We've put together some of our favorite Kidspace activities and stories for you. They're all on a special Web page, so you can easily call them up, read them, print them out, or e-mail them to your friends.
Take a look. See anything you like? First, log onto the Internet. (Your public library probably has a computer you can use, if you don't have Web access at home.) Now, call up this website: csmonitor.com/summerfun.
We've put a little picture with each story below. To call up the full story, look for the matching picture (called an "icon") on the website, and click on the link next to it. (Links appear in underlined blue-colored type on your screen.)
On the facing page, we've listed some more websites you might like. You can call them up using the listed URL (the Web "address"). But we've also put links to all the pages on csmonitor.com/summerfun. Just call it up and click on the link.
Learn to speak like an international teen. Something that's "cool" is "pure dead brilliant" in Glasgow, Scotland. And check out Paris's "backward slang." Other teen slang is from Australia, Japan, Kenya, China, and more. Notice how much American teen slang has traveled abroad. Yes, there's also a "California teen" list.
Make a gallon of bubble-blowing liquid. All you need is a clean one-gallon container, dishwashing liquid (Joy or blue Dawn work best), and a small amount of glycerine (available in drugstores). You can also learn more about bubbles. (Did you know that soap-bubble film is the thinnest thing you can see with the naked eye?)
Baffle your friends with this simple trick. Have you seen this one already? You ask someone to pick a number between 1 and 9. Then you ask them to subtract, multiply, divide, and add using the number. Finally, they think of an animal and a country that start with the letters corresponding to the numbers. YOU tell them the animal and country they chose! It works almost every time.
Create a mass of "Exploragoo." An elementary-school science teacher figured out how to make this bouncy, stretchy, wiggly glop out of white glue and borax (a laundry-detergent additive). It's simple and fun. She shared her secret widely. This version is from San Francisco's Exploratorium science museum.
Work on your free throws. Here's some good advice and simple drills from Sidney Goldstein, a basketball coach and author. Phil Jackson calls Mr. Goldstein's book "a great resource." (Mr. Jackson, you may recall, coached Michael Jordan and now is head coach of the 2001 NBA champions, the L.A. Lakers.)
Learn a magic trick. Bonaparte, a Boston-area magician, has been performing magic tricks ever since he was a kid. Here's the story of how he learned to be a magician, along with step-by-step instructions for two of his favorite (and simple) tricks: the one-handed knot and the disappearing coin.
Find out about fireflies. Why do they glow? How? Plus, invaluable advice for firefly hunters: When you catch them in jars (don't keep them too long), do NOT punch holes in the jar lids. Fireflies need dampness, and the air holes just dry them out quicker. Put some damp vegetation in the bottom of the jar, too. And don't worry - they have plenty of air.
Build a giant sand sculpture. Here are some tips from an expert on how to build massive sand sculptures. You start with a big pile of sand, then dump water on the top. Now start carving....
Build a bat house. Bats have a bad reputation, but they're very cool and useful, as this story makes clear. They eat lots and lots and lots of insects on summer nights. Try building this simple bat house designed by Texas-based Bat Conservation International. You can put it up next spring when bats migrate north.
Make a flip book. We've provided the pictures; you provide the 3- by-5 cards, glue stick, scissors, and rubber band. You can start with ours and then make your own! Also on this page are instructions on learning to juggle, games to play with others, and how to make a baffling pyramid puzzle out of Ping-Pong balls.
Learn how the Monitor goes together. How do stories and images go from the Mideast (and elsewhere across the United States and around the world) to your mailbox or computer screen? (If you go to this site, be sure to check out the animated sections of the illustration.)
Hear about how the PT Cruiser was designed. If you're a "gearhead" (someone who's into automobiles), you'll enjoy this interview with the man who designed this popular car. You'll also learn about the stages a car design goes through, and what you need to do if you want to be a car designer.
Study insect-eating plants. Why do some plants eat insects, anyway? Do they have to eat them to survive? Learn about the kinds of carnivorous plants. Find out where to buy them and what's involved in planting and taking care of them.
Go fly a kite -indoors. Here are plans and directions for making standard-size (and tiny-size) lightweight kites that you can fly in a large, uncluttered indoor spaces. A gym is ideal.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor