess it up in the end. You do need to have it secured better than we did if you want a crisp stencil edge.

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With our surface prepped, next we mixed our paints. We used acrylics in a metallic teal, blue and a dash of white. Our painting tool or choice was a sponge painter. My son took to sponge painting with gusto, scooping large blobs of paint out and slopping it down as I scrambled to make sure it wasn’t splattering beyond our small art mat.

At first I kept trying to limit his paint and show him how to do it, but then I just let him go with it and his unique blob painting technique actually resulted in a really cool texture! The bubbles and lumps make it look almost like the seahorse has scales.

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I made sure every spot was covered and then Mr. Impatient had to see his creation immediately, so I removed the stencil and we were both very excited to see something so pretty! I’m sure you’re probably supposed to let it dry and then remove it so you don’t risk smudging it, but it was hard enough to stop the flailing little arms from smearing the whole thing while it was on so I figured I’d better show him and then display it up high where he couldn’t touch it.

After I removed the stencil, I immediately rinsed it off and the acrylic paint easily came off with a little scrubbing. The stencil is made from laser cut 12 mil Mylar and can be used over and over again. It can also be cleaned with paint thinner if you choose to let the paint dry on it and have a harder time cleaning it off. Acrylics will usually wash off or peel off easily though, even when dry.

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So you can see our seahorse doesn’t have super crisp edges and isn’t “perfect” but I think that adds to its beachy vibe. I just have to add a little hook to the back and I’ll be hanging this little masterpiece on the wall. And thanks to StencilRevolution.com for sending the stencil for this fun little project!

Spread a Little Happiness with Kindness Rocks

When we first moved to our new neighborhood at the beach, I kept running across these pretty painted rocks stuck in random places. At first I was afraid to take them. I’d pick it up and admire it and then put it back, afraid maybe it was meant for someone else. I eventually realized it was meant for me to take it! It was left there for anyone who is lucky enough to find it. If you’ve stumbled across these little painted rocks, than know they are meant to be taken and hopefully bring a little happiness to your day.

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We found a rock!

They are often called “kindness rocks” and are painted with whatever people want to put on them. Some just have nice messages on them like “smile” or “be kind,” and others may just be swirls of color. We’ve found some that look like intricate art pieces! Sometimes people use different materials like shells or rocks that appear to be shaped like something already, but the most popular rocks are medium size with a good smooth surface for painting.

Once we started collecting painted rocks, we also got into painting new ones to hide. You can use lighter colored rocks and paint or draw right on them, or paint darker ones white first. I’ve also seen light ones painted black. Acrylic paint, paint markers and Sharpies are great for doodling on rocks. You can also spray them when done with a coat of clear paint sealer.

Dark river rock painted white and ready to be transformed in a Kindness Rock

When you find a rock, be sure to look on the back for a hashtag or instructions on sharing. Most will tell you where to post on Facebook and a hashtag to include so the person who hid it can see it was found. Most people re-hide the rocks they find so they travel around. It’s OK to keep them too! We save our favorites for our garden. But if you are keeping them, make sure you are making new ones to put out so other people can enjoy them too.

If you are interested in getting started painting and hiding rocks, just search your area and add “rocks” on facebook. For example – I live in Atlantic Beach so our rock group is called Atlantic Beach Rocks and the hashtag is #rockinthebeaches. And if you don’t have any rocks handy, you can order buckets of rocks for around $20 on Amazon or even get an entire kit with ready-to-paint rocks:

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*Post contains Amazon affiliate links*

So have you found any rocks in your area or gotten into rock painting? If not, you can always start something in your area! Also, a funny thing happens once you start looking for the rocks- you’ll start seeing them a lot more. You get a little more conscious of your surroundings and notice little spots that look like a rock might be stuck there. And sometimes you’ll find spots that becomes “regulars” and you can usually find a rock there, or leave one there yourself. Rock painting, finding and hiding is a great creative activity for kids and adults and a nice way to brighten someone’s day when they run across a surprise hidden gem.