Friday, June 29, 2012

Feathery Friend Friday ~ the Parakeet

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It’s Fun Friend Friday once again. Today we’re taking a look at a feathery friend the Parakeet. Let’s see why this bird has been named the most popular pet in America.

The Popular Parakeet

The parakeet is so popular it has three names; budgie (UK), budgerigar (Australia) and parakeet (USA). This colorful bird is 18 cm (7 in) long, and weighs 30-40 grams, so it’s a perfect pet for any household. It originates from Australia and was first introduced as a pet in 1840.

Parakeets in the wild are green, but now come in a wide range of colors and patterns thanks to captive breeding; from white, blue, yellow, violet, purple, mauve, olive green, cinnamon, cobalt blue and everything in between.

In the wild parakeets will flock together in large numbers to stay safe from predators. They will lay from 4-9 eggs that hatch in about 3 weeks. The baby birds stay with their mom until they are around 5 weeks of age.

Feathery Friend Fact…parakeets can live to be 15 years old.

What Did You Say?

Parakeets are natural communicators and love to sit and chatter to themselves in a mirror. And unlike your furry friends, parakeets can learn how to talk. Males are more likely to pick up words, sounds and whistles than females. If you want to teach your pet parakeet to talk you’ll have to spend time each day giving him his lessons – that’s right, your parakeet needs to listen and learn to repeat words – just like in school. Start with one word or a two word phrase like, pretty bird, until your pet gets the hang of it. Be patient. Talking may not come easily to your bird, but with time and dedication, he could be chatting up a storm.

Feathery Friend Fact…how can you tell a male parakeet from a female? The color of it’s cere (fleshy part above the beak). Males will have a blue or purplish cere. Females will be white, brown or tan.

Getting Started

Now that you’ve decided to get a parakeet, you will need;

~ a suitable wire cage of appropriate size
~ perches
~ cups for water and seed
~ parakeet seed
~ cuttlebones
~ toys

Feathery Friend Fact…most pet stores sell starter kits that include the basics all in one package.

Once you’ve picked out your special bird, remember that he will be a bit shy and, perhaps, scared when you first bring him home, so be patient and give your new pal a quiet place and some time to adjust. Talking to him in a gentle voice when you approach his cage and not making any loud or sudden movements will help him feel safe.

Make sure he has plenty of fresh food and water daily and clean out his cage (change the bottom liner/paper and scrub out dishes/perches) every week. Once your parakeet has adjusted to his new home, you can begin to handle him and teach him to talk. But just remember, like with any pet, your parakeet is a responsibility and should be treated with love and respect.

Parakeets enjoy the companionship of their human caretaker and will whistle, and chatter when they’re happy. If you think this wonderful little bird would make a good pet for you, then grab a book on how to fully care for them. With lots of love and the proper care you could find yourself enjoying the company of a parakeet for many years to come.

For more neat articles and a new fiction story everyday, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE and we have an app!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wild World Wednesday ~ the Sea Otter

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We live in a wild world. Today we are visiting the Pacific Coast of North America to sneak a peek at the playful and lovable sea otter. Let’s take a dive into the nature of this furry fellow.

It Otter Be…

There are 13 species of sea otters living in both fresh and salt water around the world. They have short brown to reddish-brown fur, with a small head and short limbs. They have sharp teeth and webbed feet with retractable claws on their front paws, and all of the species sport strong muscular tails that help them swim and dive.

The largest sea otter is the Giant Otter which can be found around the Amazon river. This guy can weigh up to 100 pounds (45.5 kg) and grow up to 7 feet (2.1 m) in length. The smallest otter is found from India to China and is called the Asian Small Clawed Otter. It’s considerable smaller at 11 pounds (5 kg) and is 3 feet (0.9 m) in length. All sea otters love the water and spend most of their lives in it.

Wild World Fact…
…sea otters have the densest fur of all animals – with 100,000 hairs per square centimeter – this is needed as the otter doesn’t have an extra layer of body fat to keep it warm.

The Seafood Diet

Otters not only love to eat they need to eat 25-40 percent of their own body weight just to stay warm. They consume approximately 100 different species of sea life including, crabs, mussels, squid and fish.

