Flat – Stepping Stones (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , July 28, 2008 6:48 am

Hooray! We managed to participate in the Unplugged Project this week!  This week’s theme was flat.

My step-mother wanted us to make some “flat” stepping stones for a muddy patch of her garden here in Upstate New York, so I got brave and bought concrete, something I’ve never worked with before. 

Our supplies were the smallest available bag of quick-set concrete (40 lbs – ugh!), a bucket that we wouldn’t reuse, a stick to stir, some old shoe boxes for molds, and an assortment of “treasures” – dollar store shells and buttons, glass stones from a garage sale, and pieces of a cereal bowl that we broke by accident earlier in the week:

I mixed the concrete with water in the bucket. My advice: don’t try to mix too much at once. It is VERY hard to stir. Next time instead of trying to dump from a 40 pound bag, I would scoop some powder into the bucket so as to keep the mixture small and manageable. You can do several small batches like this, mix it more easily and thoroughly, and save your arms!

We poured the concrete into the molds and the kids began decorating:

We let them dry in the garage overnight. Tip: to move the now heavy and floppy shoe boxes without bending them and messing up the wet creation I slid a rimless cookie sheet under each one and transported them to the garage without damage.

24 hours later we were able to remove them from the molds. They came out very easily:

And here they are! Aren’t they lovely? My step-mom is thrilled:


What did you do this week for flat? If you joined in the Unplugged Project this week, please put your link in Mr. Linky below and leave a comment. I am still on vacation (until Wednesday), so I will try to visit, but can’t guarantee.


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project is:


Hope to see you next week!


Glass – Weekly Unplugged Project

By , July 21, 2008 6:01 am

Well, I am still away on vacation.  Last night I returned to Upstate New York and my children after a week in Florida.

Thanks for all the well wishes and such.  I had to leave for Florida suddenly, but not due to any emergency.  As some of you know, I am a pilot and we finally decided to buy a new airplane after a 7 year airplane hiatus.  The plane was ready a bit earlier than planned and a last minute cancellation opened up an unexpected training slot for me, so I had to rush off to Florida in a hurry.

An intense week of training away from my children meant that yet again, I did not do the Unplugged Project!  But I am sure many of you did, so I am putting up the Mr. Linky where you can link to your glass projects.

As I am still on vacation, I may not get around to everyone, but I will try.

Finally, I have noticed from the comments quite a few new comers to the site.  Welcome!  Normally I try to respond to each comment personally by email, but as I am away, it has been impossible to do that.  But I would like to say welcome to Unplug Your Kids and I am so glad that you are enjoying the site!


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:


No promises, but I really hope to be able to join in that one!


Stone – Weekly Unplugged Project

By , July 13, 2008 7:54 pm

I flew to Florida today somewhat unexpectedly (not an emergency, but I didn’t expect to be going so soon) and my children stayed behind in Upstate New York with my family. So we did not do our stone Unplugged Project.

I am putting up the Mr. Linky for those who did it. I won’t get there for a while, but I look forward to visiting your projects soon!

Next week’s Unplugged Project theme will be (and I hope I’ll be back to join in):


A Quick Life Update

By , July 9, 2008 12:07 pm

Thanks so much to all who joined in this week’s Unplugged Project! I haven’t had a chance to visit any of you yet, and I am also behind on my emails.

I am on vacation at my Dad’s house in Upstate New York and am doing more vacationing than blogging (plus the internet connection here is a bit unreliable). I will visit everyone’s project as soon as I can, but for now I am enjoying family and friends.

We survived our cross-country plane trip: it seems that 2 1/2 is a slightly better age for air travel than 1 1/2 was (that’s a relief!). We are also making “potty progress.”

More on all that later, but in the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying your summer and I’ll be checking in when I can.

Sky – Constellation Star Charts (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , July 6, 2008 9:02 pm

For this week’s Unplugged Project, sky, I was inspired by my Uncle’s very detailed star charts. He used to create charts of the constellations using thick black paper, a white pencil, and a pin to put holes where the stars were. The bigger the pinhole, the brighter the star. When you hold his charts up to the light, they are a very accurate representation of the night sky. I tried to photograph one of his charts here, but they are much easier to appreciate in person:

We gathered together astronomy books, construction paper (although dark blue was the closest we had to black), colored pencils, a ruler, and pins:

First we studied the books to find constellations that we liked. My oldest chose Leo since that is her “sign.” My 3 year-old nephew made up his own constellation, as you shall see.

Then we cut some dark blue construction paper in half. We transferred the dots to the paper as best we could by eye (if you have a simple constellation book with large drawings such as H.A. Rey’s excellent classic: The Stars: A New Way to See Them , it might be easier to trace them on tracing paper and then transfer them over to the construction paper).

The younger astronomers just drew a bunch of dots or “stars” randomly on their paper, as my 2 year-old is doing here:

They then drew lines between the stars, connecting the dots, to show the constellation forms as they do in books:

The really fun part was poking holes through each star (dot) with a pin so the light would shine through. We were not as accurate as my Uncle and did not worry about star intensities!

My 3 year-old nephew decided that his constellation was a sea horse and I can really see that! Here are the finished star charts:

And when held up to a window or light, they look like this:


If you joined us for sky this week, please put your link in Mr. Linky and leave a comment so we can find you. If you didn’t, you can read about how to join here.


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:


I hope to see you then!

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