Today at Crayons

Aurora Australis or Aurora Borealis?

16 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are learning about the wonders of Auroras and have discovered that the Aurora Borealis is the name for a natural light display, also known as an Aurora and the Aurora Australis is the southern counterpart.    Due to a recent series of solar flares there have been some beautiful Auroras in the northern hemisphere.

Captain Cook recorded seeing the Aurora Australis as far north as Timor on this day in 1770 and whilst it is rare to see the phenomenon so far north, that September there was considerable solar activity.

Caused by solar wind interacting with the earth's magnetosphere, Auroras are visible to the naked eye and are extraordinary in their beauty.


The above image of an Aurora Australis, recorded by the ABC in 2012 in Tasmania, is indicative of this remarkable phenomenon.

September And December!

15 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we have discovered an odd link between September and December!    

But first of all, a little etymology for the those interested in languages.   The word September originated from the Latin word septum, meaning "seven", and was originally the seventh of ten months on the oldest known Roman calendar.   The month of March, originally Martius in latin, was the first month of the year until perhaps as late as 153 BC.   After the Calendar reform, when the months of January and February were added, September became the ninth month but retained its name.

One of the little known quirky things about this month is that September begins on the same day of the week as December - every year.   There are 91 days separating September and December and, as 91 is a multiple of seven and there are seven days in the week, all the dates will fall on the same week day.   That means for example, as today is Monday the 15th, then December the 15th will also fall on a Monday.

So, during this month, if you are making on-the-go plans for December and the Christmas season you can be confident, without a calendar, of the day and date you are planning :-)

Did you know that Crayons has an Early Bird Christmas Collection and Santa's Warehouse offer for this Christmas?

Sunday Fun - Spring Cleaning!

14 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are inspired by this sunny morning to get in and do some Spring Cleaning :-)   Not quite sure where this inspiration comes from - maybe the sunrise starting to move around to the Eastern horizon with the promise of Summer on the way, might be the warmer breeze or the sun rising earlier?    

Our Sunday Fun today is toy Spring Cleaning and whilst it may sound like a chore it can actually be fun and result in some donations to the Charity of your choice.   Children's activities can often be seasonal so this is also a great time to pack away rainy day boardgames, puzzles and jigsaws etc.

Children's interests can move so quickly and at certain ages they do start to leave some things behind.    Be it a stacking set of blocks, a bug catcher that is getting dusty or simply a box full of little doll dresses that no longer fit any dolls - the odds and sods that are still in good condition but just seem to be moved around the room and not played with.    These, along with any outgrown books, are perfect for bundling into a bag and dropping off to your local Salvation Army, Vinnies or favourite charity shop (preferably in business hours).

This gives other children the opportunity of playing with great toys and, as shown in the much loved film Toy Story, pre loved toys hate to be left behind or thrown away and are happy in new homes :-)

The informative site Leapfrog also has some great tips on Eco-friendly spring cleaning and including a child's help.



How to make it fun?   If you have a few hours then sorting by one colour at a time is a great way to start and allowing your child to choose the colours gets their imaginations going - especially if they have to think of another thing that has that colour e.g red = tomato etc.   Sorting books into a rainbow of colours can be fun too if space allows.

Curiously, Spring Cleaning has also proven to be a great time to reassure a young child that there really is nothing under the bed, except toys, shoes and odd socks.   Ditto any other part of the room that holds shadows, and therefore "monsters", at night. 

Sunday Fun outdoors might include tidying up sandpits, dusting off beach toys, cobwebbing a cubby and anything generally to help prepare for the delightful and warmer days to come :-)

International Chocolate Day!

13 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are enjoying the thought that this is International Chocolate Day!     The notion of an actual International Chocolate Day is rather quaint given that at Crayons ~ most days are Chocolate Days :-)

This day coincides with the birthday of the American chocolate manufacturer Milton S. Hershey who, after two chocolate business failures in the 1880's, persisted with his dream and developed a caramel recipe that became the basis for an international confectionary success.

Happily, to celebrate this day there are some delightful chocolatey things on the Pinterest International Chocolate Day site and some extraordinary combinations such as chocolate nachos and pumpkin pie dip.  

It would be a rare Australian household that does not have some form of chocolate, cocao or cacao tucked in a pantry or hidden away :-)

Happy International Chocolate Day!







Happy Birthday To The Microchip!

