FUN   - the Fifth Freedom


I love Norman Rockwell's "The Four Freedoms"  :   do click - it is  worth the one-page read - a very Big Deal of the New Deal. 

  • Freedom of Speech

  • Freedom of Worship

  • Freedom from Want

  • Freedom from Fear

But, ohhhh , please, we need the Fifth Freedom, too!

This page is just fun things:  family-friendly, some genius, some really dumb and all valid.  It includes

  • Lost Arts with enthic or family origins, revered and often lost in a culture and worth teaching to the young

  • Current funstuff - basic assemblage and skills required

  • Spiritual and Patriotic projects

  • Fun one-liner suggestions and ideas


Have YOU giggled with a child recently? What kind of giggling was it? Helpful? Sound? or with too much edge, or evil?...realllly good giggling has a nice after-effect.
We can learn a lot from our own laughter. :-)


CRAFT IDEA "Roundthings" - or squarethings or triangular things or no-morph ! That's all it takes - ask your famly, event or school group to engage and create with such an easy criterion.

CRAFT IDEA "Roundthings" - or squarethings or triangular things or no-morph ! That's all it takes - ask your famly, event or school group to engage and create with such an easy criterion.

~ Labyrinths ~ 

Labyrinths are NOT mazes ... one is lost in a maze, but found in a labyrinth, along the most interesting ways! 

Ancient fun, updated and once again popular!    Children at home or school or events love them  and the idea of the labyrinth is easily adapted to entertain, inspire, teach, engage, "act out"  and for just plaon fun!

Create your labyrinth with million dollar hedges and mosses, or with sidewalk chalk; with river rocks, or junkfood;  most fun" trace them in the sand  for tag, or dancing or meditation.  

Make one on huge cloth or paper and hang it on a wall in-between uses.    However your imagination takes them, they are fun and create interest.  They EMPOWER children because they add a dimension of engagement in the thought associated with the labyrinth. 
Here are a few for starters, and you might find it fun, once you get into it , to invent your own.  And enjoy the excitement by becoming more engaged yourself !  

All labyrinths have a "home" or center. The center is surrounded by several rounds of paths.

The paths usually re-iterate the shape of the center, but not always ... some labyrinths share complexities between center and outer bounds....but you can't get lost or trapped ...that is,  

"108 Ways to Use Labyrinths in Schools" by Gael D. Hancock  shares elegant basic and complex designs and ideas/applications , and featured , credited, is one of  my simple designs, I am very honored to say.   Buy a copy and enjoy a bright new thing!






The word means "fast"... And so the name of the fun piano tune of old.  .This week the debate about whether they were a cause of arthritis in the hands neutralized itself, so I plan to have fun with both kinds of Chopsticks and hope you will, too! I clipped this image of the correct way to enjoy the food kind, as my idea of fun, as well!  It's addictive - fun.

TV-Free! 25 Fun Things to Do When the TV Is Off

By Martha Southgate/ Inspired by the families in our article "Why We Turned Off the TV"

1. Have a tickle party. Wrestle and roll around with your children. 

2. Blow the dust off those board games. When was the last time you played Monopoly anyway? 

3. Have some friends over -- life without TV is a lot easier when you do it in a group. Try to organize your turn-off with another family or through your child's school. Marie Winn's influential book The Plug-in Drug: Television, Children, and Family (Penguin USA) is packed with reasons to live TV-free. 

4. Let the children take every cushion off the sofa and build a fort. Crawl through once or twice yourself. 

5. At the risk of being obvious -- read! Take the kids to the library to stock up before your set goes off and lay in a mountain of books. The older ones can read to the little ones when your voice gives out. 

6. Share a skill with your children -- do you knit, sew, tie flies, play an instrument? Spend some time passing your knowledge on. 

7. Take a class together. Isn't there something you'd both like to learn to do? 

8. Go ice-skating -- have hot chocolate after. 

9. Get to know the museums and historical societies in your town. 

10. Stock up on books and stories on tape. There's an extraordinary selection available for the youngest to the oldest these days. Your local library has them for free, or ask at online "Search", for an ocean of sites to download or purchase. 

