Thing on a String: Telephone

You can’t send text messages with it.

You can’t listen to music with it.

You can’t take pictures or video with it.

You can’t even call someone with it.

But if you make it with the right kind of string and paper cups, you’ll probably can get terrific telephone reception.

And you won’t be stuck with a two-year contract, either.


What you need

  • 2 paper or styrofoam cups
  • some string (try knitting yarn)
  • 2 paper clips
  • 1 sharpened pencil to poke holes
  • 2 people

What you do

1. Use the pencil to carefully poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup.

2. Tie one end of the string to the paper clip.

3. Take the other end of the string and thread it through one of the holes from the inside of the cup. Then thread the string through the second cup from the outside. The paper clips keep the string from slipping through.

4. The 2 people stand apart and pull gently on the cups until the string is tight.

5. One person whispers into the cup while the other person listens.

How long can you make the string and still hear each other? Can you talk to your best friend who is standing in another room? Ah, old-fashioned wi-fi!

Dave’s Snowflakes

We’ve had much fun cutting out snowflakes!

Most likely you’ve already heard of Dave’s Snowflakes. I just discovered he has a page of snowflake patterns for kids. Run to your printer, turn it on, and get your scissors ready!

I’m still waiting for snow to fall, you see. Waiting, waiting, waiting…..

Ford car instruments

The most complicated instrument I’ve ever made was that shoebox guitar I made in 3rd grade.

Real instruments made out of real car parts? Nifty!

I got my driver’s license when I was 16 years old.

I wonder: would my parents have approved if I’d wrecked the family car and turned the car parts into lovely instruments? Noooo, I don’t think so.

Mystery Box

Sure, you could hire a professional moving company to move everything for you.

Much more entertaining is when your friends help you move.

Why? Because friends have their own fun ways to organize your stuff. When you arrive at your new place, you’ll spend the next few weeks opening all of those unlabeled boxes, constantly humming, “Mystery Box. Mystery Box. What’s inside the Mystery Box?”

Yep, that’s the song stuck in my head.

Listen My Brother (Alphabet)

If I ever start another blog (gasp!), I might have to devote it to collecting versions of the Alphabet Song.

This version is from 1969.

Would this be on TV in 2010? I don’t know, but I do know you need to teach all of your friends this version and perform it as soon as you can.

Wearing 1960s clothing is optional, feeling the groove is not optional.

NantoVision is *awesome*!!

Pssst! That’s a young Luther Vandross back there in the yellow shirt on the left!!

Valentine’s activities for young learners

I’m not planning on thinking about Valentine’s Day until February.

But if you’re super excited and want to get started *right now* with worksheets and songs and lesson ideas and videos, then I’ll take you over to Super Simple Songs, where there’s a whole pile of worksheets and songs and lesson ideas and videos waiting for you!

Fill your copy machine with lots of paper: you’re going to want it all!

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