The concept of Big Bear little chair is a common one: teaching kids to differentiate between large and small. We start off with “Big Bear, little chair,” move on to “Big Plant, little cocoon,” and carry on with this theme until the end, with “Big Snowstorm, little village, tiny bird,” and, “Big Bear, little bear.” What makes this simple book so compelling is the striking art by author and illustrator Lizi Boyd. The bold illustrations are dramatic yet whimsical, with a formal color scheme of black and white (and gray) that is playfully broken up with gumball red. Each tall and skinny page is as stunning as the next. Big Bear little chair makes me happy every time I open it up, and if my kids were still in their pre-school years this would definitely be a frequent read.
Big Bear little chair
by Lizi Boyd
2015, 32 pages, 6.3 x 12.3 x 0.3 inches
$10 Buy one on Amazon Read the rest
Ghosts, witches and werewolves! Trick, treat and boo! This special edition of Blue Orange Games’ Spot It! is perfect for the days leading up to Halloween. Like the original Spot It!, the circular cards have several different pictures and words printed in bright colors and easy-to-read fonts. Also like the original, the fast-moving game comes with a booklet explaining five different ways to play and is packaged in a sturdy tin. This is a great addition to the game shelf for both fans and novices alike. Happy Halloween!
– Joel Neff
Halloween Spot It!
by Blue Orange
Ages 7 and up, 2-8 players
$11 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest
Most contemporary "kids music" sucks. However, my favorite reissue label Light In The Attic is releasing a killer children's vinyl compilation titled "This Record Belongs To______" that includes the likes of Shel Silverstein, Nina Simone, Donovan, Van Dyke Parks, Vashti Bunyan, Woody Guthrie, and many other musical greats, along with a storybook illustrated by the talented Jess Rotter. Read the rest
There's a hidden world beneath your nose filled with 2,709,919 objects waiting to be found by those who are in the know. Using the Geocaching app my daughter and find little containers left by geocachers in all kinds of places around the country - even in little Arizona towns in the middle of nowhere. It's like belonging to a secret society.
So far we have only looked for geocache containers, but now we want to start leaving our own geocache containers for others to find.
I ordered a Micro Snap Top Geocache Container 5-Pack for $5.75 on Amazon. They are watertight and include a paper log for people to fill out when they find it. [UPDATE: commenters alerted me that these are just centrifuge tubes and you can buy them for a lot less on Amazon. I canceled my order and got 50 tubes for $10.]
They are pretty tiny, so we are trying to figure out what kind of trinkets we can put in them. Perhaps a more experienced geocacher will let us know. Read the rest
It really does feel like a book come to life: With playful music, the crunch of snow and pretty, modern animal illustrations, you tilt and shake the device to interact gently with the stories and characters on all sides of you.
It's not super scientifically perfect but it's a fun tool.
Romanian 5-year-old Claudio Stroe does pushups with his hands and feet on glass bottles. Claudio's older brother, Giuliano, is a World Record-setting child body builder and gymnast himself. Below, see one of Giuliano's impressive demo videos from 2013, when he was also around 5.
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What's it like Raising Dion, a 7-year-old son with superpowers? Watch the trailer, then read the first issue free. Read the rest
I found these matchbox size wood puzzles at a general store in Colorado and bought three of them. There are a bunch of different ones in the series and I plan to get them all because they are almost like magic tricks and it’s fun to challenge your friends by showing them the end result (without letting them see the process of solving them).
The Baffle Board is a miniature version of an old classic known as the Red Goose puzzle. The challenge is to move the three beads from the loop of string on one side of the block to the loop on the other side. The printed solution included with the puzzle isn’t very clear, so here is a YouTube video, if you can’t figure it out.
Push N Pull is similar to the Red Goose, but a little easier to solve. The solution included in the puzzle is clear.
