The Scar of a Maker

As a pool of blood formed on the desk in front of my 5th grade students, I knew they would not soon forget this STEAM activity. It was the day before winter break, a day when movies and Christmas songs play and classrooms are filled with the sugary scents of fluorescent “fruit” juices and a smorgasbord of other sweets. Midway through the day a noticeable glazed-over look fills the faces of teachers and embracing the storm is necessary to survive through dismissal. A few brave teachers may attempt to sneak a bit of instruction into the day in the form of a winter word search or even a content-related activity if they’re feeling ambitious...

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Why Adult Life Needs More Idle Time, and How to Get It

When I was a kid in the 1980s, I routinely found my father lying down on the sofa on Saturday afternoons.  He called it "resting his eyes," and it was a guiltless ritual he allowed himself his entire life.  He didn't call it Scheduled Time for Nothing. If every fiber in your body is cringing as you try to imagine allowing yourself unstructured time, for well, nothing, you are likely not alone. The story about my son and his robot costume from last week’s blog provides a clear illustration of how to deal with the boredom your children experience, but what are we adults to do?

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The Day Boredom Built a Robot

Does it sound like “scheduling time for nothing” is an oxymoron, a riddle perhaps? It is no riddle. I am here to encourage and inspire you to schedule time for something not likely on your weekly to-do list — time for curiosity, new ideas, surprises, coincidences, and epiphanies. In other words, schedule in some idleness. Scheduling in boredom is not what today's App developers had in mind when creating organizing tools for maximizing time, sharing information, and collaborating with others. In a culture where we have limitless tools to occupy our time, and organize and schedule our lives, we have left little time for idleness.

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The Hopper’s 2019 Guide to Open-Ended Toys

Every parent is familiar with the feeling of drowning in a sea of toys. No matter how much we try to control the purchases of overzealous grandparents or purge the forgotten play things, the pile seems to grow. Some days, it’s like an army of plastic is waging a battle against my sanity. While cheap, PVC is an enemy to the environment, I’ve realized that MY biggest household enemy is even more specific: “one and done” toys. These are the toys that don’t teach, inspire or grow with our kids.

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The Power of Microbes: Inside Artis Micropia

As I wandered the streets and canals of the “Venice of the North”, I couldn’t help but think about the health and well-being of its people. Amsterdam is known for its damp, chilly, and windy weather conditions. The city itself is quite compact as its real estate is severely limited by the city’s numerous waterways. People are (stylishly) living on top of one-another, which could be a cause for concern...

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Bruce Springsteen and Apple Butter: Sharing with My Kids

With cooler mornings and evenings, I am starting to feel ready for the change of the season and autumn’s arrival. Fall brings shorter, crisper days, and the beautiful changing of the leaves, but at our house, it also means it’s time for pumpkin pancakes and toast loaded up with homemade apple butter. Each fall I set aside one day for my family to make apple butter together…that's right, all of us sitting around the kitchen table, peeling, chopping, and gabbing while filling up a huge pot full of apples. It is a family affair, but honestly, canning and preserving food is my hobby, not my children's. So how have I managed to get my three pre-teen children (and husband!) to participate in this fall activity?

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Pepper’s Ghost Illusion: A DIY Guide

It's fun to look back on family vacations and explore the vivid images that stick in our minds. I have a memory of being about 9 years old and visiting a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum in Florida during a family vacation. Amidst taxidermied two-headed animals, a lifelike wax sculpture of the tallest man in the world, and rooms designed to play tricks on your eyes, there was one simple installation that I found completely mind-boggling. The installation looked like a normal bathroom, but as I walked past it objects appeared out of thin air! I took some steps backward and those same objects disappeared. It felt like magic...

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Science & Innovation Scavenger Hunt: Boulder Colorado

Boulder has lots to offer for a teen like me. This blog is a hunt for some of the popular science and innovation hubs in town that offer great activities for teens and children. I wrote this blog because many parents and families around Boulder don’t know just how many fun, exciting places there are to learn and explore. Curiosity drives learning, and when a kid is curious, they want to learn. I have been curious about Boulder’s science, technology, and innovation offerings due to the array of knowledge you can learn from them....

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How to Spot your First Constellations!

Summer stargazing is a magical journey to faraway planets, stars, and even galaxies! There are thousands of stars visible to the naked eye and dozens of constellations! Some of these constellations are visible all year round, and some are only visible in the summer. Even with today’s light pollution in urban areas, you can still have fun spotting some large, bright constellations! Here's our Top Three Stargazing Tips: Make sure that you go stargazing on a night where the moon will not interfere....

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Engaging all of your Senses: Museum of Senses

I’ve recently warmed up to the practice of referring to cities in the language of their particular country. I find that it’s the least I can do to show a graceful reciprocity to the locals. Munich is now “München”. Warsaw is now “Warszawa”. And Prague is now “Praha”. The little things, ya know? Upon arriving in Praha (Prague), I was absolutely dumbstruck by the elegance of this very old, very refined, Old World treasure. Taking into consideration the swath of damage that was done to major European cities during World War I and II, it was refreshing to find a legit, in-tact castle...

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