11. Have a family letter-writing party. And no, not using e-mail, but pens, paper, markers -- remember them? If your children are too young to write, have them draw on the front and then dictate a letter to you to write on the back. Grandma, Grandpa, and faraway friends will be thrilled. 

12. Set out a lot of good dress-up stuff and let your kids play with each other -- it might be bumpy going at first but you'll be surprised at what they can come up with without the tube. 

this is my addition to the list: this image was actually found at an Aztec Archeological site and made the news because it looked like an ancient tv...Carson or Leno? We would make a cardboard box tv, and put on our show and sell our product.

13. Have a dance party in the living room. 

14. Teach the children all the card games you know. If you don't remember any, get a hold of 101 Best Family Card Games (Sterling, 1994) by Alfred Sheinwold. For younger children, try Card Games for Little Kids (Workman, 2000) by Gail MacColl, which comes with a brightly colored deck of cards. 

15. Bake something -- even the youngest can help with simple cookie recipes. 

16. Cook dinner together. Mollie Katzen's Pretend Soup (Tricycle, 1994) has some terrific recipes. 

17. Get crafty -- there are tons of books with terrific craft projects in them. Get one, get some felt and get to work. 

18. Do something for someone else -- spend that afternoon you would have spent watching Pokemon or Arthur culling old toys to give to less privileged children or with older children, working with a community group or church or synagogue to help folks in need. 

19. Can we fix it? Fix that leaky faucet, sew those ripped pants. Turning off the set gives you time to do some of those household projects you've been ignoring. Let your children hand you wrenches, or work on their own sewing (or for the little ones, lacing) projects. 

20. Take it easy. Part of life without TV, for you and your children, is figuring out what to do with yourselves without the easy escape of the tube. Stare into space for a while -- something's bound to come to you. 

21. See some live shows -- community theater, a dance performance, a music concert. Introduce your kids to the excitement and spontaneity of entertainment that's not taped. 

22. Play outside. Even if it's cold outside, bundle up and go for a walk. Make a snowman or go sledding if there's enough white stuff around. Time spent outside every day is key to life beyond television. 

23. Get photographic. Work together on scrapbooks or organizing photos into an album. Children love to see photos of themselves as babies or younger children, and they can help make beautiful scrapbooks that will become family treasures. 

24. Take an evening walk together -- the days are shorter now and it will be dark well before bedtime -- time you might have filled with TV. Go see what your community is like at night. Maybe you'll even see some stars. 

25. Laugh more, talk more, enjoy each other more -- the thing about television is that it means you never face each other. Once you start interacting more, you might find that you live with some pretty great folks. 

01-01-2002 Copyright © 2001


Betsy Ross & "The Five-pointed Star -In-One-Snip"     

Enjoy her exciting story at this link and then try her super trick for the star we see on our American Flags today.





Chanukah Dreidel

Enjoy this printout/assembly fun, then visit the Chanukah links online, like for great play ideas for the ages-old toy!

And you can purchase your dreidels, if you lack the time or feeling for making your own, at many of the online Chanukah pages.

The Dreidel Game is like spinning a top, with four sides. It is spun like any top, and the side that the dreidel shows uppermost when it stops, is called like the numbers that show on top of dice.

The symbols "Nes", "Gadol", "Haya" and "Sham", in Hebrew , taken as a sentence, refer to the Chanuka Miracle: "Miracle" , "Great",  "Happened",  "There".



Happy Chanuka!


INSTRUCTIONS FOR CREATING DREIDEL - not for toddlers, unless parent is major helper. Safety issue with the spinner can result unless care is taken to follow instructions.

  • copy and print dreidel on stiff paper on your printer; glossy card stock or photo paper gives a lovely effect, adjusting size and colors as you are able.You can also print it out on standard copy paper then paperglue it to something with poster or card weight to it, otherwise it will not hold its shape when done, or be useable.