Brass Monkey is the hardest puzzle of all, but also the most fun. The challenge is to make a pyramid out of the six wooden pieces. The pieces tend to roll away as you work with them, so it helps to do this puzzle on a non-slippery surface, like a rubber computer mouse pad, or to support it with something like a stack of Post-It Notes. The included solution is not very clear, so here’s a YouTube video with the solution.
– Mark Frauenfelder
Pocket-size wood puzzles
By House of Marbles
Baffle Board $3 Buy one on Amazon
Push 'N' Pull $3 Buy one on Amazon
Brass Monkey $3 Buy one on Amazon
See more photos at Wink. Read the rest
Start a fire with a water bottle. Use glycerine to make a bottle disappear. Create weird dancing blobs with cornstarch and water. Marvel at water droplets sizzling in a hot pan. Poke pencils through a water-filled ziplock bag without the water leaking. This video has a total of ten cool things you can try at home. It's also one of the rare YouTube videos that doesn't require skipping ahead 20% to get to the interesting part. Read the rest
Something about the name Sushi Go had me hesitant to take the game seriously. It landed in my game closet over a year ago and remained untouched. Then last week my family wanted to play something new, so I finally ripped open the Sushi Go’s plastic wrap and broke out the super cute cards. And good thing I did!
Sushi Go is a fun, fast-moving card game that keeps you on your toes as you choose a card from your hand and then pass the rest to the player on your left (receiving a new hand from the player on your right). The goal is to score the most points by strategically collecting groups of sushi (or a piece of sushi and a spot of wasabi to dip it in) while working to block your opponents from collecting what they need. Each type of sushi has a different value, which is listed at the bottom of the card. For instance, egg nigiri is worth one point per card, while sashimi is worth ten points for every three you collect. Make sure to collect as much pudding as you can, since the person with the least amount of dessert at the end of a round will lose six points.
Although two people can play, it’s much better with three to five players. And you can play a game (which consists of three rounds) in around fifteen minutes, making it perfect for anyone on-the-go who needs a quick game fix.
Ages 7-100, 2-5 players
$11 Buy a copy on Amazon
See more photos at Wink Fun. Read the rest
The Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio has a nice tutorial on how to make tiaras/copper crowns with copper wire, solder, batteries, and LEDs.
[via] Read the rest
My daughter Jane has been asking for a laminator so she can make bookmarks, club ID cards, and other projects. I just learned that Amazon is selling a Swingline thermal laminator for $15 (regularly $60) so I ordered it. It comes with 5 letter-sized lamination pouches. (A pack of 100 lamination pouches costs $10.) Read the rest
Apparently Blokus is a popular game that’s been around since 2000, introduced by the French company Sekkoia before being sold to Mattel in 2009. But it’s new to me. I just bought it a few weeks ago after my daughter came home from her friend’s house raving about the game, and we’ve had many a summer Blokus evenings since.
Blokus is a strategy game that takes two seconds to learn, but many games to master. In a nutshell, each player picks a color and starts with a pile of Tetrus-shaped plastic pieces made of 1-5 squares. For instance, one piece is only one square, another is a line of three squares, another a four-square block, another a five-square L-shape, and so on. No piece is alike. Players start off by placing a piece of their choice in a corner of the gridded board. They then take turns connecting pieces to one of their own pieces already on the board. But you can only connect pieces by their corners – not by the edges (although your edges can connect with an opponent’s edge). As the board gets filled, the turns get more difficult, and after a few games you’ll realize how much strategy can make or break a game. The game ends when no one can make another move. The player left with the least amount of squares wins. Addictive and challenging, yet simple enough for a child to learn, Blokus is a great family game.
Note: The version above is 10" x 10", which is smaller than the original 13" x 13". Read the rest
I loved this interview with 6th-grader cartoonist Sasha Matthews, creator of two historical comic books: Sitting Bull (which we ran on Boing Boing) and Pompeii: Lost and Found. You can buy copies of her comics here.
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