Discover Sweden – How to make Swedish apple pie (gluten free + keto)

This is so easy to prepare as everything goes into the oven at the same time! This is higher in carbs for keto (at 7.5g/net carbs per serve) so it will work for some but not for others but it’s definitely much lower than a traditional apple pie. For those who aren’t on keto, feel free to sub ingredients (there are notes in the recipe).

Ingredients

  • 200g almond flour
  • 100g salted butter
  • 100g erythritol/monkfruit
    • This works 1:1 so you can use 100g sugar if non-keto.
  • 1 egg
  • Lemon Juice (one wedge)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp cardamom, or 1/2 tsp ground ginger, or a 1/4 tsp nutmeg.
  • 1 large green (Granny Smith) apple; equiv. to 250g thinly sliced apple after peeling and coring.
  • 1 small green-skinned winter squash; equiv. to 200g thinly sliced after peeling and coring.

If you’re not on keto, then feel free to use as many apples as you wish! If you are on keto, then you’ll want to use sparingly. You can significantly reduce the carbs/serve by switching to almond flour and a sugar replacement; reduce slightly more by switching to a mix of apple and squash; and reduce further by using a mix of apple and chayote / choko. The accompanying vegetable takes on the flavours of the apple and spices so that it simply tastes like apple!

100% apple = 8.6g carbs/serve; apple + squash = 7.5g carbs/serve; apple + chayote/choko = 6.6g carbs/serve.

Allergies: free from gluten and soy. For dairy free, consider replacing butter with coconut oil or nuttelex.

Directions

  1. Grease your baking dish and preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F.
  2. Prepare your apple and winter squash. It’s best to slice very thinly – especially the squash as it takes longer to cook than the apple.
  3. Place the slices in a mixing bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of the pre-measured sugar, the lemon juice, the cinnamon, and any other spices. Give everything a good tumble until the slices are evenly coated. Layer them in the baking dish.
  4. In the emptied mixing bowl, soften the butter. Stir in the rest of the sugar replacement. Mix in the almond flour and a pinch of salt. Mix in the egg. Tip: this mixing order ensures that the raw egg doesn’t get scrambled into hot butter!
  5. Spread the topping over the apples.
  6. Bake for 40-60 mins.
    • Why the big time variation? From 40 minutes, you want to keep a close eye on when your crust starts to brown. You may find that it cooks quicker than your filling, especially when using squash (and depending on how finely sliced the filling is). If needed, cover the pie with tin foil, reduce heat, and allow the pie to keep simmering while keeping a close eye on it.
  7. Delicious served warm with whipped cream.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Based on 8 servings per recipe; nutritional breakdown is approx:

Serving Size: 1 Serving

Average Quantity
per Serving
Energy1122.4 kJ (268 kcal)
Protein6.3 g
Fat, total23.4 g
– saturated7.6 g
Carbohydrate7.5 g
Dietary Fibre4.3 g

Discover Sweden – how to make Swedish Cinnamon Buns (kanelbullar)

Swedish cinnamon buns differ from their American counterparts in several ways – the inclusion of cardamom, the wonderful looping and knotting to form them, and the simple glaze that traditionally uses Swedish pearl sugar. This is a small batch recipe that I made for family – feel free to double it!

Ingredients

Group 1 – Activating Yeast

  • 1 1/2 tsp surebake yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (or milk)

Group 2 – Making Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tablespoons rice bran oil (or 1/4 cup melted butter)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water

Group 3 – Filling

  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup buttery nuttelex (or butter, or margarine)
  • Few drops vanilla

Group 4 – Glaze (optional but traditional)

  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp water + Swedish Pearl Sugar to decorate.

Allergy: free from dairy*, soy, nuts, egg*.

Note: We differed from traditional recipes by not using dairy or egg but I have included these in the recipe notes so that families can make their own choices.

Directions

  1. Combine Group 1 (yeast, sugar, warm water) in a bowl. Wait about 10 minutes until frothy and giving a yeasty smell (indicating that the yeast has activated). In winter, I use a metal bowl and sit it in a sink of hot water.
  2. Add Group 2 to Group 1. Into the bowl, add the flour, cardamom, salt, rice bran oil, and sugar. Combine. Add the 3 Tbsp of water. You will now be able to use fingers to mould into dough.
  3. Fold and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Cover and place in a warm place until doubled in size. Tip: in winter, I do some kneading for the share joy of it and then place in the breadmaker on a dough setting!
  4. Use Group 3 to make the filling. Combine brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, nuttelex/butter, and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  5. Folding and shaping:
    • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and form it into a large rectangle. Evenly spread the filling over it.
    • Lift the top edge of the dough and fold the top 1/3 down to the middle; lift the bottom edge of the dough and lift up to the middle.
    • Roll the dough again into a large rectangle.
    • Cut the dough into 6 strips.
    • Pick up a strip, stretch and twist lightly, loop twice around the three middle fingers of your other hand, then once over the loop, and coil with the bottom tucked in.
  6. Place the knotted cinnamon buns onto a baking sheet and place in a warm place. Allow them time to rise until almost doubled in size.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180’C / 350’F.
  8. While the oven is heating, make up the egg wash if desired. Whisk the egg and water, then lightly brush over the scrolls. Sprinkle with crunchy Swedish pearl sugar.
  9. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information

Based on 6 servings.

Average Quantity
per Serving
Energy1692.7 kJ (404kcal)
Protein4.8 g
Fat, total17.9 g
– saturated4.1 g
Carbohydrate55.2 g
– sugars24.1 g

Discover Sweden – A KiwiCo Review: Atlas Crate for 6-11 Year Olds (Deluxe Box)

What is in the Sweden crate?

You begin by opening your travel mail from Milo and Anya to find out about their latest travel adventures! Miss 6 enjoys seeing all the photos in Sweden.

There is a passport sticker to add to our Adventure Passport and various cards about Sweden to add to it as well. These range from a country map and cultural information, to activity cards with things to do. Learn: a few words in Swedish, about Thor and Norse mythology, about the Vasa, and about some Swedish foods and customs. There are craft activity ideas for making your own ice hotel or Viking longship.

Want some additional learning ideas?

Some of the books we enjoyed included:

We also enjoyed watching videos to learn more about:

Make your own Tomte

For our craft, we got to make two tomte. These Scandanavian gnomes (also known as nisse in Norway) are protectors of farms and homes. They respect hard work, politeness, and treating animals well; in families where they see these behaviours, they may reward them by helping around the homestead at night while the family are asleep. For those offended by lazy farmers, they may play pranks or make mischief to remind them to take better care of their livestock and belongings. At Christmas, it is traditional to put out risgrynsgröt for the tomte – a special rice porridge generally topped with a knob of luxurious butter.

Learn to play Kubb

Kubb is traditionally played outside on level grass (though it can be played on sand, snow, or dirt). We set up and played a miniature version inside. We marked out boundaries with painter’s tape (easily removed from carpet) and after an initial learning curve as we adjusted to the game, we have had many enjoyable matches!

HOW DO I ORDER ATLAS CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Atlas Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Atlas Crate kits is that they provide a colourful and imaginative way of exploring the world through hands-on activities. I like that they use a mix of STEM and art to explore different concepts and ideas. Their products are also very well made, with clear instructions, and kids feel a real sense of pride in what they accomplish with each box.

There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Other families will choose to sign up for a longer period (like a 3, 6, or 12 month cycle).

WHAT IS IN AN ATLAS CRATE?

Each Atlas Crate comes with a special airmail envelope from Anya the Cricket and Milo the Sandpiper revealing where they’ve been on their latest adventure. There is a special passport sticker for your child’s Atlas Adventure Book plus seven new pages to add about a new country (highlighting geography, customs, landmarks, history, and foods).

There are supplies for two activities (which might be a mix of art, STEM, and games) as well as suggestions for more DIY activities to try at home – from things to make, to things to bake!

