50 Dangerous Things: 34

Number 34: Deconstruct an Appliance

Our old printer was stuffed, and I was about to bin it when I remembered that taking apart an appliance was considered one of the 50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do. Perfect.

Then the printer sat on the floor under my desk for a few months until one snowy, freezy Sunday, when the boys were bored and belligerent – including the biggest of them all. While I set out to do the grocery shopping, they set out to discover what the inside of a printer looks like.

50 Dangerous Things: 34

Armed with screwdrivers and other assorted tools, they spent a good hour-and-a-half dismantling that printer, until every last screw and spring had been removed. They moved bits and prodded electronic things, and Tall was in his element, teaching his sons all sorts of interesting facts about mechanical engineering and product design.

50 Dangerous Things: 34

Tiny wanted to try and put the printer back together again, but we managed to dissuade him. Both he and Pickle had a great time hunting out the tiniest of screws and deciding which screwdriver they needed to use.

This was a great exercise for their inquiring minds; Tiny already exhibits similar engineering traits to his dad, so this was right up his alley.

50 Dangerous Things: 34 Deconstruct an Appliance – DONE

50 Dangerous Things: 01 Lick a 9-Volt Battery
50 Dangerous Things: 11 Throw Rocks
50 Dangerous Things: 15 Throw Things from a Moving Car
50 Dangerous Things: 28 Climb a Tree
50 Dangerous Things: 32 Change a Tyre
50 Dangerous Things: 21 Spend an Hour Blindfolded

50 Dangerous Things: 05 Stick Your Hand out the Window

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50 Dangerous Things: 05

(I just found this post lurking in my Drafts from early 2015. Slack!)

Number 05: Stick Your Hand out the Window

A few days after the aerodynamics lessons of Number 15, Tiny asked if he could stick his hand out the car window. We were driving through town, and the windows were down because it was hot.

We talked a lot about what it felt like, and he had some really interesting things to say about wind and air. He said he was drawing on the air, and found it funny that we couldn’t really do that even though the wind pressure made it feel like he was pushing his hand into something solid.

He moved his hand around, changing the position (vertical vs. horizontal, open vs. closed, fingers spread vs. fingers together) and his own movements (still vs. waving), and we talked briefly about resistance, pressure and lift (I tried to search far, far back to science lessons at school, but…yeah).

It was fun and it opened up a very rudimentary conversation about stuff, but I have no photos because I was driving.

50 Dangerous Things: 05 Stick Your Hand out the Window – DONE

50 Dangerous Things: 01 Lick a 9-Volt Battery
50 Dangerous Things: 11 Throw Rocks
50 Dangerous Things: 15 Throw Things from a Moving Car
50 Dangerous Things: 28 Climb a Tree
50 Dangerous Things: 32 Change a Tyre
50 Dangerous Things: 21 Spend an Hour Blindfolded

50 Dangerous Things: 21

Number 21: Spend an Hour Blindfolded

This one came about while the boys were waiting for dessert one evening over the weekend. I’d been in the kitchen, and came out to find Tiny with a tea towel wrapped around his eyes, with Tall leading him around the lounge asking him to guess where he was.

He was giggling and I was surprised to see him so comfortable without his sight; he’s not a kid who panics easily, but he does have a tendency to want to watch someone else do something before he gives it a try.

50 Dangerous Things: 21 50 Dangerous Things: 21Back at the table, he ate his meringue and ice cream blindfolded, and we played a game of Guess the Fruit as well. It was interesting to see him instinctively searching for the edge of his bowl with one hand, with his other resting on the mat right beside it. After dessert, all three of my boys played a game of Guess the Toy, followed by Guess the Schleich Animal which Tiny was very good at.

Tiny’s thoughts:
“It was dark, but I wasn’t scared.”
“It was easy guessing the animals but [Pickle] kept telling me the answer which was silly.”
“I liked following the sound of your voice [from the lounge into the dining room].”

He didn’t spend an entire hour blindfolded, but we’re ticking this one off anyway.

50 Dangerous Things: 21 Spend an Hour Blindfolded – DONE

50 Dangerous Things: 01 Lick a 9-Volt Battery
50 Dangerous Things: 11 Throw Rocks
50 Dangerous Things: 15 Throw Things from a Moving Car
50 Dangerous Things: 28 Climb a Tree
50 Dangerous Things: 32 Change a Tyre

50 Dangerous Things: 32

Number 32: Change a Tyre

We’re cheating with this one a little…only a little, because Tiny has helped change a car tyre…it was just in October 2014, before the boys were given this book!

I’d taken the boys to Invercargill while Tall was in Thailand for work, and we visited a friend at her parent’s farm. I must have slashed the tyre whilst driving on the metal access road; two days after we got back to Dunedin, the tyre was completely flat and unable to be repaired.

I purchased a new tyre (ouch!) and Tall said he’d put it on for me. Tiny was eager to help, and so one evening, in his pyjamas and dinosaur robe, he went outside and helped his Daddy change the tyre.

His job was to hold the lug nuts, and to help use the car jack; he made sure Daddy had tightened the lug nuts sufficiently when the new tyre was in place, and kicked the tyre to make sure it was all okay. Job done.