  • Fold over flaps ( the wedge-shaped edges) and fold at lines, to create a Top. Do not tape or glue it yet.

  • Open flat and, on a safe cutting surface, cut an "X", corners-to-corners, in the small square on the lid section of the Top, or Dreidel.

  • The body of the Dreidel should appear square, with the bottom folding to make a pointed bottom, and the top folding over to make a flat lid for the Top.

  • Set aside.

  • Craft and hardware stores carry wooden dowelling of all sizes for under a dollar.

  • Get one length about the thickness of a standard pencil or slightly thinner.

  • Cut a 6"length of the dowelling and sharpen one end in a pencil sharpener, then use a standard nail file or sandpaper to smooth the point for safety, and smooth the flat top of the dowel as well for safe handling.

  • Gently retrieving the Dreidel, pierce the dowel through the small square on top, at the center of the "x" cut.

  • Withdraw the dowel.

  • A good glue stick or craft glue is now applied to all flaps, and the Dreidel folded and fastened, except for the lid, which is left open.

  • Next drop an extra dot of the glue inside, at the very point of the bottom of the Dreidel, and

  • close and glue the lid.

  • Aim the dowel, through the lid cut, to the base of the point of the Dreidel, but not through the point at bottom (if it should pop through later, it should do no harm to the operation of the Dreidel, but may not be the safest thing for very little ones.

  • Test the spinning of the Dreidel, and make any minor adjustments before the glue dries.

  • Due to the variations in construction, you may also wish to shorten or lengthen the dowel...there should be just enough protruding from the top of the Dreidel to give a grasp for spinning, but as short as possible for safe use by children.







POPTOP VEST, HELMET, or whatever..... IMPORTANT - not for small children.  Older children, do be sure to file all sharp edges for safe fun use later.

An easy tutorial at You Tube click here - and the page includes lots of fun variations in methods and results - handbag, helmet and more.

Materials needed: 

  • Collect and clean poptops and/or crushed cans...

  • ~needle-nosed pliers

  • ~small hammer & screwdriver with as wide an end as needed to thread through a poptop end

  • ~metal file and sandpaper

  • ~non-toxic clear spray acrylic

  • ~enough fabric/trim of your choice to line, trim or bind for garment worn next to skin - please line it for safety and comfort and durability.

Poptop rings are prepped, and one end snipped to hook into the next, et cetera,  in any shape  desired and bent over smoothly. 
ALT: slots are hammered into edges of beverage cans, tapping a flat head screwdriver gently to create the slot to receive poptop tabs for joining to the rest of the work. 

Have fun visualizing and asembling a vest, for example. 
the vest is done often with smashed-flat cans for chest protection , with the interlocked
poptops for the rest
A series of the cans makes a helmet , joined with poptop tabs
No need to PAINT IT ... Just smooth jagged edges, clean it well and coat it with
non-toxic safe-to-wear clear acrylic finish to give it sparkle.

Have fun! 



Paint an Egg! Draw one, make one from clay or other craft medium. 

Bring in a pretty branch, paint it white and hang your eggs from each twig on the branch. Add ribbons or stillmakes a nice show on the table.

It can even be done as high art, with the correct medium and application.   LIKE THIS ONE - A LIFELONG HONOR -  My own egg at the White House in 2007

Whatever your preference, egg crafts abound, in every culture, past, present and "future"

Coming:    Butter Lambs, Saint Brigid's Cross, Easter Palmcraft,  Pysanki or wax-resist eggs, bridal money bouquet and other "Lost Arts and Crafts"....Fun to plan, and do and share and pass on to others...


And then there is the International Kite Fly for Peace from "one sky  one world"  ... "Let's go Fly a Kite! " still works and this event shares fun with all who care to join in and kites are free!     ........thanksomuch for visiting this page...Elle



starts with "Christmas Puss 'N Boots"                         ....and goes on to invite YOUR submissions to make it a party !     - elle