If you choose the Deluxe option, then you will also receive a book that helps you explore that month’s destination. This upgrade is an additional USD$9.95 (approx. $15 NZD) and can impact shipping costs as well. Since we’re homeschooling, I decided that we’d try the Deluxe option for 6 months to see how useful we find it.

Interested in more homeschool box reviews?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

#7 Discover Nepal

#8 Discover Guatemala

#9 Discover Greece

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body

#7 The Science of Tension

#8 All about Surface Tension

#9 Learn about Stars and Constellations

KiwiCo Review: Kiwi Crate for 5-8 year olds – Maps and Treasure Chests!

WHAT IS IN THE TREASURE HUNT BOX?

What do Treasure Hunts have to do with maths you ask? Maps and co-ordinates are a fun part of maths! The Explore magazine teaches kids how to read a map (including what a compass rose is and how to read a legend). They then get to have a go at making their own!

Kiwi Crate’s Treasure Hunt box comes with materials for three crafts:

DESIGN AND MAKE A TREASURE CHEST

Clear instructions and no wood glue required made this a delightfully age appropriate build! The treasure chest is not only nicely on theme for the topic but has also proved popular since for open-ended play. I will note that we had no success picking the lock so decided to set it aside before the keys inevitably got lost.

DESIGN AND EMBOSS GOLDEN COINS

Every treasure chest needs treasure! This was a fun open-choice activity that allows kids to design each face of three coins. There are a range of numbers and kiwis provided. Kids place their choices on the coins, add a golden sticker, and carefully smooth them until the bas-relief is visible.

MAKE YOUR OWN TREASURE MAP

There are lots of different paper options provided for making your own maps. a good place to start is to map a room / house / garden and see if someone can find where the treasure chest has been hidden. Another good map to make is how to walk or drive to some place that you go often like school, a park, or a library.

More Mapping Activities

National Geographic have lots of mapping activities that can be done at home! They provide the teaching ideas, images, and PDFs that can be downloaded. Check out:

We are Teachers have lots of hands-on ideas with photographic inspiration: check them out here.

Some fun boardgames that teach reading grid co-ordinates include Peaceable Kingdom’s Race to the Treasure and the classic game Battleships.

HOW DO I ORDER KIWI CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Kiwi Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Kiwi Crate kits is that they use a combination of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics to explore a concept or idea. There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Mind you, this only works if you spot the package on the door-step first – children become quite adept at recognising the green Kiwi Crate box and screaming with delight at it’s arrival!

The boxes are sent randomly so there’s no way to know what will come in the future; however, you can log-in to your account at the start of each month to see what box has been selected. Your box history is kept which means that even if you cancel and then pick-up again the following year they can make sure that you aren’t sent repeats of boxes.

WHAT IS IN A KIWI CRATE?

The Kiwi Crate is aimed at ages 5-8 years. It comes with a copy of the Explore magazine which opens with a fun comic about Steve the Kiwi and his friends. [As a side note, these are made by an American company despite the use of our New Zealand native bird]. These comics are really approachable for younger kids and a great way of exploring the concepts being introduced in a relateable manner.

The Explore magazine provides a range of information on the topic, it might include some simple games or tricks to try at home, and provide ideas for additional crafts / activities using simple materials. It also has a sticker [unique to each box theme] to put on your Kiwi Crate chart.

The box also includes an instruction manual and the materials that you need to build the main craft. Generally, there are two activities to do – one that is more art related, and one that is more mechanical engineering. What makes the kits special, is how well crafted the engineering components are. They really are designed for the intended age group so that they can either build themselves or help assist an adult. There are handy visual images and checkpoints to make sure that things are aligned correctly. There is no super-bonding-fingers-together wood glue to use with these projects (which makes them great for highly sensory children); instead parts come with double sided tape finely engineered on so that you just need to remove the backing strip of paper.

