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3 Fun and Creative Engineering Projects for Kids

by rayovac10, February 2017

Getting your kiddos excited about science and exploration shouldn’t stop at the classroom.  Finding new ways to show your family the world around them is fun, and you all get to learn a lot about how things work in the process. It’s a win-win, really. As for discovering how the world works, what’s better than engineering projects that stretch your kids’ minds creativity and problem-solving skills? That’s right, not a whole lot. Here are three of our favorite easy engineering projects for kids.

Egg Drop Challenge

The egg drop challenge is a grade school classic. If you haven’t heard of it, the premise is simple. Participants (kids and adults) have to create a container that will protect an egg from a fall. That’s it! By switching up the materials, adding time limits, and changing the fall distance, you can customize the activity for different age groups.

Suggested Materials

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Tape
  • Rubberbands
  • Drinking straws
  • String
  • Balloons

Instructions

  1. Distribute the materials to the participants. The materials and quantities can differ depending on what you have available. Just make sure that all participants have equal access to materials.
  2. Set a time limit. This step is optional, but it makes the project more competitive.
  3. When the time limit is up, have the participants take turns dropping their eggs from a predetermined height.
  4. After you drop the egg, check and see if it’s still intact. If the egg is cracked, the participant is eliminated. If participants are all successful, you can also challenge them to make numerous functional containers within a particular time period.

Foil Boat Float

The foil boat float is the easiest challenge to prepare. You only need two household items, and the goal is simple: participants have to create a boat out of aluminum foil. In order to win, the boat cannot tip over or take on water.

Materials

  • Aluminum foil (1 sheet per child)
  • Plastic drinking straws (4 per child)

Instructions

  1. Distribute the materials to the participants.
  2. Let the participants know that the boat must be no larger than 6 x 6 x 6. If your kids are young, consider providing them with rulers.
  3. When the boats are ready, set them on the water. The boats should be able to float without tipping over or taking on water.
  4. If there are multiple boats that meet these criteria, begin adding one penny to each boat. The boat that can hold the most pennies without sinking is the winner.

Solar Oven

This project is less competitive than the first two, but it can be completed with common household items. It also takes a long time. In a nutshell, participants have to create a working oven out of common household items. This project is easy and works best during the summer months.

Materials

  • Aluminum foil
  • Black construction paper
  • Used pizza box
  • Newspaper
  • Tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Food for baking
  • Thermometers (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place a few a sheets of newspaper in the bottom of a pizza box. This will help to insulate your solar oven and protect your food from old pizza grease.
  2. Cover the newspaper with black construction paper. The color black absorbs all forms of visible light, so it’s great for keeping in heat.
  3. Cut a flap out of the top of the pizza box. The incisions should be two inches from the sides and front. After making three cuts, fold this flap backward and cover the inside with aluminum foil. The foil should reflect sunlight into the solar oven.
  4. After folding back the flap, tape plastic wrap across the opening. This step prevents airborne particles from falling into your food.
  5. Place your food into the solar oven. If you’re working with children, smores are the perfect confection.
  6. Tape the flap open in a way that reflects sunlight onto your food.
  7. Put your food into the pizza box and close it. Check on your food every 15 minutes. You’ll also want to make sure that your oven stays out of the shade.
  8. If you want to make this activity more competitive, you can measure the temperature and cooking times of various solar ovens.

 

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Tips for Winter Hearing Aid Care

by rayovac2, February 2017

Winter hearing aid care

Since the groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, we’re here to help you get through it. If you’re a new hearing aid user, then there are a few things you should know before you head outside. Winter weather brings significant fluctuations in temperature. When moving from warm to cold temperatures, airborne moisture condenses into water droplets. When these droplets accumulate, they can damage hearing aids and batteries. If you want to build a snowman this winter, just follow these two rules.

 Avoid Moisture Like the Plague

During the winter, moisture poses the biggest threat to your hearing aid. The first and most obvious form of moisture comes from the sky. If exposed to sleet, hail, and snow, your hearing aid can malfunction from water damage. The best thing you can do is cover your hearing aid with a hat or pair of earmuffs.

The second form of moisture is less obvious and harder to avoid. Extra layers combined with temperature fluctuations tend to result in extra sweat. If you’re wearing a hat or earmuffs, this perspiration can accumulate in your ear and damage your hearing aid. If heavily sweating is a chronic issue for you, then here are a couple of ideas:

 

  • Consider purchasing a hearing aid sweatband. These bands absorb moisture rather than trapping it. They are also perfect for behind-the-ear hearing aids.
  • Dry out your hearing aid regularly. When you get inside, remove your hearing aid and open the battery compartment. If you can see any moisture, wipe it out with a cotton swab.
  • You can also purchase a hearing aid dehumidifier. Place your hearing aid into the dehumidifier before you go to sleep, and let it do its work.

Protect Batteries from the Cold

When it comes to cold and batteries, there is a lot of conflicting information on the internet. Some sources claim that you should store batteries in the refrigerator, while others say that cold drains your batteries. The truth is your batteries should never be in the fridge.

 Cold slows the motion of electrons and prevents batteries from working. That chemistry can prevent batteries from working properly during the winter months. If you’ve run into trouble in the cold, here are a few tips that will your batteries working.

 

  • Take extra batteries with you in case of malfunction
  • Avoid storing batteries in your car. The rapid and frequent changes in temperature can cause moisture buildup and damage the battery.
  • Remove your hearing aid when participating in outdoor activities like skiing, sledding, or shoveling snow. This will protect it from unnecessary moisture and cold.

 Now you’re ready to go walking in a winter wonderland. Just remember these rules, and winter weather will feel like a walk in the park.

 

 

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Snowed In? Try These 5 Kid-Friendly Activities

by rayovac23, January 2017

Snowed in activities for kids

Snow days might seem fun at first – especially for kids – but after a bowl of cereal and about an hour of cartoons, the excitement quickly halts to a stop. One day is okay, but when the snowstorm rolls into day two the kids are crying that they’re bored and looking to you for solace. This situation can be pretty stressful when the snow day bombards you unexpectedly. But don’t fret. Luckily, we have a handful of activities to keep your kiddos occupied.

Build a Fort

  It may not be the most fun activity to clean up, but everyone loves a good fort. It keeps the kids engaged, and it confines them to one part of the house for the day, which in turn means they’re out of your hair. For extra fun, use darker blankets or sheets for the outer layer to make the inside pitch black. Bring flashlights inside and share spooky ghost stories. The kids can have their own campground in the comfort of the living room. Take that, snow day!

Hot Cocoa and Cookies

  Of course, there’s the option of simply mixing up some hot cocoa and sipping it while watching the snow fall outdoors. But if you and the kids are feeling creative – try creating hot cocoa sticks, or mason jars of homemade hot cocoa mixture! To make hot cocoa sticks, simply whip up this easy batter recipe, pour it into ice cube trays, and then place the stick or spoon into the mixture and let it freeze. Remember not to use a plastic spoon or stick, as it may melt after sitting in the hot cocoa. The mason jar activity is best if you have a homemade hot cocoa recipe that you want to whip up and save for a later date. If you don’t have a personal recipe, try this popular one. Mason jar hot cocoas are a sweet treat, too! Consider crafting a few batches, and then having the children gift them to teachers, friends or family the next day.

Shadow Puppet Show

  Not everyone has puppets at their disposal, but most of us have a flashlight lying around somewhere. Check out this awesome hand shadow puppet tutorial and choose a few characters to master. The kids will have a ball coming up with their own play and performing it for you. Don’t forget the popcorn!   

Clay Hands

  Have you ever seen those movies where the cement is wet, and the kids place their hands in it to leave a permanent print? Well, you can do that inside the home, too. All you really need is baking soda, cornstarch and water. Create a clay mixture, and then have the kids stamp their handprint or footprint. Finally, bake it in the oven so it will last forever. Check out the easy tutorial here.

Mug Cakes

You would think everyone loves cake, because cake is cake, right? It’s delicious! Well, those with kids know it’s not always so simple. Sometimes one kid has allergies, or one kid hates sprinkles while the other demands sprinkles. Mug cakes are a godsend when this occurs. Kids can choose their own flavor cake, and parents don’t have to worry about having a bunch of leftovers that will inevitably end up in the trash. Mug cakes are a great way for everyone to enjoy a personalized, tasty treat. Check out these delicious recipes.  

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Hearing Loss Facts and Tips for the Holidays

by rayovac23, December 2016

hearing loss tips

Holiday gatherings can be loud and large, but you can make sure you're part of the conversation by wearing your hearing aids and avoiding background noise when possible. What are your favorite hearing loss tips? Below are a few of ours.
hearing loss facts
As @Living With Hearing Loss says, It can be tempting to just nod along and pretend that you hear what others are saying or laugh just because others are laughing. But it can be dangerous, particularly if someone is asking you a question. Be brave and be honest with others if you are having trouble hearing. It will make your interactions more memorable on both sides.
hearing loss facts
Don't hesitate to ask someone to join you in a quieter spot or give visual clues to indicate if you are having trouble hearing.
hearing loss facts
This holiday season, we hope you can enjoy quality time with family by coming together to make your gathering hearing loss-friendly. Let us know your favorite advice in the comments!

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3 Simple Tips Moms Love for Stress-Free Holidays

by rayovac12, December 2016

stress free holidays with Rayovac

The holidays can simultaneously make us both happy and stressed. On one hand, we get to celebrate festive traditions with our family and friends, which is often memorable and heartwarming — even when we’re stuck with distant relatives we’d rather not see. ☺ And on the other hand, we get bombarded with anxiety from choosing the perfect gifts, ensuring our kids don’t get cabin fever, making the home look festive and clean for those unexpected visitors, and listening to old Uncle Marty banter about politics. Every year the holidays are a mixed boat. And every year they somehow pan out to be among our favorite celebrations of the year. If this scenario sounds familiar, then these tips will help you juggle the holiday chaos and keep your life running smoothly throughout the festive season and well beyond it.

Shop Online

Malls and shopping centers are beyond crazy from Black Friday to early January. And getting out of the house to shop for the kids, without the kids in tow? Forget about it! If you know what items you’re looking for then online is a good option to circumvent the in-person shopping chaos and even if you don’t there are endless lists of ideas for everyone imaginable that can be found online. For a lot of us, online shopping is second nature. But it’s also easy to forget our normal routines and behaviors when the holiday stress piles on. Plus, most online stores also have gift wrapping options available, which makes it easier to stop any snoopy family members from ruining their Christmas surprise.

You’re Going to Need These

If you grab any electronics or toys that use batteries, then don’t forget to toss some long-lasting RAYOVAC® Fusion batteries in your cart. Nothing is more soul-crushing than watching your child’s thrill from opening their new toy quickly turn into a meltdown when they realize you don’t have the required batteries on hand.

Properly Prepare Wrapped Gifts

On the note of remembering the batteries, when you’re wrapping gifts that need batteries, include a pack in the wrapping. If you cover them in newspaper or bubble wrap, the odd shape can also thwart the guesses of the gift recipient!

Ask for Help

We all like to be seen as superheroes to our kids, but every now and then even we need a little bit of help. And that’s okay. Ask around to see if any friends are open to babysitting while you wrap gifts or finish any in-person shopping trips. If you’re cooking a big meal, then invite the neighbors, the ones that double as your bus stop besties, to help out (offer them the leftovers, too). We at Rayovac wish you, your family and your friends a safe, happy holiday season. We hope these tips help make your holidays a little less stressful and a little more magical. And remember, when your kids’ toys have to work on Christmas morning, Rayovac batteries are the one thing that’s a sure thing!

