Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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a giveaway for smart people

Heads up! This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

After the school year ended, it didn't take long before I started worrying the kids might not exactly retain everything they'd learned.

Hollow Tree Ventures
"Mom, what's the name of the dog on Scooby Doo?" And so, summer brain rot begins...

So when I heard the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry has a weekly online Summer Brain Games program that's free and prevents summer brain rot (and that they wanted to pay me to talk my kids into trying it), I jumped at the chance. After all, I want my kids to hit the ground running when next school year starts, by which I essentially mean I don't want them still living in my basement when they're 35, eating all my food and asking me what day Saturday Night Live comes on.

So I'm going to tell you about two of our projects, you'll see the inherent awesomeness of the program, and then you can enter to win a Family Four Pack, which includes tickets to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry so you can go there and learn some stuff in person for free!

The first project we did was a balloon race.

We taped balloons to straws and let 'er rip along strings I tied to a tree - in the front yard, because I'm classy like that. This was supposed to teach us about Newton's third law of motion (the idea that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction), which it did, and the kids had a blast. Other things we learned:

  1. the kids will happily shoot balloons at a tree for over an hour
  2. they will do so with almost  no fighting about who won each and every race
  3. bendy straws will get all bent and janky, which makes your balloon racer slow down
  4. when your husband comes outside he'll point out you could've just cut the bendy end off, and you'll shoot him The Killer Glare of Death, but he won't notice because he's too busy winning balloon races
  5. setting your balloon in the grass will pop it (balloons popped by children = 0, balloons popped by me = 5,278,312)
  6. toddlers are terrible at blowing up balloons, but excellent at salivating on balloons

The next project we did was a Rube Goldberg machine. Those are the multi-step machines you can build to do a simple task in roughly a jillion steps that are way more fun than just doing the simple task in the first place. Our simple task was to knock a ball into a cup using three of the six basic machines:

I don't have any pics of this project, because most of them came out blurry or featured an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction, and I don't want things to get weird between us. Suffice it to say, we used stacks of books, dominoes, a paper towel tube, marbles, yarn, a screw (in the form of pilfered parts from a Mousetrap game), and approximately all the Scotch tape in the world to (eventually) meet with success.

The ball did, in fact, make it into the cup, although based on the number of tries it took, I'll say I was glad we did NOT opt to go with the original assignment, which was to pour "your favorite summer drink" into a cup using similar methods. There's not enough bleach in the house for that kind of fruit punch explosion. However, the kids did find the failures infinitely more entertaining than the successes, and they learned from them and improved their design, which is the whole point, after all.

I mean it's the second most important point, after avoiding fruit punch all over all the things.

So, in summary, Brain Games? Awesome, fun, and educational. That's awefuncationalsome. You can't beat that. Just allow more time than you think you'll need - my kids really got into the projects and ended up being entertained much longer than I thought they would. Then later, maybe at dinner time, encourage them to talk about what they did. They were really proud of what they'd accomplished, and explaining the process to someone who wasn't there really helped solidify some of the concepts.

-----The winner has been selected - CONGRATULATIONS to Kim at LetMeStartBy Saying!-----

Up for grabs:  A Family Four Pack (value $76.00) with tix to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (valid through the end of 2013).

To enter (up to two entries per person):
  • Leave me a comment telling me your favorite summer activity to do with kids. And/or...
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave the URL for your tweet in its very own comment here. It's easy, just click this tweet-a-ma-jig:

Winner will be chosen at random on Friday, June 28, 2013, notified by email (if provided, depending on how you choose to comment) and announced in my wrap-up post on June 29. If there's no response from the winner within 24 hours, a different winner will be chosen - sorry, but those tickets aren't going to use themselves! Prize fulfillment is handled by the Museum, on or after July 11, 2013.

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is offering a fun and free online science program called Summer Brain Games. The eight-week program lasts from June 17, 2013-August 12, 2013 and features a weekly experiment or science challenge that can easily be performed at home with kids of all ages. Visit msichicago.org/summerbrain now to register for Summer Brain Games and download your free Summer Brain Games kit. As an added bonus, registering automatically gets you a pass to come to the Museum for free this summer. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
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I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


Nicole Shaw said...

I want to win !!! Tweeted. https://twitter.com/NicoleLeighShaw/status/349576302602354688

fishducky said...

A neat idea, but NOT worth having more kids just to try it out!!

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

No? I'll tell you what - you're more than welcome to come over and help me pick busted balloon fragments out of my grass to get the "been there, done that" feeling! Or - duh - we'll have the kids do it while we supervise* from the porch. *supervise = drink wine

HouseTalkN said...

I tweeted, yo! My favorite summer activity would be to arm wrestle the Ninja for these tix!

Christian at PCPPP said...

Since I live quite far from Chicago I would like to officially withdraw my entry by stating that my least favorite summer activity is car accidents.

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

Duly noted.

Joy @ Comfytown said...

This is great! My kids love to play with their new water table in the backyard. I usually count it as a bath too so its win-win!

Gerard Welling said...

I don't want the tickets. I'm told science is just a bunch of mumbo jumbo anyhow. We all know that Zeus created the universe and that we're all just sitting around waiting to be turned into newts or whatever.

Just kidding. I would want the tickets, but I've already got some. That museum is the stuff.

Kim at Let Me Start By Saying said...

I am so winning and taking the kids there next time we're in Chicago visiting the family. And we're a family of 4 SO THIS IS MADE FOR ME TO WIN.
Here's my (winning) tweet: https://twitter.com/LetMeStart/status/349758372700110850

And you know what I like to do int he summer? Go to refreshingly A/C'd museums with my kids for free. BOOM.

Katie Gruber said...

My favorite summer activity with the kids is riding the carousel at the zoo. Great idea for a contest!

Liv said...

Our favorite is biking on the lakepath with a skyline view!

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

It IS the stuff - can't wait until we go! *starts packing*

Patricia Duncan said...

Favorite summer activity: State Fair!

Kristina C said...

Anything with water!

Jaime Huffman said...

Our favorite summer activity is to go fruit picking. Strawberries, blueberries, you name it, we are there. It is one of the few activities they do without arguing (5 &7 year olds) and we always walk away with full buckets and tummies :)

Amanda Hunter said...

My favorite summer activity to do with kids is working together in the garden.

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