Interested in more homeschool box reviews?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

#7 Discover Nepal

#8 Discover Guatemala

#9 Discover Greece

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body

#7 The Science of Tension

#8 All about Surface Tension

#9 Learn about Stars and Constellations

How to make linseed cereal (keto + gluten free)

I sometimes make myself chia coconut pudding for breakfast but my go to (because it is so quick to make) is definitely linseed as a cereal. It has fiber, protein, omega-3, it’s gluten free, and it’s keto friendly.

Ingredients

  • 30g ground linseed
  • 200ml coconut milk

Allergies: free from gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts.

Directions

  1. Mix well.
  2. Allow to rest on bench or in fridge for about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir well.

The linseed will soften as it absorbs the liquid. Flavourings and garnishings come back to diet and lifestyle preferences. On keto, consider berries, coconut chips, vanilla, or Queen Maple sugar free syrup. The creamy taste of the coconut milk also pairs well with the sharper taste of adding a dollop of natural yoghurt.

Not on keto, consider adding sliced banana, fresh mango, berries, or honey.

Tip: Instead of coconut milk, you can stir directly into a natural low-carb yoghurt like De Winkl.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Based on 1 serving with coconut milk

Average Quantity
per Serving
Energy2184 kJ (522kcal)
Protein7.2 g
Fat, total50.6 g
– saturated25.8 g
Carbohydrate5.1 g
– sugars3.1 g
Dietary Fibre8.2 g

Based on 1 serving with De Winkl natural yoghurt

Average Quantity
per Serving
Energy 1016.7 kJ (243kcal)
Protein16.7 g
Fat, total15.4 g
– saturated2.7 g
Carbohydrate2.1 g
– sugars2.1 g
Dietary Fibre8.2 g
Calcium386.5 mg

How to make chia pudding (gluten free + keto)

After making Kenyan pancakes (vibibi) for the family, I had leftover coconut milk and wanted to make something for myself. Chia seeds have lots of nutritional benefits and make a super easy gluten free and keto breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 80g chia seeds
  • 400ml coconut milk

Allergies: free from gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts.

Directions

  1. Shake your tin of coconut milk before opening so that the cream has blended in.
  2. You can make this in one big dish, or put 20g chia seeds and 100ml coconut milk in each smaller bowl / glass / container. Air-tight containers are best if not eating immediately.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Place in fridge (preferably overnight); check on it a few times and stir.

It is that easy. The chia seeds will absorb the liquid and plump up. Flavourings and garnishings come back to diet and lifestyle preferences. On keto, consider berries, coconut chips, vanilla, or Queen Maple sugar free syrup. The creamy taste of the coconut milk also pairs well with the sharper taste of adding a dollop of natural yoghurt.

Not on keto, consider adding sliced banana, fresh mango, berries, honey, or granola.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Based on 4 servings.

Average Quantity
per Serving
Energy1163.6 kJ (278 kcal)
Protein4.1 g
Fat, total25.1 g
– saturated13.1 g
Carbohydrate3.9 g
Dietary Fibre6.9 g

Discover Kenya – How to make vibibi (gluten free pancakes)

Vibibi are a popular gluten free pancake in East Africa made using rice and coconut milk. Typically, these are made by soaking rice overnight and then blending to a smooth paste with the coconut milk but they can also be made with rice flour (as per this recipe). They are often served sweet but the sugar in the recipe can be reduced in favour of serving with fresh fruit like mango instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp active yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 200 – 250 ml coconut milk
  • Optional: Nutmeg or vanilla can be added for a different flavour.

Allergies: free from gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nuts.

Note: You can choose to add an egg to the recipe (it is optional).

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, place the yeast, water, and 1 tsp sugar. Wait 5-10 minutes until it begins to foam and release a yeasty scent. Tip: In cooler weather, this will take longer. You may need to place the bowl in a hot water cupboard, or sit the mixing bowl in a little warm water.
  2. Mix in the rest of the sugar, the rice flour, and cardamom.
  3. Mix in the coconut milk until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Cover the mixing bowl and place in a warm spot. Allow to ferment for 2-3 hours.
  5. Cooking: Heat a frying pan with a little oil. Ladle batter into the pan. As it cooks, tiny bubbles will appear in the pancake. After about a minute (once golden brown on the bottom), flip, and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side. Repeat for each pancake (adding a little oil to the pan for each one).
  6. Serve with fresh fruit, or yoghurt, or a cup of coffee.

