Mad Science Virtual STL Summer Camps!!!

It’s that time of year again, when schools are out and summer starts peeking it’s head out from behind the Arch. With school ending this year in a dramatic fashion all across the region, I have started to see exciting new opportunities pop up for kids to still have fun and participate in fun and engaging programs from the safety of their living rooms.

This summer your children can participate in some very exciting virtual summer camps provided by Mad Science STL!

During the month of June Mad Science STL is offering 4 different virtual summer camps. The camps run 3 hours each day for 5 days. A total of 1-1.5 hours is spent on an active Zoom call, but that time is not consecutive.

The time on zoom call will be spent watching experiments, learning about different science concepts, listening to instructions, and discussing what your children think and what they’ve learned.

The time off the zoom call is spent doing the activities and experiments. The majority of materials are provided by Mad Science, parents can choose to either pick up materials from our office or have them delivered/mailed for $7.50! A bargain if you ask me!!!

Other materials parents will need to provide are fairly commonplace materials such as a cup, a book, or a piece of paper. While campers are working on their activities, the Mad Scientist will be available to chat and provide clarification as needed.

Mad Science STL is offering 4 different Virtual Camps for the Month of June. Space Alien Traveler, Rocketry, and Secret Agent Lab are open to rising K-5th graders. Our 4th camp is Mad Inventors and is open to rising 2nd-5th grades.

For most campers, they should be able to participate independently, but for Rocketry, Kindergarteners and 1st graders will need help from a parent or older sibling. 

A little more about the different camps…

Space Alien Travelers June 1st-5th: Take on the role of a space alien visiting earth for the first time. Find out about how earth’s sports work. Explore the animals and nature on earth. Learn how humans communicate with secret messages. Discover how earthlings can protect their planet. Finally, it’s time to take off into space to return home as we explore space!

In this camp, campers will explore nature, physics, space, and secret messages. All of the experiments and activities will relate back to the campers being Aliens, exploring the mysteries of Earth.

A young mad scientist waiting to see what happens!

Rocketry Camp: June 8th-12th Your child’s in for an action-packed week focused entirely on rockets and the physics of rocket flight! After learning the model rocket safety code, campers will build different types of rockets and watch exciting rocket launches. We recommend this camp for children entering 2nd – 5th grade; however, children entering kindergarten and 1st grade will enjoy it as well with a little more help from a grownup at home. Note: If you wish to for your child to launch their own rockets (with adult supervision), you will need to purchase a launch kit from an online source or hobby shop. All fueled launches during camp will be virtual.

Campers will learn about different parts of rockets. They’ll also learn about NASA and how launched rockets are recovered. (K-1 campers will need help from a parent or older sibling)

Secret Agent Lab June 15th-19th: Ever dream of becoming a secret agent? We’ll start with the basics: Campers will get their very own spy glasses! Step into the shoes of a detective as you uncover the science involved in evidence gathering and analysis! Figure out the science of forensics in a hands-on look at crime scenes! Become a super spy and learn clever ways of performing tasks as we take a hands-on investigation of the science that spies use!

Campers will create secret message, find clues, gather evidence, and learn all about spy technology.

Mad Inventors June 22nd-26th: Creative Contraption Warning! This is a camp designed by you–the Inventor! Each day you’ll be given a series of challenges which must be overcome using basic materials, simple machines, tips from the world of famous inventors, and the most important thing of all–your mind. With a little bit of ingenuity, you’ll construct catapults and forts and then lay siege, fabricate a winning design and assemble a working light saber. While Thomas Edison said invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, this camp is 100% fun!

Campers will create duct tape castles to defend, explore hovercrafts, and learn about all different types of flight. This camp is full of creativity!

Be sure to sign up today with Mad Science STL as spaces are filling up quickly! Check out their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere for more info and to see some amazing photos, projects, and interviews!

Life Skills & Gaming: How To Teach Your Kids Both

Did you know that many games that are on the shelves in the stores are designed to teach valuable life skills? For example, children can learn patience from Monopoly and Risk – playing the long game teaches them strategy! They can gain excellent dexterity and problem-solving from video games and they can learn so much about the language in which they speak when they do crossword puzzles and more.

As parents, we want to teach our children as much as possible. We look to buy here when it comes to finding the best puzzles for our children to do to pass the time and help them with their general knowledge. The key is in knowing how you can tie in a lesson about life skills into the games that they are playing. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the ways you can teach your children both.

