Time to get crafty!

Just for Kids

July 08, 1999|By Devin Rose

With no classes and no homework, summer's the perfect time to try something new. Wish you knew the names of butterflies in your neighborhood? Longing to brush up on your painting skills? Then do what we did -- grab a book and get busy.

There's a lot to love about the "Fun With Nature Take-Along Guide" ($15, NorthWord Press). It's jammed with fascinating info and fabulous drawings.

The book also provides activities to try -- and that's where we ran into trouble. We had to try, "Watch Chipmunks Walk a Tightrope" and asked reader Robin B., 11, to do the experiment for us.


What you need:

* 6 peanuts in shells

* 6 pieces of string, each 8 inches long

* A clothesline or a rope tied between two trees about 5 feet off the ground

What to do:

1. Tie one end of each string around the middle of a peanut.

2. Tie the other end of each string to the clothesline or rope.

3. Tie the peanuts to the line so they are at least 1 foot apart.

4. Watch your tightrope from a distance so the chipmunks will be comfortable with it.

What the book says will happen:

"After the chipmunks have found the peanuts by smell, they will have to become high-wire walkers to get them. Then they will carefully try to walk to the peanut string. They will probably try to untie the string from the peanut."

Robin takes a crack at it:

First, Robin's mom informed us that she hadn't seen chipmunks in their back yard, the site of the experiment, but had spotted squirrels. We said we'd consider the experiment a success if anything -- chipmunks, squirrels, even a poodle -- was drawn to the peanuts. Here's the lowdown on Robin's high-flying peanut act:

"I am doing the peanut tightrope walk thing with my trusty-dusty assistant, Eric W., 9. We at first thought it wasn't working cuz Scout (my dog) was out. We put her back inside. Still nothing ...

"... It is about two weeks later. We've tried moving it, wrapping the peanuts in their string and even raising it, but still it acts as a squirrel repellent. (I think they think it's a trap!) They won't even come in our yard now! Possibly the peanuts taste bad to them. Sheesh! Eric and I definitely don't recommend this craft."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.