Discover Kenya – How to make and play Mancala

Mancala is a popular boardgame that has been played for hundreds of years in many parts of Africa; in East Africa the game is often referred to as ‘Bao’. We decided to make our own board as part of our Kenya study. There are many variants but essentially this is a ‘move and capture’ game where you want to end up with more tokens than your opponent.

Mancala boards can range from digging pits in the earth, to simple wooden boards, to stunningly carved and engraved affairs using wood or tin. They are also easy to make at home with a few simple materials!

How to make a Mancala board

Materials

  • 12-hole egg carton
  • Scissors, tape / glue.
  • Optional: paint
  • 48 tokens.

The great thing about making your own Mancala board is that you can customise and decorate it; Miss 6 chose to paint ours a vibrant pink and add some lizard spectators. The tokens can be whatever you want; aim for around small marble size. This home-made game board is great for practising fine motor skills and pincer movements!

  • scoop out and dry seeds from pumpkin or butternut
  • small river stones
  • small sea shells
  • marbles
  • beads

Directions

  1. Remove the lid of the egg carton.
  2. Optional: Paint your egg carton and allow it to completely dry.
  3. Cut the lid in half. Attach one half at each end using tape and/or glue. These create a long ‘mancala’ for each player to place their captured pieces.

How to play Mancala

There are many variants to Mancala; this is the version that has worked best for us:

  • Set up the gameboard by dropping four tokens (or ‘seeds’) into each ‘hole’ / ‘pit’. The six pits closest to your Mancala are controlled by you; the further six pits and Mancala are controlled by your opponent.
  • The player who begins chooses one of their ‘pits’ and picks up all of the tokens in it. They then proceed in an anti-clockwise direction and drop a token in each pit as they move forward. They do not drop a token in their opponent’s mancala. They do drop a token in their own Mancala. We like to think of this as sowing seeds.
  • If their turn finishes by dropping a token in their own Mancala, they get another turn. Players can use this to their advantage and may strategically repeat it several times before play passes.
  • If their turn finishes by dropping a seed in an opponent’s empty ‘pit’, they capture (‘harvest’) the token they just dropped and all the tokens in the ‘pit’ opposite. They place the tokens in their Mancala; then play passes to their opponent.
  • If their turn finishes by dropping a token in one of their own pits, or an opponent’s pit that contains tokens, then play passes.
  • The game ends when one player cannot move. Each player then collects (‘harvests’) all the tokens (‘seeds’) in their six pits (or ‘field’) and moves them to their Mancala. Players may strategically anticipate this end game result in how they move their pieces.
  • Players count the tokens in their Mancala at game’s end. Highest score wins.

Discover Kenya – A KiwiCo Review: Atlas Crate for 6-11 Year Olds (Deluxe Box)

What is in the Kenya crate?

You begin by opening your travel mail from Milo and Anya to find out about their latest travel adventures! Miss 6 enjoys seeing all the photos in Kenya.

There is a passport sticker to add to our Adventure Passport and various cards about Kenya to add to it as well. These range from a country map and cultural information, to activity cards with things to do. Learn: some words in Swahili, about Amboseli National Park, the Maasai people, Nairobi’s colourful matutu buses, the soda lakes which create a sea of pink with millions of flamingos, and the many beautiful landscapes that Kenya offers.

Some of the books we enjoyed included:

Want some additional learning ideas?

Make your own binoculars

Our first craft was building binoculars with real curved lenses; paper tubes allow some sliding movement to help find the focal point. These also come with some paper African animals.

These were easy to build and work well enough to talk about the science being demonstrated. Miss 6 felt frustrated by the visual clarity but it’s a good opportunity to gauge interest before buying basic child binoculars.

