Thursday, March 18, 2010

Playing with fire

Today was Activity Day, a monthly cooperative sponsored by our local homeschool group, which offers a variety of classes for the kids. This year, one offering is a class using William Gurstelle's book, "Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices", as a text.

Today was also a beautiful day. Many of the Activity Day classes opted to spend the afternoon outside including the fiber arts class I teach -- I took wool roving and the kids used cardboard to create a resist in order to wet felt small bags. While we were out on the lawn working with the hot soapy water, netting and our pool noodle (more on that another day), the Backyard Ballistics class entertained us with their Cincinnati fire kites.

On the way home, I told DH and DS about the fire kites. As we prepared dinner, DS read the relevant chapter from his copy of Gurstelle's book. As soon as dinner was over, he took an armful of newspaper, a roll of scotch tape and a box of wooden matches outside to try his hand at making fire kites. DH and I followed him. Who wants to clean up the kitchen when one could be playing with fire instead?The first one was a failure due to not getting all four corners lit at the same time. But the next one was a great success.We used a single, full-size sheet of newspaper. Folded each corner in to the middle, starting with opposite corners first. Taped the corners together and tried not to crease the paper while folding. Two were better than one at this. Turned the packet over and lit all four corners at once. This definitely required more than one worker. Stepped back and watched the paper burn till enough hot air was trapped in the fiery packet to lift it off the ground and up, up and away.Then, after the ashy remains fell back to earth, DH and DS ran over and stamped it to be sure there weren't any escaping embers.

Half a Sunday paper later, just as it was getting cold, we grew tired of the game and quit. But at the next family cook-out, DS will be ready with his new parlor trick.

1 comment:

A Brush with Color said...

Very cool. Reminds me of the diet soda and mentos things we used to do as kids as an "experiment." I'll bet he'll be a big hit forever, now that he knows how to do that.