The otter hunts using sight and touch, plus it’s powerful swimming skills. It can also hold its breath up to 6 minutes. This fellow is also an excellent diver and will turn over large rocks in its quest for food. Once it has found a tasty morsel it will grab it with its front paws and bring it to the surface to eat, sometimes using it’s chest as a dining table.

The otter is one of the few animals that uses a tool - a rock makes a good hammer to crack open the tough shell of a mussel or crab.

It’s Sleepy Time

Since otters like to spend most of their time in the water, it’s only natural they would also adapt themselves to sleeping in it. The otter floats on it’s back with it’s head and feet stuck up in the air. The otter has also been known to find a kelp bed and roll itself around and around in a big leaf of sea kelp. This is the perfect “life-preserver” for the otter and keeps it from floating off.

Another way the otter sleeps is to clasp hands with a fellow sleepy otter, together they float and rest. A group of otters called a “raft” will cling to each other (front paws clasped) to rest and stay safe in bunches of 10 to as many as 100o individuals.

Wild World Fact…
…when sea otters form a raft the individual otters are usually all male or all female.

For more information on the wonderful sea otter, visit your local library, the Internet or a marine life aquarium such as Sea World.

Wonder Words

~ retractable ~ to draw or pull back

For more great articles and a new story everyday, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE and we even have an app!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Totally True Tuesday ~ Undercover Insects

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It’s fun to dress up and pretend you’re someone else, at least for a little while. But in the bug world looking different isn’t just for fun, it’s a way of life. Being in disguise helps insects hunt for food and stay safe. Some grasshoppers, spiders and caterpillars have a unique way of keeping “undercover.”

It’s a Stick…It’s a Leaf…It’s a Grasshopper?

The grasshoppers we’ve all seen aren’t too shy about hip-hopping and bopping around the long grass. But some of their far-away relatives need to be safer. The Monkey-Hoppers of the tropical rain forest use the shape and color of leaves in order to hunt and hide. Other grasshoppers known as Stick Grasshoppers have long, thin, bumpy brown bodies that look exactly like twigs. The Pygmy Grasshopper is also good at looking like a mossy log or the stony ground it lives on. In fact, they are so good at blending in you’ll probably never see one; at least not that you know of.

Crab Spider Surprise

It’s no secret that spiders catch bugs in their webs, but when it comes to the Crab Spider, he’s got a few extra sneaky secret weapons. To catch bees, flies, or moths, the crab spider’s front legs are very strong with a claw on the end, something like a crab. So when a bug comes near all it has to do is reach out and snap it up. If that isn’t enough, this funny fellow matches his colors to any flower he’s waiting on. However, patterns, dots and colours aren’t the only thing this rain forest spider can do. One spider actually looks like a big blob of bird droppings. Yuck! How’s that for a disguise?

Creepy Caterpillar Camouflage


Caterpillars need to keep safe from their many predators, so they have adapted different ways to keep hidden.

The Elephant-hawk moth caterpillar is large (3 in) and gets it’s name, not from its size, but rather from the way it will curve its body into a trunk-like posture when it feels threatened. This caterpillar also has unique markings all along its body that resembles a snake. It has a large head and four big eye-like patches that will scare off most hunting birds - at least for a little while.

The Wavy-lined Emerald moth caterpillar is one of the more fascinating and unusual of its species. This guy will actually take out pieces of the plant or flower that it’s munching on and stick them into it’s own back. This technique is very effective in keeping this creepy caterpillar camouflaged from most everything.

The next time you’re out for a nature walk look very carefully. That twig or pretty flower you spot may just be an undercover insect.

For more information on these and other bugs, check out your local library, a bug museum or the Internet.

To read more cool articles and fun stories, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE and we even have an app!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun Facts Friday ~ Cave Paintings

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Imagine you’re out one day collecting twigs for the fire when you come across a cave. This is the place where the elders of your tribe often go. Not sure what to expect, you clutch your torch and slowly enter. It’s dark as ink and cool. Suddenly, your light catches the image of a great beast on the wall. It’s a rhinoceros with four horses galloping behind it. You stand mesmerized as the flickering light seems to bring these animals to life. The cracked rough walls surround you and teem with other images…

Cave paintings date as far back as 40,000 years and are thought to have been used for communication and/or religious purposes. Let’s take a closer look at these amazing pieces of history.

Caveman Artist

Hundreds of years ago life was hard and very different from the times we live in now, so people did what they could to survive. With only crude weapons to use in hunting, Archeologists believe cave art was a way for earlier man to “capture” the spirit of the animal they painted, making it easier to hunt. Cavemen may have also believed once an animal’s image was drawn the physical abilities would be transferred to them. For example, if the animal was a mammoth the painter would gain strength, a deer would bring speed, and courage would come from a lion. Many of the cave paintings also show animals with spears through them. This may of been a way to ensure the painter had a successful hunt or to show younger men how to hunt – like a wall textbook!

The Art

The caveman painter didn’t have the traditional tools artists use today, so they had to make do. A pointed piece of flint was often used to carve the outline of the design. A more talented artist would use the natural bumps and crevices to help bring depth and dimension to their work. A crack may become a wound in the animal, a bulge, the head or back, or a hole could be an eye.

Once the figure was outlined color was then applied. This “paint” was derived from natural ingredients like; black from charcoal, and the soot of burned animal fat. Yellow, orange, brown and red was ground from iron ore into a fine powder and mixed with blood, plant juices or melted fat.

Once the colors were ready the artist would use brushes made of feathers or fur, their fingers, moss, the chewed ends of twigs, or blow the paint through a hollow bone or reed. The caveman painter also made the first crayon. This was done by melting tallow with ocher and then rolled into slender sticks.

The Art of Altamira

Out of all the hundreds of caves and their paintings that have been discovered, the Altamira (meaning high views in Spanish) is the most famous.

The discovery of this cave was made public in 1880 after a tree fell and disturbed the rocks that covered the cave entrance, which was around 13,000 years old! Altamira consists of 270 meters of twisty-turning passages and chambers, with paintings throughout the entire cave. The artwork includes animals like horses, bison, goats, a large doe, human hands, and symbols; however, the most impressive has to be the ceiling of Altamira which depicts 15 large bison and other animals.

For more information on cave paintings visit the library or the Internet.
Want to make your own cave painting? Find an interesting rock – one that is large enough to draw on and has some interesting texture to it – then grab a crayon or colored chalk and start sketching. Once you’re finished make up a story that goes along with the picture you drew and use it to tell your friends and family.

Wonder Words

~ Archeologist – a person who studies prehistoric people and their culture
~ tallow – the fat of sheep and ox or of some plants
~ ocher - the ore found in clay or iron used as a color to make paint

For more cool articles and awesome stories, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE and we even have an app!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wild World Wednesday ~ the Polar Bear

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We live in a wild world. Today we're visiting the frosty shores of the Arctic to take a peek at the polar bear. This mighty beast has loads to look at, so let's get started.

Not So White
To help keep the polar bear warm in all that snowy weather, its hair and skin are unlike other animals. The individual hairs on a polar bear are hollow and its skin is black. These two features help the bear absorb and hold the heat from the sun keeping it toasty warm. In fact, the polar bear tends to overheat more than it is ever cold.

The polar bear may look white, but it actually isn't. Because their hair is hollow the sun shining on each individual hair is reflected back and gives the appearance of being white.

Wild World Fact...
...polar bears can range in color from white, to creamy yellow to brown depending on the season.

BIG Bear!

The polar big is the biggest of its species and also the largest land predator. Males can grow up to 2000 pounds (800 kilos) and 10 feet (3 m) in length, while the females are up to 600 pounds (270 kilos) and 6.5 feet (1.9 m) in length.

The polar bears feet are built snow-tough! It's paws have long sharp claws for grasping and are snowshoe-like in nature - the polar bear can actually walk on ice and snow that a human would fall through! The pads on this bear's feet also have small "grippers" called papillae (something like the bumps on your tongue), that create a friction between its paws and the icy ground.

Did you know the polar bear also has webbed toes? It's true. The polar bear spends much of its time in the water and these specially built paws allow the bear to keep afloat; they use their front paws to propel them and their back legs to steer. In fact, it can swim up to 100 miles (161 km) at a time at the speed of 6 miles per hour.

Wild World Fact...

...the polar bear's fur is oily and water repellent, so all it has to do is shake to dry.

Baby Bears
Before Mom polar bear is ready to have her young she will dig a deep den out of the snow. This den could be one room or have many chambers. The female polar bear will then give birth in November or December to 1-3 cubs. The cubs are very small when they are born, less than a kilogram (1-1.5 pounds), are blind and have very little fur. Mom bear will stay in the den nursing her young until they are about 3 months old. At this time she will break through the snow and ice that has covered the mouth of her chambers where they will then emerge as a family. And even though the babies are able to walk, they stay with mom for about 2 1/2 years, learning how to hunt and survive on their own.
Wild World Fact...

...Baby polar bears learn how to "freeze" when Mom is hunting. If they make a move, mom bear will whack them on the back of the head.

To learn more about our icy friend the polar bear, check out your library or visit a zoo or marina.

For more articles and a new story everyday, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE and we even have an app!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Totally True Tuesday

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We all know dinosaurs lived many, many years ago before they became extinct. But did you know there’s other species of birds and mammals that once roamed our earth and oceans?

No Mo’ Dodo
Even though the Dodo bird didn’t have a great deal of time on earth, it’s often one of the first things we think of when we hear the word “extinct.” The Dodo species lived less than 100 years – it was discovered in 1598 and was extinct by 1681.

This grey, flightless, 3 foot tall bird (despite its large size – up to 40 pounds) was a member of the pigeon and dove family. It had a large hooked beak, a big, fluffy plume of white feathers on its hind-end, and stubby, weak wings. This fruit-loving bird was also thought to be quite friendly.

The Dodo’s lack of flight forced it to nest on the ground which may have led to its demise. Predators such as stray dogs and wild pigs would trample and eat the Dodo’s eggs as well as humans hunting the bird for its meat.

Is it wrong the Dodo’s gone? Imagine there was a Dodo in your own backyard or Dodo petting-zoos where we could feed this peculiar bird. What fun!

Cows of the Sea

The Steller Sea Cow was found along the North Pacific coast to California and Japan. This large manatee-like creature was given its name by Georg Wilhelm Steller who discovered it in 1741.

The Steller Sea Cow grew up to 25.9 feet long and weighed up to 4 tons. It had a small head, stubby front limbs and a whale-like tail. Its think, black skin was described as resembling tree bark. Since the Steller Sea Cow only ate plants, it had no teeth, only two flat bones one above the other. It never came to shore and lived in cold water.

Once the Sea Cow was discovered it didn’t take long before their numbers dwindled. It was very tame and docile which made it an easy target for hunters. The Steller Sea Cow’s hide was used in making boats, the fat for use in oil lamps and its meat for food.

Unfortunately, within 27 years of its discovery the slow moving Sea Cow was hunted to extinction.

Is it wrong the Sea Cow is gone? Perhaps, if this creature would have been given a chance we’d be able to watch a herd of them, slowly swimming by as they dug up their favorite food, the sea kelp. What a sight!

Oh Deer!

The Irish Deer or Irish elk, as it’s also called, is the largest known of its species. It stood 7 feet tall at the shoulder and had 12 foot wide antlers that could weigh up to 90 pounds.

It lived in throughout Europe, northern Asia and northern Africa. It’s called the “Irish” deer as well-preserved fossils of the giant animal have been commonly found in lake sediments and peat bogs in Ireland.

Since the Irish Deer went extinct approximately 7,700 years ago it’s difficult to determine what the cause of its demise was. Could it have been over-hunting by man? Or perhaps a change in the vegetation it had to eat, leading to malnutrition? We’ll probably never know for sure. However, if you want to see just how impressive this gigantic beast was, visit the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, where the remains of this huge animal is on display.

Is it wrong the Irish Deer is gone? Imagine you’re walking through the woods and suddenly you catch a glimpse of the biggest animal you’ve ever seen. It stops and sniffs the air. Its giant antlers perfectly level with the top of a tree. What a sight!

If you want to learn more about these or other extinct animals, visit your local library, a museum, or the internet.

For more articles and a new fiction storie everyday, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE and we have an app!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Furry Friend Friday ~ the Hamster

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Do you or someone you know own a furry friend called a hamster?

They were first discovered in the Syrian desert about 70 years ago and have gained popularity over the years. They're cute, small, fluffy, very adaptable to living with their human caretakers and make a fun pet. Let's take a closer look at these amazing little creatures.

The Cheeky Chum

Other than being the perfect size to fit in your hand, hamsters are also known for their ability to stuff their cheeks full of food. This feature was very handy to have when they lived in the desert and had to travel long distances to find and transport food back to their underground den.
In the wild these rodents like to eat seeds, grasses, fruit and vegetables as well as insects and small lizards. If you keep one as a pet, you would normally feed it a convenient pre-made mixture of hamster seed.

Furry Friend Fact...
...in the wild hamsters burrow up to 2 meters (6.5 ft) deep.

Other features of the hamster include its tiny stubby tail, pointy ears and dark beady eyes. The smallest hamster is the dwarf species at about 4.5 cm (1.8 in) long. The biggest hamster is the common hamster. It measures 34 cm (13 in) long.

Furry Friend Fact...
...hamsters are color blind and can only see about 15.2 cm (6 in) in front of them.

Keeping a Pet Hamster

If you want the enjoyment of keeping a hamster as a pet, you first have to make sure you're ready for the responsibility. Hamsters need to be kept safe from larger animals and cannot be dropped - so be careful when handling them.

You will need a durable wire or plastic cage or fish aquarium (without the water, of course), water bottle, pine shavings for the bottom, food container and some bedding material. Since hamsters are mostly active in the evening and at night, you will need something for your furry friend to do while you're asleep. Most cages you purchase will come with a built in wheel your hamster can run on - like a treadmill for rodents. You might also add an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll to his cage. Don't be surprised, however, if your hamster decides to chew it up. But, don't worry he's not swallowing it, just recycling!

Be sure your furry friend has plenty of fresh food and water to drink every day, plus an added treat like carrots, peanuts or even a raisin or two.

Even though hamsters don't have any body odour, their cages can get quite stinky if left too long, so make it part of your routine to clean out his cage each week. And don't forget to scrub out the dishes and water bottle, too.

Furry Friend Fact...
...most hamsters are allergic to cedar.

If you want the fun and experience of having a hamster for a pet, be sure to check with a parent first, then take a trip to your local animal shelter or pet store. Here you'll find everything you need to be an awesome, responsible pal for this very special creature. With the proper care and lots of love, you'll have a furry friend that will give you hours of enjoyment!

If you have a hamster leave a comment in this section and tell us all about your very own furry friend. What's its name? Is it a boy or a girl? You can even draw a picture of your hamster and send it into knowonder. You could be one of our lucky artists that gets your picture on the magazine. Have fun!

For more cool articles and awesome stories, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's totally FREE and updated daily with new fiction.  We even have an app!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wild World Wednesday ~ the Aardvark

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We live in a Wild World. Today we are visiting Africa to check out the strange creature known as an aardvark. This critter is fun and fascinating, so let’s take a closer look.

What Are You?

The aardvark shares a little bit of a lot of different creatures’ features. It has the snout of a pig, ears like a rabbit, the long powerful tail of a kangaroo, webbed feet like a duck, claws like a bear and a super long, sticky tongue of an anteater.

So what exactly is the aardvark? It’s in a class all by itself (Orycteropus afer) and is truly one of a kind.

Wild World Fact…
…aardvark means earth pig in Afrikaan

Putting it all Together

The aardvark may seem like it was pieced together from other animals, but its entire body serves one purpose; to hunt and eat ants and termites.

The aardvark’s long snout is excellent at sniffing out bugs and has extra folds of skin and bristled hair that protects it from getting hurt. Once it’s located a food source the aardvark will use its 1.5 foot long tongue to suck them up with. The shovel-like claws on its front feet are extremely hard and sharp so it can dig through the tough termite mounds. If a particular termite hill is giving the aardvark trouble, it will balance on its tail while kicking at it with its powerful back legs. The aardvark is also very wary of its surroundings and is always listening with its rabbit-like ears for approaching danger.

Aardvarks can weigh up to 170 pounds and stand about 2 feet tall at the shoulder.

Wild World Fact…

…aardvarks can eat 50,000 termites for one meal

Hot Diggity-Diggers

The aardvark lives in the sandy grass-lands of Africa. It’s nocturnal and likes to sleep away the better part of each day. When it is active the aardvark moves from food source to food source digging small (10 foot long) tunnels to keep it safe from predators. A larger more permanent burrow is dug by the female when she’s ready to have a baby. The female will stay with her baby until it’s about 6 months old.

Once the small temporary and larger burrows are abandoned, they can become great homes for animals such as, pythons, porcupines, small mammals and even birds.
Wild World Fact…
…aardvarks are great swimmers and can also walk up to 30 km in one night searching for food.

Now that we’ve learned all about the amazing aardvark, print out this fun puzzle to find the hidden words – Aardvark Word Search

For more interesting articles and a new daily story, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE and we have an app!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Totally True Tuesday ~ Teammates; Thunder & Lightning

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KA BOOOOOM!

You are suddenly awakened by a loud noise that shakes the house. It’s pouring rain as flashes of lightning streaks through the sky. A thunderstorm has paid you a visit…

Now that the warmer weather is here we can expect to experience the occasional thunderstorm. It may be scary when the thunder starts to roll and lightening is zip-zapping everywhere, but let’s take a look at what’s really going on in those dark clouds.

Thunderheads

A thunderstorm is more likely to happen on a hot sticky day. It occurs when the cold air above sinks and meets the rising, warm, moist air. These two systems collide and produce a thunderhead (storm clouds). Once a thunderstorm builds it can bring lightening, heavy rain, strong winds, hail and even a tornado.

Thunder likes to hang out in cumulonimbus clouds. These turn the sky a bruise-like color; purply-black and blue, and can be massive in size. The tallest could reach 12 miles (19 km) high – that’s twice the size of Mt. Everest!
Fun Thunder Fact…
…the Vikings believed thunder was produced by the angry, bad-tempered god, Thor, throwing his hammer across the sky.

Teammates; Thunder & Lightning

Thunder and lightning are teammates and are usually found together. Why? Because lightning is what gives thunder its loud rumble.

Lightning is hot, in fact it’s about five times hotter than the surface of the sun. When lightning streaks through the sky, it heats the air up so quickly that it makes the characterisitic KABOOM sound we know as thunder.

Thunder and lightning also happens at exactly the same time. But because light travels faster than sound we see the lightning before we hear the thunder.

Fun Thunder Fact…
…right now there’s about 1800 thunderstorms occuring throughout the world

The Flash

Lightning doesn’t just happen, it needs some help from the thundercloud. Inside a storm cloud there are strong winds hurling water droplets around. These droplets bump and bash into each other causing the cloud to crackle with static electricity. The static builds and builds until finally it breaks through the cloud and streaks through the sky as a lightning bolt.

Lightning comes in different forms; fork, sheet, ribbon and the ball. The ball lightning looks like fire and is very rare; however, there has been reports of this type of lightning floating through an open window and exploding with a huge bang.

Lightning packs a whallop. The spark can reach over 5 miles (8 km) in length, raise the temperature of the air around it by 50,000 degrees F (27,700 C) and contain a hundred million volts of electricity!

Fun Lightning Fact…
…It’s estimated that earth is hit by more than one hundred lightning bolts every second

Now that we’ve figured out what’s going on in a thunderstorm, perhaps it won’t be so scary next time one rolls into your town. But, even though we know the science behind these weather marvels, be sure to stay safe indoors when one occurs.

For more fun articles and a new story every day, please visit knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fun Facts Friday ~ Bubble-ience

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Who doesn’t like bubbles? They’re fun to blow, fun to float and really fun to POP. Plus, there’s actually a lot of cool science behind these soapy suds.

Bubbles Are Super Heroes

Bubbles have a duel personality just like some super heroes. You see, one end of a soap molecule is hydrophilic, (hy-druh-fil-ik), meaning it likes water. The other end is hydrophobic (hy-dro-pho-bik) which doesn’t like water. So when you pour liquid soap into water the end that likes the water immediately attaches itself to the water. The other end that doesn’t like water needs to get away, so it looks for some grime to attach itself to. With a little scrub from you the bubbles can get in between the dirt particles, surround it and BLAM! The bubbles have saved the day leaving you with sparkling clean dishes.

Bubbles Trouble? Always Round

Have you ever blown bubbles through a square or triangular wand? What shape did you get? That’s right, round. This is because soap molecules cling to each other in every direction. These molecules also become very elastic, so when you add air to them they stretch like a balloon and try to hold onto the air. The sphere has the smallest surface area of all the shapes, so it’s the easiest to form and trap the air.

Bubble Color

Even though bubbles look clear they can actually have a rainbow of colors. Light acts like a wave. When light waves hit the ever changing surface of a bubble some waves are reflected, and we see them as colors. Sunlight is best to see colors since sunlight is white light, and white light makes all colors possible. Watch for your bubble’s rainbow the next time your outside making bubbles.

Top Five Bubble Dislikes

Like us, bubbles have things they dislike. Here are the top five:

5) Dryness. For example, dry bubble making instruments like wands or straws, dry fabrics like polyester shirts, even your dry hair.
4) Anything dirty is also a no no to bubbles. Dust, salt or other air pollutants can quickly POP a bubble.
3) Bubbles despise the heat since they depend on moisture to keep their form.
2) Gravity also takes it’s toll on bubbles as the liquid at the top of the bubble is slowly pulled down, weakening it.
1) And the number one dislike of bubbles? Poking. It breaks them, of course.

So now that you know all the fun science that makes up a bubble, perhaps you’ll want to become a Bubble-izard, waving a new fangled bubble wand? Or maybe a Bubble-ientist…or would that be Bubble-ologist?

More Bubble Facts

~ The biggest free floating soap bubble recorded is in the Guinness World Book of Records. The bubble is 2.98 meters cubed. If this bubble was filled with water it would hold 788 gallons and weigh 3.2 tonnes.
~ A bubble entertainer by the name of Eiffel Plasterer, made a hobby of sealing bubbles in jars. One of his bubbles lasted almost a year before it popped.

For more fun articles and a new story every day, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wild World Wednesday ~ the Camel

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We live in a wild world. Today we’re visiting the dusty deserts of Africa to check out the Bactrian camel. These furry fellows have been domesticated for about 4000 years and are used for travelling and transporting goods.

One Hump or Two?

What did one camel say to the other when she was serving tea? One hump or two?

Camels come in two varieties; one hump and two humped. A two-humped camel is called a Bactrian and the one-hump variety is a Dromedary. Contrary to a popular belief camels do not store water in their hump; it’s all fat. The fat stored in the hump (rather than around the rest of its body) ensures the animal will stay cool in the heat of the desert. This fatty tissue is also an energy reserve when food is scarce.

Wild World Facts…
…a healthy camel’s hump(s) can weigh up to 35 kilograms (77 pounds) or more!
…a Camel’s total weight can be anywhere from 250 to 680 kilograms (550-1496 pounds)

Built Desert Tough

The Bactrian camel is the perfect animal for the desert region. It has long fur around its head, humps and ears and its eyes are shaded by long eyelashes. All this hair helps protect the animal from swirling dust and raging sand storms.

The camel’s feet are also specially built to walk on sand. They have 2 toes on each foot with a hoof-like toenail on each. When the camel walks or runs the pads on the feet spread out cushioning the animal, and keeping it from sinking or slipping.

Wild World Facts…

…Camels usually walk, but they are able to run up to 40 miles per hour in a short sprint and 25 miles per hour on a gallop
…Camels are used to carry large loads (up to 600 pounds) for their human owners and are able to travel where most vehicles cannot.

Spew on You

You wouldn’t think an animal as large as a camel would need to defend itself, but it does. How? By spitting and kicking. When the camel feels threatened or just plain irritated it will throw up a foul smelling, green fluid or it will kick you with it’s powerful legs (which can move in all four directions). So, stand back!

Wild World Facts…
…Camels lips are split to help them graze
…Camels can eat anything (and will) from thorny twigs to peoples shoes
…Camels have tough skin inside their mouth to protect them from being cut

Take the Camel Quiz

~ What is a two-humped camel called?
~ Why does the camel need long eyelashes?
~ How fast can a camel run?

Did you answer all the questions? If not check the article for these fun facts.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Totally True Tuesday ~ The World’s Largest…

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Summer is almost here and with it brings barbeques, picnics and beach fun. These occasions are great, but what makes them even better?

Fun Food!

Hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza have been the staple of many summertime get together. They’re simple to make, fun to eat and always bring a smile to the faces of young and old alike. These culinary delights are great as they are, but what if they were made bigger? Grab your appetite and check out the world’s largest hot dog, hamburger and pizza.

