Today at Crayons

Happy Birthday, United Nations!

24 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are celebrating United Nations Day 2014.    The Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has released his message for today and, whilst there is still much to be achieved, much has been achieved by the Nations of the world, and as he says '... we can take heart from our achievements".


Happy Birthday, U.N.!

Giant Chicken From The Past!

23 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are in awe of a recently identified Dinosaur that had a duck like beak over a metre long.     The Dinosaur had a platypus like beak, without teeth, and some feathers on its head and tail.   Consequently, Dr Philip Currie, from the University of Alberta, has described Deinocheirus mirificus as a "Gigantic Chicken" that was slow moving due to its weight and 11 metres of length.    That's a big chook!

Previously, palaeontologists had only found two gigantic 2.4 metre forearms, with huge claws, and it was the recent discovery of the skeleton of a juvenile that has helped to complete the picture of this unusual creature.   So, the nickname of 'horrible hand' had been given to the Dinsosaur, and that is what it's latin name means.



We figure collecting eggs from this hen would have been a serious adventure :-)

P.s HABA has Dancing Eggs that are serious family fun!


Time Travel

22 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we have enjoyed listening to the Nalina Joshi, Mathematician, and Brian Cox, Physicist, discussing the realities of Time Travel.    Time Travel is a wonderful notion and so often a part of fictional space travel, inspiring imaginations and evoking excitement at the potential of exploring all of space and time!

As part of the ABC's most recent Q&A, the discussion was about the possibility of travelling into the past and the revelation of the reality of travelling into the future.    It would appear that the Large Hadron Collider is already a time machine - for protons!

At Crayons we all have our favourite fictional time machines and whether it is a Blue Box in the yard or a sleigh version in the shed, time machines are cool :-).   Perhaps the most sentimental is the one of the first to be realised and made for the film of H.G.Wells' groundbreaking and popular novel, The Time Machine.



21 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are celebrating two "Curiosities"!   Curiosity is the name of the car sized robotic Rover NASA sent to Mars and Curiosity has been living put to its name by researching Mars and providing information for a variety of science based experiments.    Curiosity is indeed helping to satisfy mankind's curiosity about our universe and has sent back some cool photos to look at too.    Every photo appears sunset like and makes us think it is cocktail hour on Mars :-), but that may just be the twilight appearance of the atmosphere.

The curiosity more familiar to us is the innate quality that drives us all, irrespective of age, to explore, enquire, discover and be curious, try a new recipe, visit a new place etc. and this natural instinct has recently been found to be an asset for those wanting to improve their memory function and their ability to learn.    As Clare Pain writes, in Curiosity Puts Brain In State To Learn, researchers have confirmed that if you pursue details about something you are interested in it will be easier to learn and remember that topic or subject than if you are ‘bored stiff’ by the experience.

While this does not really appear to be a revelation, because more often than not students excel at subjects they are curious about and interested in, the research serves to emphasise the importance of making a learning experience interesting.    Having fun can only enhance this experience and at Crayons we have always known that making something interesting is a great way to inspire a child’s creativity and curiosity.   Since childhood we have been in awe of teachers who can make this process look so effortless.

In turn, we are often inspired by the growth of curiosity-promoting children’s sites such as Questacon and the DIY Science at the CSIRO and the ABC's Splash site often features interesting and out of the box ways for children to learn.    And since childhood we have been in awe of teachers who have always known this and do their 

Everyone, and every child especially, has something in their lives that grabs their attention, fascinates them and captures their imaginations.    Allowing a child to pursue their natural curiosity, follow their interests and discover more can, perhaps, be one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

Ok, it's daggy but it is Space month :-)

                                                      To infinity, and beyond!

The Curiosity robotic Rover on the surface of Mars, Sunset.  (Image from NASA)

Its Earth Day Every Day In Space!

20 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

This month at Crayons has been Space Month and up until now we've been looking up and out into Space.   Today at Crayons we discovered some of the cool data that NASA  collects by looking back down at Earth.   

At the Earth Observatory Site NASA provides images of Natural Hazards, be it volcanic clouds or hurricanes and with the Global Maps section there are colourful graphics detailing up to date info on areas of important scientific study such as vegetation, rainfall and sea surface temperatures.

The site also offers an Image of the Day and our favourite is the one of Hervey Bay in Queensland.

2014 A Big Year For Earth Science and has all the planned events young Earth Science Boffins may like to check out.
Huricane Gonzalo from Space, Image from NASA

Do Aliens Have X-Ray Vision?

