Throwback Thursday: Fair-Weather Forts and other Sunshine Notions

It’s Throwback Thursday, and a beautiful day outside, so grab your recycling bin full of last week’s newspapers and a roll of tape and build yourself a backyard fort! (Just don’t use it to hang your child’s playpen out the window…)

Brain Popcorn

It’s warming up, it’s almost school vacation week here in Massachusetts, and as the leaves are starting to unfurl I thought I’d offer up some paper-craft options for fresh-air fun.

That’s an idea whose time has fortunately gone by, but if you’ve got that spring-air fever, may I recommend a fair-weather fort made of newspaper?

Indulge your architectural side and build a geodesic dome out of rolled newspaper struts.  (Alternate directions also available here.)  This is a great activity in small scale or large — I’ve done it with visitors both ways, and it’s always a big hit.  Just typing this makes me want to build one in my backyard.  There’s some fun inspirational architecture-via-recyclables here: Amazing Recycled Architecture.

And while you’re into the newspaper-folding mode, and out in the backyard, try out a six-sided kite or these neat biodegradable newspaper seed-starter  pots. Or make yourself…

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Ideabox: Water Balloons

Today may see a brief break in the previously unremitting gross weather of the last two weeks, but there are surely more scorching days in our future.  To that end, I present a post about water balloons.   (Because if they’re good enough for NASA they’re good enough for me…)

ideabox water balloons

Watch a Water Balloon Break in Slow-Motion

People Study This Stuff?

How does a water balloon pop in low or no gravity?  NASA wanted to know, and not just because it looks cool.  Think about delivering water to a colony on Mars, or to the International Space Station.   Think about taking a bath in orbit.  Check out the awesome video results of the Symphony of Spheres and other experiments.

If you’re looking for other cool water droplets and bursting balloons, look no further!  Doc Harold Edgerton was a pioneer of stroboscopic photography, and dozens of his videos and photographs are available from the online MIT museum collections.

But they’re mostly about fun, right?

There may be a creativity crisis in America, but these two kids have come up with 27 ways to play with water balloons…how many can you think of?

Or don’t use a traditional water balloon at all–this family documented their experiment with the amazing 120 foot water balloon using latex tubing.  (And these folks built an air-pressure-powered water balloon cannon…but if you make one of these, don’t tell me–and don’t blame me if your cannon explodes, as is mentioned as a possibility in the comments.)