Hot Dog A-Plenty

Foot-long hot dogs have become more and more popular, but what about 250 feet of delicious deli? The good folks of Monterrey, Mexico, set out to break the world’s record and they did it! This huge 76.23 meter hot dog took the prize beating out Japan’s 61 meter (200 feet) hot dog.
Did you know…
the average hot dog is eaten in 6.1 bites?
…26.8 million hot dogs are sold in US stadiums? That would circle the bases 36,000 times!
…hot dog eating champ, Takeru Kobayashi, breaks his own record by eating 53 and 3/4 hot dogs in 12 minutes?
Super-Size Me
The fast food industry may have a super-large menu option, but it has nothing on the world’s largest hamburger.

This mega-meat-monster was made at the Alameda County Fair and weighed in at 777 pounds; officially the world’s biggest. It took 14 hours to cook, was 5 feet in diameter, 3 feet thick, plus it held 50 pounds of lettuce, 12 pounds of pickles and 50 pounds of onions. After weighing the burger, hundreds of people paid .99 cents to sample a bite of this meat-tastic delight.
Did you know…?
Americans consume approximately 13 billion hamburgers a year?
…the first hamburger was made in Hamburg, Germany?
…60 percent of all “sandwiches” sold are hamburgers?
That’s One Big Pizza!
Whether you like it thick or thin, loaded up or just with cheese, pizza is a fast all-in-one tastey meal. The world’s biggest pizza, however, is another story. Made in Norwood, South Africa, this gargantuan pie was 122 ft. 8 inches in diameter and was topped with 3,960 pounds (1,800 kg) of cheese, 19,800 pounds (900 kg) of tomatoe puree and 19, 800 pounds (900 kg) of chopped onions.
Did you know…?
around 251,770,000 pounds of pepperoni is consumed every year?
…34 percent of all pizza orders want pepperoni?
…some popular pizza toppings in Japan are squid, mayo and potatoe?
Wonder Word
~ culinary ~ relating to the kitchen or cooking
For more articles and a fun daily story, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fun Facts Friday ~ Who Am I?

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I live in the shallow ocean water preferable in sea grass meadows and reefs. I move very slowly even though my fins beat up to 70 times a second. I don't have a stomach or any teeth and my jaw is fused together, but I love to eat!

Who Am I?

A Seahorse, of course!

The Horse of the Sea

As odd as this little fellow may seem it comes equipped with everything it needs to survive in a very big ocean. First of all it can change colour to blend in with it's surroundings. It has a prehensile tail that helps anchor it to vegetation or a chunk of coral. Plus, it can rotate each eye separately and in a complete 360 degree circle - no one is sneaking up on this little guy! The seahorse is considered a fish even though it doesn't have scales, but rather thin skin that is stretched over hard, bony ring-shaped plates.

The seahorse may not look like he's travelling fast, but there's a lot of motion going on - up to 70 beats a second! The dorsal fin (on its back) propels the seahorse forward while the small fins behind each gill help it change directions and to hover.

Super-Sucker-Snout

Since its jaws are fused together and it doesn't have any teeth to chew with the seahorse must suck up tiny bits of food through its snout. Once it goes through the snout it still has to fit in its tiny mouth. However, zooplankton, fish larvae, teeny shrimp, and sea worms are all small enough for it to feed on. The seahorse must also eat constantly since it doesn't have a stomach. In fact, it can swallow anywhere from 50-300 tiny animals per hour and eat up to 10 hours a day!

He's a Daddy and a Mommy

The male seahorse is the only fish or animal that gives birth to its young. Dad seahorse has a pouch like a kangaroo on the front of his body that holds the eggs and the hatchlings after their born. Plus, Dad is always "expecting." Once the brood is released from Dad's pouch he becomes pregnant again.

Seahorses are also monogamous and the partners are never far away from each other. When seahorses are courting they will latch tails and swim together.

More Fun Facts

~ The smallest seahorse is .6 inches (thumbnail size) and the biggest is 14 inches long
~ Baby seahorses are fully developed when they leave their father's pouch and have the appetite of an adult
~ There are over 30 species of seahorses

Wonder Words

~ fused ~ to become joined together as if by melting
~ prehensile ~ adapted for grabbing especially by wrapping around
~ zooplankton ~ the passively floating or weakly swimming minute animal life
~ monogamous ~ having only one mate for a lifetime
~ courting ~ to seek an alliance with

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