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You'll love these 10 awesome stocking stuffers for kids

by rayovac12, December 2016

Stuffed stockings hung by a fireplaceStockings have been a fundamental part of Christmas traditions for centuries. Whenever St. Nicholas swoops by a house, he never forgets to fill the stockings with care. The legend of Christmas stockings began with dear old St. Nicholas slipping down a family’s chimney and filling three girls’ socks, which were naturally hung by the fire, with gold coins and golden orbs. While we can’t compete with St. Nick’s golden splendor, we can give our kids, friends and family lovely surprises in their stockings. Below we’ve compiled a list of safe, science-friendly stocking stuffers for kids.

Kids Magazines

Some kids love to read, but for others it can be tricky to get them involved, especially when the stories seem dull. But what does nearly every kid love? Animals, of course, and really cool animals like elephants and penguins at that. Getting them a subscription to a wildlife magazine like ZooBooks™ or National Geographic Kids™ can invigorate their love of reading and the natural world.

Headlamp

When your child begins reading the new magazines you subscribed them to, you can make it more fun by encouraging them to read in a fort with a light source.  RAYOVAC® virtually indestructible headlamps work as excellent reading lights during camping trips or long car rides. Plus, they are a great light source for hiking or snowshoeing in the evening.  

Sunprints®

Sunprints® are a nifty science stocking stuffer for your young, inspiring artist. The concept is simple: you place a flower petal, toy or another small object on the Sunprint paper and then place both objects in the sun. Let them sit for a few hours, and then rinse the paper in water. Afterward, you’ll get the shadow imprint of the object on the paper! It works a lot like developing a photo, but with light instead of darkness. You can find Sunprint kits online.

Child-Parent Activity Coupons  

This is a simple, cute idea to bring your family closer together and let the kids feel like they have a voice in the family activities each month. Plan out 12 family activities each month and write them down on individual notecards. Afterward, place the ideas in unique envelopes and let your kids pick one envelope each month to choose the family activity.  

Power Protect

The RAYOVAC® Power Protect is an excellent portable charger with a built-in personal safety alarm. Simply pull the ring from the charger itself and a siren erupts that is audible from 200 yards away*. It’s the perfect peace-of-mind gift for any kids who walk to school or friends who love to jog at night. *varies by geography and environmental conditions. 

Color Changing Putty

Putty is a timeless toy that sparks imagination and creativity. The new variants even change colors based on body temperature! Start a competition to see who can mold the best animal. Winner gets extra whipped cream in their hot cocoa!

Spy Pen

Some kids simply love a good mystery, and a spy pen feeds that adoration. The pens write in invisible ink which is revealed with the pen’s built-in UV light. Consider using the pen to hide clues during a scavenger hunt.

RAYOVAC® flashlight for Shadow Puppet Shows

Stories about monsters and heroes are pretty darn cool when you’re a kid. And you know what else is pretty cool? Producing shadow puppet shows with your child to encourage exploring their inner thespian. Your local library will likely have a beginner’s guide to hand shadows, and we sell virtually-indestructible flashlights to illuminate the performance.

Touchable Bubbles

Bubble chemistry (yes, this is a thing) has come a long way since blowing soap bubbles from a plastic container was a novelty. Look for a bubbly concoction called touchable bubbles, which is non-toxic and washable. It lets your kids (and you) blow resilient bubbles that are strong enough to resist easily bursting. You can even stack them on a table and make bubble castles!

Smartphone Projector

This stocking stuffer is on the expensive side, but it’s a really neat idea for teenagers (or office parties). A smartphone projector allows you to project whatever is on your phone’s screen to a blank wall or large white canvas. It’s a great option for at-home picnics, movies in the backyard and even your holiday parties!

RAYOVAC® is a trademark of Spectrum Brands, Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

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