Make your own beaded wristband

In the past, Maasai women made beaded jewellery using seeds and dried grasses dyed in different colours. A complicated history means these are now usually glass or plastic. The jewellery can have special meaning based on its colours, designs, and intended use. For this project, some simple information is given on what colours can signify. Children then have creative freedom to create their own pattern and design.

HOW DO I ORDER ATLAS CRATE?

This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!

If you would like to try Atlas Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.

What I like about the Atlas Crate kits is that they provide a colourful and imaginative way of exploring the world through hands-on activities. I like that they use a mix of STEM and art to explore different concepts and ideas. Their products are also very well made, with clear instructions, and kids feel a real sense of pride in what they accomplish with each box.

There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Other families will choose to sign up for a longer period (like a 3, 6, or 12 month cycle).

WHAT IS IN AN ATLAS CRATE?

Each Atlas Crate comes with a special airmail envelope from Anya the Cricket and Milo the Sandpiper revealing where they’ve been on their latest adventure. There is a special passport sticker for your child’s Atlas Adventure Book plus seven new pages to add about a new country (highlighting geography, customs, landmarks, history, and foods).

There are supplies for two activities (which might be a mix of art, STEM, and games) as well as suggestions for more DIY activities to try at home – from things to make, to things to bake!

If you choose the Deluxe option, then you will also receive a book that helps you explore that month’s destination. This upgrade is an additional USD$9.95 (approx. $15 NZD) and can impact shipping costs as well. Since we’re homeschooling, I decided that we’d try the Deluxe option for 6 months to see how useful we find it.

Interested in more homeschool box reviews?

Discover the World with ATLAS Crate

#1 Introducing the World

#2 Discover Japan

#3 Discover France

#4 Discover Madagascar

#5 Discover Colombia

#6 Discover England

#7 Discover Nepal

#8 Discover Guatemala

#9 Discover Greece

Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate

#1 Arcade Box (and the Claw!)

#2 The Amazing Animation Box (make your own 19th century movie with a Zoetrope!)

#3 The Mechanical Sweeper Box (make your own baleen whale!)

#4 The Disc Launchers Box (play games with physics!)

#5 Kaleidoscope Puzzles (explore symmetry and mirrors!)

#6 The Human Body

#7 The Science of Tension

#8 All about Surface Tension

#9 Learn about Stars and Constellations

#10 Learn about Time

#11 Learn about Mirrors and create Illusions

STEM: Amaze your friends with these cool magic tricks!

Magic with science: Static Electricity

These are a few fun experiments that you can amaze your friends with that only require a few household items and are based around two things: a balloon and static electricity.

When we rub a balloon on the right kind of surface (like a wool jumper), it goes from being neutral to building up a negative charge. This can then be used to manipulate electrons on other surfaces by repelling negative electrons and drawing positive electrons. More importantly, this can look really, really cool!

Want to see the science behind it? Check out this cool interactive digital experiment.

TIP: The science behind this magic trick is impacted by the weather, so be sure to perform when the air is dry!

Materials

  • Balloon
  • Pencil
  • Salt
  • Scrap paper

Tip: We found plain balloons worked best. Thicker balloons designed for helium, or heavily patterned ones didn’t seem to build up a charge.

Directions

  1. Blow up a balloon and tie it off.
  2. Rub the balloon repeatedly. You may need to experiment with different surfaces such as hair, woollen clothes, jumpers, carpet; (conductive materials will give up their electrons more readily). You may need to experiment with how long it takes to build up a charge; note that the charge will only build up on the side that is rubbed.
  3. Experiment away!

Dancing Salt: Place a pile of fine table salt on a bench and hold a charged balloon above it. Watch the salt leap up and cling to the balloon!

Magic Pencil: Move a pencil without touching it! Balance a wooden pencil on top of a glass or bottle. Hold the charged balloon nearby and watch the pencil roll.

Shifting paper: Make a pile of paper (ripped into small squares) and hold the charged balloon nearby. Watch the paper shift (and hopefully leap up to the balloon!).

Sticky walls: Charge the balloon and then try sticking it to the wall or curtain.