To say that I’m not an outdoors-y type is an understatement. It’s not that I don’t love the outdoors, because I do. I just need it in doses, you know? I love a cottage weekend. I like to paddle around in a canoe. I’m crazy for a bonfire on the beach. But I’m not ever going to be a camper (maybe just a glamper). I don’t even really love eating on a patio. There, I’ve said it. But I live with some big nature lovers and I definitely want to raise kids who want to get out and have adventures, big and small.
This along with Julian’s recent interest in science gave me the idea for this project. It’s not really a craft but it’s a really easy and fun way to talk about science and adventure with your kids. It’s a compass you make with nothing more than a leaf, a sewing needle, a fridge magnet and a bowl of water. In these high tech days it’s pretty fun to show your kids how to navigate without the gps in my smartphone! Even though I understood the principles of this compass I was a bit nervous doing it. Would it work? Would the kids be impressed? And it totally did. The little needle did exactly what it was meant to do and twirled around to point north! Which led to a discussion about what you deduce from knowing which way is north (like, all the other directions), how you could also use shadows to understand direction and time of day. Turns out nature and science are pretty cool.
photos by Maya Visnyei
Plus, sneaky old me got to do it all at our kitchen table! Don’t worry, we’re heading out for all kinds of adventure this summer, both urban and rural. Plus, we’ll get some inspiration for it all with some Netflix movie nights this month. I’m particularly looking forward to finally seeing The Adventures of Tin Tin! But there are so many good adventure-themed movies and shows on Netflix this month I’m sure we’ll indulge in a few more than that.
Here’s What You Need
Large Sewing Needle
A Leaf (as big or bigger than your needle)
Fill your bowl with tap water and set aside.
Hold your magnet in one hand and your needle in the other. Stroke the magnet along the length of the needle 50 times.
Carefully lay the leaf on top of the water. Gently place the needle on the leaf so that none of it hangs over. Now watch! The needle will spin, and make the leaf spin, until it is pointing north. So cool!