December 29, 2009

lanterns and glowsticks

IMG_2425 I don’t want to go overboard for New Year, since B is not yet old enough to understand the concept of a year, but I’d like to do a little something to mark the occasion.
So, we will be trying to light up the new year (all by 9pm or so) with lanterns, glowsticks, sparklers and maybe a bonfire (if it doesn’t rain).  This will thrill B because he is currently enamoured of lights in the dark (and Christmas has done nothing to diminish his passion). 
We are going to make some lanterns for our light display.  I want to make these balloon lanterns from In These Hills (we’ll be starting today hopefully), but Chinese lanterns are also fun for children to make.  And here is a tutorial for making those beautiful star lanterns – or for a simpler, one-time only version you could make the paper stars from Ordinary Life Magic.  Be careful with all homemade lanterns (especially paper stars that weren’t designed to be a lantern and Chinese lanterns), because you don’t want them to catch fire.  For us, this is where the glowsticks come in, because I want to experiment with lighting the lanterns with glowsticks.
I love glowsticks.  They are one of those small, easy to get things that fascinate children.  In case you are getting questions about how they work (as I am) – glowsticks use a chemical reaction which creates light.  This is called chemiluminescence.  The 2 substances in the reaction are housed inside the light stick in separate chambers.  When you bend the plastic, one of the chambers breaks and the chemicals react.  For a much more comprehensive explanation go to How Light Sticks Work at HowStuffWorks.
How do you plan to celebrate New Year?  Do you include your children?

1 comment:

Amber said...

We have a lovely lantern that we made at a local holiday festival, that is just a mason jar with a pipe cleaner handle. Quite safe and perfect for my 4-year-old's hands, we love it.

As for New Year's, I have no real plans. My husband has to work until 11pm, so he usually runs in at about 11:30 and we share a kiss at midnight. As the kids are still too small we don't involve them, so it's all very low key.