50 Dangerous Things: 32 Change a Tyre – DONE

50 Dangerous Things: 01 Lick a 9-Volt Battery
50 Dangerous Things: 11 Throw Rocks
50 Dangerous Things: 15 Throw Things from a Moving Car
50 Dangerous Things: 28 Climb a Tree

50 Dangerous Things: 28

Number 28: Climb a Tree

Tiny’s nine-year-old cousin is a bit of a monkey when it comes to trees; if she can climb it, she’s up it. Her enthusiasm for tree climbing encouraged Tiny to give this one a go (with a bit of Daddy-help), twice! I missed it both times, sadly, so you’ll have to make do with these photos:

Christmas 2014 50 Dangerous Things 50 Dangerous ThingsThe first tree Tiny “climbed” was at Woodhaugh Gardens; it was big and wide, with a thick trunk and plenty of low branches to balance on. The second was at Lake Wanaka, on the lake shore.

Both times, Tiny was nervous but keen to try. The first time, I don’t think he actually climbed the tried (he may have been put up it), but the second time, he climbed a wee way before feeling a little scared.

He told me it was “a little bit tricky” and that he couldn’t reach the “best climbing bits”, but he was very proud of himself nonetheless.

50 Dangerous Things: 28 Climb a Tree – DONE

50 Dangerous Things: 01 Lick a 9-Volt Battery
50 Dangerous Things: 11 Throw Rocks
50 Dangerous Things: 15 Throw Things from a Moving Car

50 Dangerous Things: 15

Number 15: Throw Things from a Moving Car

On the way home to Dunedin from Wanaka, we stopped to buy stone fruit from one of the many orchards in Cromwell. As soon as I was back in the car, the boys were chanting for plums, and when Tiny asked what he should do with his stone, I thought we may as well knock off another Dangerous Thing.

Cue windows down, plum stones flying. Tiny loved this one – he was allowed his window down while Daddy was driving super-fast (within the speed limit, of course), and he got to throw things out of it.

He experimented with his throws and where he aimed the stones, but his findings were always the same: “It keeps bending backwards!!”

I left it to Tall to explain the intricacies of aerodynamics and drag…

(I have no pictures to illustrate this one, unfortunately!)

50 Dangerous Things: 15 Throw Things from a Moving Car – DONE

50 Dangerous Things: 01 Lick a 9-Volt Battery
50 Dangerous Things: 11 Throw Rocks

50 Dangerous Things: 11

Number 11: Throw Rocks

When we decided to take the boys and their cousins to the Lake Wanaka outlet one windy afternoon, this was the perfect Dangerous Thing to attempt. My boys (in fact, all kida, I’d guess) looooove throwing stones into the water, so adding an extra element was only going to make it even more fun.

The spot we chose to lay our towels just happened to have a pre-made target nearby: someone had created a tiny little pool on the shore of the lake. My seven-year-old nephew decided that it made the perfect target, and a throwing competition commenced.

50 Dangerous Things: 11 50 Dangerous Things: 11 50 Dangerous Things: 11Pickle didn’t want to play; he preferred throwing stones at random. He’s two-and-a-half. Yep.

Tiny thought it was brilliant: “It was easy, but I sometimes missed the target, and then the rock would splash into the water behind the target. But the first time, I hit the target!”

Did he change his throwing technique when this happened? “No…but I tried to point my arm in the direction of the target before I threw with this hand.” (*waving throwing hand*)

50 Dangerous Things: 11 Throw Rocks – DONE

50 Dangerous Things: 01 Lick a 9-Volt Battery

50 Dangerous Things: 01

We’re starting off the new year living dangerously, encouraging our kids to do things they probably shouldn’t be encouraged to do. Luckily, at the ages of four-and-three-quarters, and two-and-a-half, their knowledge of “danger” means that both Tiny and Pickle are easily kept on the straight-and-narrow right now, and think that the concept of doing “dangerous things” is a little bit scary, a smidgen naughty, and pretty darn awesome.

Our boys don’t own their own tablets, mobile phones or televisions, and they know that watching cartoons or playing games are a real treat, but it’s still important to me that they are encouraged to investigate the big, wide world around them as much as possible. I love the concept of this book, and I know my family is going to have a lot of fun working its way through all 50 tasks.

50 Dangerous ThingsNumber 01: Lick a 9-volt Battery

Simple. No special equipment required, other than a spare smoke alarm battery, and two excited little boys.

I read the instructions to my wee men, and they couldn’t wait to give it a go…although Tiny insisted I go first to make sure it didn’t hurt. When I said it tingled, he decided it was safe to try, and then we were off on a battery licking marathon.50 Dangerous Things: 01 50 Dangerous Things: 01 50 Dangerous Things: 01 50 Dangerous Things: 01 50 Dangerous Things: 01Pickle didn’t like it. “It hurt,” he told me sadly; he declined second turn.

“It feels like someone is tickling my tongue!” Tiny giggled, demanding to do it again…and again…and again.

50 Dangerous Things: 01 Lick a 9-volt Battery – DONE