19 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are pondering what type of vision aliens could possibly have and we are guided in this exercise by a passage from the book 'The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.     In the chapter, The Theory Of Everything, they state that it is perhaps no accident that the wavelengths of light we are able to see with the naked eye are those which the Sun radiates most strongly and, consequently, our eyes evolved to detect the light most available to them.     The authors then go on to hypothesise that in all probability "if we ever run into beings form other planets" then they will have the ability to see the wavelengths their own Sun emits most strongly.

Therefore it is reasonable to assume that, if an Alien has evolved on a planet which has predominantly X Ray wavelengths radiated by their Sun, then yes, depending on atmospheric gas or light blocking dust, the aliens will have XRay vison.      Hello Superman :-)

Our Sunday Fun today is aliens, superheroes and Star Wars!

For little ones there are aliens to colour in or perhaps make craft aliens - googly eyes, antennas and multiple legs seem to features all fictional aliens have in common and these can be made with pipe cleaners, craft pompoms, cotton balls and glue.   They could then perhaps be bluetacked to the wall amongst the astronauts, spaceships and rockets from the Sunday Fun of the 4 October.



If there is some fun cooking today it would be fair to say that the more smartie or choc chip eyes the better for any alien themed cupcakes or cookies being made.  Our Fun Cooking Collection has space ship cookie cutters for those wanting to have afternoon tea in somewhere near the Horsehead Nebula.


This beautiful image of the Horsehead Nebula is from NASA.


Older children may like to contemplate how their favourite super hero got those super powers or perhaps, using their own imaginations, create their own superheroes with super powers to meet the needs of atmospheres and landscapes in a galaxy far far away.

Speaking of which!  Apart from Marvin the Martian our favourite aliens are from Star Wars and for older children with creative minds they may like to explore the dynamics of Star Destroyers or Jedi Interceptors.   Or how Chewbacca adapted to life on the Millenium Falcon :-)






Recycle Your Old Computer!

18 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons the funny site Don’t Just Throw Your Old Computers has tickled our funny bone.   At a pinch we could find an association between Space and recycling computers but one does not come to mind off hand.

Recycling old or outdated items is easy when you drop them off and they are ultimately remade into something else.    Finding a use for recycled items, in house, is also easy when you allow serendipity and necessity to guide your innovation.    

Children are very good at this, as any cubby or spontaneous dollhouse will display and finding another use for a discarded item, such as a holey sock as a puppet or a box as a car or boat, is easy to do when there are grand adventures waiting to be imagined.

At Crayons we are pleased to offer the Makedo range of recycling kits which are designed to help children reuse household containers to build a variety of fun toys and places to play.   There can be a lot of satisfaction in discovering that pretty much everything can have a second life and continue to be useful - with a little creative imagination :-)



There are some other cool ideas at the site igreenspot too!

It's Friday On Earth

17 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we note it is Friday, all day, and on Earth we can say that for 24 hours.    But if we were on Mars, and Martians had a Friday, it would last for 58 earth days and some 15 hours.   Then again, if we were on Jupiter it would be Saturday already because Jupiter's 'day' is just under 10 earth hours long.

The longest 'day' can be found on Venus where a day lasts 116 Earth days.   That means we would not have tomorrow, Saturday, until 11 February 2015.    Wow.     Purely based on day length, and certainly not atmospheric conditions,  Venus is the place to go for holidays and fun, but not the place for exams or waiting in line!


Venus, as 'photographed' for NASA by the Magellan spacecraft.

Happy Friday!

Take A Tour Of The Space Station!

16 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are happily checking out the 360 Tour of the International Space Station available on the educational Interactive Reference Guide provided by NASA as part of the Education Channel.

P.s The HD ISS Views from NASA TV are beautiful this morning!



15 October, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we have been tuning in to NASA TV.   There are four channels to choose from, including an Education channel, and while the interviews, docos and programs are interesting our favourite channel has to be "HD ISS Views" the live view of Earth from the International Space Station.    The views of Earth can be exceptionally beautiful.

When the ISS is passing over night time on Earth the view may be limited and for a few minutes of composite footage of the lights of Earth at night from the ISS then SpaceRip has What the Astronaut's Camera Sees at Night.    This footage has a commentary to help identify the continents and nations as well as dancing auroras, electrical storms and city lights displaying an amazing show.

On NASA TV the view of Earth's daytime has no sound unless the view coincides with an activity or commentary.   So, if you're inclined, enjoy the daytime views with a full screen, find some music that suits and be an Astronaut for a while :-)


This image from the ISS is of the Bahamas.

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