Four People Playing Dominoes

Image Source: Pexels

  1. First, you need to choose the right game. If you want to teach your children about money management, pick games like Monopoly and Pay Day so that they can learn how they can “win” as much money and property as possible as they play. When you see them achieving the end goal of saving money, start a home tuck shop so that you can teach them how to manage the real thing! 
  2. Tie the games that you choose into your child’s interests. Children will be far more interested in playing games with you if they are interested in the subject involved. Games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, for example, taps into their interest in theme parks and offers them the chance to be creative.
  3. Most of the time, puzzles and jigsaws are the first games that children are given. They are taught to move from the outside in, building the puzzle as they see fit to replicate the picture on the outside. If you ensure that your child can see the image they are copying, they’ll be able to build a picture of their own life – puzzles teach them to dream!
  4. Problem-solving is a big deal in life, and the problems that your child solves while they are moving through a variety of board games and role-playing games will help them to think quickly and analytically in life, too. 
  5. Word games are perfect for helping your children to learn to spell, as well as helping them to learn how to speak correctly. Grammar is a big deal, and the spellings that your children will have to learn as they get older will ensure that they are ahead of the game at school.
  6. There are so many different types of games out there, but when you teach your children how to play board games like chess and draughts, you are able to teach them how to be skillful and competitive. This will offer them plenty of practice at how to solve problems and think fast and strategically in life, too. 
  7. Lastly, gaming offers your children the chance to have FUN. Games are for those of all ages, of course, but childhood is where the fun begins 

3 Fun Video Games To Play With Your Kids

Source (CC0 License)

Those of you that are regulars on my blog will know how I feel about video games and gaming. I think they generally get a bad rep from lots of parents, usually because people don’t seem to understand the concept of gaming or how beneficial it can potentially be. 

So, I think it’s a good idea to encourage your kids to game – as long as they do so responsibly. It can be a very healthy hobby, and it’s also a chance for you to get closer to your kids. There are loads of enjoyable video games that you and your children can play together. Some of these are unique to the video game world, while others bring classic board games to life. If you’re looking to pass the time at home, here are the best games to try:

Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games

Mario and Sonic have teamed up for multiple games celebrating the various Olympics over the years. If you have a Nintendo Switch, then this is an excellent game to buy for the whole family to enjoy. You and your kids can compete against one another in a series of Olympic sports using popular characters from the Mario and Sonic universes. It’s a fairly active game as well, and can get wildly competitive! All ages can enjoy it, and it could be worth buying a Switch for this game alone. 

Scrabble

Yes, the classic board game has made it to the video game real on both Xbox and Playstation. The fun thing about this game is that it encourages your kids to practice their spelling and to learn new words. If they struggle, then you can easily use a word finder tool online to help them out. What I love most about Scrabble on the video game platform is that your kids are way more likely to play it than the original board game! It just seems much cooler to them. Plus, there are some extra features to keep everyone entertained as well. 

Overcooked

Lastly, we have a wonderful cooking-based game that the whole family will fall in love with. I’ve seen parents who have never cared for video games suddenly become engrossed in this one! The premise of Overcooked is easy to understand – you’re in a kitchen and you have to fulfill all the food orders. The instructions and controls are simple for children under 8 to follow, so everyone can get involved. It can get really frantic and exceptionally entertaining. It’s available across multiple platforms, but the Nintendo Switch version might be the best because you can use motion controls and get more people involved. 

There you have it: three excellent family games for you and your kids to play. I’ve linked videos to all the gameplay trailers, so you can see more about the games themselves. The moral of the story is that gaming can be a brilliant family activity. Instead of viewing video games as something that pushes the family apart, look at them as a hobby that can bring you all together!

What To Do When The Kids Start Moaning That The Internet Won’t Work

There comes a time in every dad’s life when the kids start bleating that the internet won’t work. For those of us old enough to remember a time before the world wide web, it’s not such a big deal. But for kids raised on zeroes and ones, it can be a traumatic experience to lose contact with the outside world, especially if you’re on lockdown

Pixabay – CC0 License

The internet can go out of action for all kinds of reasons. And for some of them, you need to be some kind of network engineer or Ph.D. to figure them out

Others, though, are easy to solve. Here’s what to do when the internet doesn’t work for your kids. 

Check Whether You Can Solve The Problem

Most problems with your internet service occur because of factors within the home itself, but not always. Sometimes there’s an issue with the exchange or work on the line. In that case, there’s nothing you can do. 

Go to your router and check whether the “internet” light is illuminated. If it is, then it means that you still have internet service to your home and that the problem is under your control. 

Change Channel Settings In The Router Settings

Channels are bandwidths that your devices use to communicate with your router. Each device connects via a specific channel, preventing annoying cross-talk. 

Internet connections, however, can drop if too many devices try to use the same channel at the same time. It is vital, therefore, that you create different channels for each of them. You should be able to find this in the device settings. The password for administrator access should be on the router itself. 

Get A Range Extender

Pixabay – CC0 License

Sometimes, WiFi can cut out because the signal isn’t powerful enough, especially if your kids try to watch the internet in the garden. Take a look at a WiFi extender list and find a device that will provide enough range for your property. 

Most routers will send out a signal about 20 meters before the quality begins to degrade. WiFi extenders pick up the signal from your router and then pump it out around the house further. The result is a far larger coverage area – perfect for providing internet access in the summer house. 

See If The Problem Is To Do With The Wireless Signal Itself

Another way to diagnose internet problems is to see whether it is a problem with the wireless signal or network settings. 

Instead of trying to connect to the router remotely, use an ethernet cable – the thing that looks a bit like a phone cable. Whack it in a compatible device and then connect it directly to the router. 

If the computer can connect to the internet, then you know that you have access, in principle. But if the wireless isn’t working, then it could be for a host of reasons. Try to update the driver software to ensure that you installed it correctly. Also, try resetting your router and re-entering the password, just in case there is a firmware problem.