12 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we celebrating this day in 1958 when Jack Kilby first demonstrated the Integrated Circuit he had designed.    This extraordinary inventor, who was to receive the Nobel Prize for physics in 2000, also invented the handheld calculator and thermal printer.

The invention of the integrated circuit, which is, simply, " a set of electronic circuits on one small plate ("chip") of semiconductor material, normally siliconhas without question revolutionised the world of technology.    



Later, in early 1959, the research of Robert Noyce improved some practical problems that were unresolved in Jack Kilby's design - and the rest is technological history that advanced in leaps and bounds  :-)

Crayons has an Electonics Collection with lots of experiments that young inventors may enjoy!


P.s Loved the wit on display by McCains!


Robots! Robots! Robots!

10 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are so excited to be counting down the hours to Robots! when the ABC Splash team explore the reality of Robots!   So cool!!

At 2 pm, along with children all around the country, we will be joining "Kayne Tremills as ABC Splash Live comes face to face with real robots!     Meet droids and daleks, soccer-playing robots and police bomb-disposal robots.    See amazing robots in action and imagine what robots will do in the future.    Questions are open now - this is your show - so ask us anything you want to know about robots and robotics! #ABCSplashLive"

At the site their are some brilliant questions submitted by students and our favourite is from a student in Lithgow whose pseudonym is "Can robots melt people???" :-)    Perhaps the best question is the one most liked so far and comes from Olivia - "Can Robots be made out of recycled materials?"




Crayons' Robot Collection has excellent Robot activities and kits that also includes the DIY Smart Robot!   For young children Crayons has the fun Makedo Robot Faces Kit, on sale at only $5.95.   Our popular mechanical robot,  Fridge Rover is only $6.95 and we progress through a variety of basic kits, robotic dinosaurs, scientific toy robots and on up to the exceptional Lego Mindstorm Robots.

Spring Perigee SuperMoon!

09 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Tonight at Crayons we are waiting patiently and oh so glad there are no clouds about us so we'll be able to observe tonight's Supermoon!    

The Moon's elliptical orbit around the Earth means that a few times a year it is closer to the Earth and tonight is one of those occasions.     When any heavenly body in orbit is closer to the planet or star it is orbiting it is called Perigee, and, when further away it is called Apogee.  

If you have a chance tonight head outside and look up  :-)

The horizon is turning pinky mauve - not long now!

Happy Spring Supermoon!



International Literacy Day!

08 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are celebrating the United Nations' International Literacy Day!    To quote their Literacy For All site, "Literacy is a human right and the basis for lifelong learning" and it is not only empowering but also has a "multiplier" effect in that it contributes to so many other benefits such as eradicating poverty and reducing infant mortality.

Not so long ago Australia celebrated Literacy and Numeracy Week with school events, lots of activities and the inspiration to help children improve their literacy at home.   Today it is rather fun to now imagine all the schools in all the out of the way places around the world where children and adults are learning to read :-)



Happy International Literacy Day!

Happy Father's Day!

07 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are celebrating Father's Day and wishing Dad's everywhere a very happy day!

Our Sunday Fun today is colouring in and there is a vast selection of fun Father's Day Colouring In to choose from.   Older children may prefer to help with some cooking and the letters D-A-D are so easy to spell out in scone or biscuit dough and even in sausages or mashed potato :-)


Happy Father's Day!

Magnets and Parasite Poo!

06 September, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are thinking how wonderful it is that table top magnets are being used in the diagnosis of malaria in mice - in minutes!    Half the world's population is at risk of this dreadful mosquito born disease and sadly 77% of those deaths from malaria are children under 5.   Early detection of malaria by just a few days can mean the difference between life or death so this little magnetic machine could be a life saver!

Malaria is a parasitic blood infection introduced to the body by a mosquito bite and, as the link reports, the parasites feast on red blood cells, each of which is packed with iron based proteins called haemoglobin.   The parasites then convert the haemoglobin into tiny crystallites that boost the red blood cell's magnetisation - therefore revealing the presence of the infection days earlier than current techniques and with greater accuracy.

This excellent magnetic device used to be the size of a small refrigerator but now could fit in a shoebox, making it easily portable to even the most remote regions.    Of course at this stage they are only detecting parasite poo in the blood of mice but hopefully it won't be long until these cool magnet based machines are sitting in table tops in remote villages :-)



At Crayons we have always known that magnets are cool, but today - they just got cooler!


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