Make a Leak-Proof Bag

Leak Proof (3)

This simple science experiment is sure to produce wide eyes and gasps in everyone from little kids to big grown-ups. Can you really pierce a hole in a bag filled with water, but not produce any leaks? Read on and find out!

First, gather a few sharp pencils, the sharper the better. We gave an extra honing to a few pencils, and set them aside.

Leak Proof (1)

Next, fill a large zip-top plastic bag half way with water, and seal tightly. We did the experiment over the sink just in case.

Leak Proof (2)

I stood Travis up on a stool and told him I could pierce the bag without causing a leak, only half believing it myself.

The pencils slid in surprisingly easily! Bam, three in, and not a drip in sight.

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Travis loved it… and had even more fun pulling the pencils out and watching the fountain that erupts. We had to do the experiment three times it was so much fun.

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Why does it work? It’s all thanks to the power of polymers, long chains of molecules that make up the plastic bag (in this case polyethylene). These molecules seal around the pencils once they are pushed through, preventing any leaks. Remember playing with silly putty as a kid? That’s another example of a polymer. So give your kids a tiny science lesson, and then simply have fun dazzling them. Bonus points if you do this over the floor instead of the sink!

 

Cran-Raspberry Fruit Leather

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I never would have thought to make my own fruit leather at home – those sticky strips always sold near the cash register at the market – until I spotted this recipe in Family Fun magazine. Turns out it’s surprisingly easy, not to mention the recipe will make your home smell deliciously festive as the leather slow-cooks in the oven for 4 full hours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and pour the fruit mixture onto the pan. Spread into an even layer, about 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Bake at 200 degrees F for 4 hours. The center should be set by the end; if not, continue to cook up to 5 hours if needed.
  4. Let cool on the pan, then remove from the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into strips with a pizza cutter, and store in a plastic bag in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

Sponge-Print Wrapping Paper

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Enlist the kids help with gift wrapping this year… not just to wrap up the presents, but to make the wrapping paper first. Not only will they enjoy making this easy DIY gift wrap, but they’ll be so proud when they see gifts presented to loved ones in the paper that they made.

To start, cut sponges into shapes and glue onto old jar lids – the sponge should be cut until about the same size as or smaller than the lid. Simple shapes like triangles and squares are easiest, but get fancy if you’re handy with a paring knife!

Sponge Wrapping Paper (1)

I spread out a leftover roll of craft paper, and Travis immediately set to dipping his sponge stamps into paint…

Sponge Wrapping Paper (5)

…and dotting all over the paper. He liked making “patterns” as he worked.

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Sometimes he spaced the stamps far apart, and sometimes he liked clustering them, so we ended up with a final product that was decidedly his creation.

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We also had fun swirling together blue and white paint to make a light blue.

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Once the paint is completely dry, it’s gift wrapping time!

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What fun wrapping ideas have you used this holiday season? Please share in the comments!