This Dice Game Makes Gift Exchanges Even More Fun November 27 2017

This fun gift exchange dice game will have everyone stealing and laughing all night!

Christmas Party - Kid Games and Ideas November 27 2017

Simple Machine Science for Kids: Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen by Buggy and Buddy

Whenever I  invite my kids to participate in science experiments, my main goal is NOT to make sure they master a set concept, but simply to allow them to explore the activity in their own way. Giving this freedom to children inspires them to make predictions and critically think about the world around them in a pressure-free setting.  

We don’t really get snow in our neck of the woods so we have to create our own imaginary snow activities~ like our indoor snowy toy car ramp, or like this activity- launching ping pong ball snowmen!


Ping Pong Ball Snowmen

Materials for Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen

  • Ping pong balls (Optional: Draw snowmen faces on the ping pong balls with Sharpiesto make this science activity winter themed!)
  • Wooden yardstick
  • Something to use as a fulcrum (Examples: coffee can, large wooden toy block, a log, or a brick )
  • Small plastic cup
  • Strong tape (like packing tape or masking tape)
  • An open space to do the activity (like your yard or a nearby park)
  • Optional: Paper and pencil for science journaling 



1. Tape a plastic cup to one end of the yardstick. (We started off with just a few pieces of tape, but soon realized we needed to add quite a bit more to keep the cup from flying off the yardstick. Really tape that baby down with some strong tape.)


Building a lever from a yardstick


2. Grab your ping pong ball snowmen, your yardstick (with cup attached) and whatever you’re using as the fulcrum (in our case a coffee can) and head outside. Find an open space (like your yard) to set up your activity.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


2. Place the yardstick over the coffee can (or whatever item you’ve found to use as the fulcrum).


Building a lever from a yardstick


3. Put a ping pong ball snowman into the cup.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


4. Give the snowman a little pep talk before his launch.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


4. Push down on the opposite end of the yardstick quickly (with either your hand or foot) and observe what happens to the ping pong ball.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


5. Allow plenty of time for children to explore launching the ping pong balls. Optional: Encourage children to record what they are noticing in their science journals. Younger children can illustrate what is happening with simple pictures. 


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


6. Depending on the age and interest of your child, introduce the terms lever and fulcrum. (A lever is basically a stick or rod that uses a pivot point or fulcrum to move something. In this case the yardstick is the lever, the coffee can is the fulcrum, and the lever is moving the ping pong ball.)


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)- Buggy and Buddy


7. Invite your child to observe what happens to the ping pong ball when changing the position of the fulcrum. Older children can use the markings on the yardstick to record the location of the fulcrum in their science journal and how each location affects the distance the ping pong ball travels.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)~ Buggy and Buddy


This activity can be a great learning experience for any age! Theo at 2 years old had a blast launching his ping pong ball snowman! He felt proud being able to set up the activity on his own and gained experience with cause and effect.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)- Buggy and Buddy


Lucy, age 5, was determined to see how she could set the lever up to get the ball to go the furthest by changing the location of the fulcrum after each launch. And she was very excited to find out what would happen when she launched lots of snowmen at once. She made all kinds of predictions as she explored our lever activity!


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)- Buggy and Buddy

Want to Go Even Further?

Related activities to extend the learning for various ages.

  • Play on a seesaw at your local playground. How is the seesaw the same and different as your ball launching lever? Do you think the seesaw is a lever? Why or why not?
  • Where do you see levers being used in your everyday life? (Some examples: scissors, seesaw, pliers)
  • Go online or to the library and research first class, second class, and third class levers.
  • Design and build a smaller version of the lever we made today.


Launching Ping Pong Ball Snowmen with a Lever (Science for Kids)- Buggy and Buddy

 Winter STEM for Kids: Launch Ping Pong Ball Snowmen

Christmas Sweater Party Hacks - Picking Wine November 15 2014

Our friends over at The Washington Post had a fantastic clip on how to select wines for your holiday party; enjoy!

Ugly Sweater Party Ideas: Gluten Free Options December 16 2013

Who said an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party needs gluten? Preparing for our upcoming chat with Elizabeth Hasselbeck, I realized we have something in common, we're both gluten free - so to help anyone else out there that happens to be looking for a few GF holiday meals, I wanted to provide a few great resources:

Host a Holiday Party on a Budget December 10 2013

Holiday party ideas on a budget

It’s time to celebrate the holidays with friends and family.

No matter what your style, you can throw a winter celebration that fits. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Here are some ideas.

Game night

* Play two truths and a lie, holiday edition. Talk about two awesome or awful gifts you’ve actually received and include a third that you never got. The goal is to see if your friends can figure out the two you actually received.

* Play Christmas Minute to Win It. The idea of the game, based on the NBC television show, is to create quick but challenging activities for one another — like building a pyramid out of 28 green Solo cups so it looks like a Christmas tree, or use empty wrapping paper tubes as a straw to pick up and transport ping pong balls — all in just one minute. You can compete as teams or one-on-one. Minute to Win It is a fun way to get laughs out of everyone. And it keeps everyone busy.

* Play charades based on Christmas carols. Act out a specific song and see who can guess which one it is

New Year’s Eve parties

* Play games similar to the ones above but with New Year’s themes. Count down the hours until midnight by coming up with activities, writing them on small pieces of paper and placing the suggestions inside balloons. Inflate the balloons and then pop a balloon once every hour and complete the activity inside.

Ugly sweater party

This gives everyone has a chance to be creative and see what others come up with.

You could either purchase a new sweate, knit one if you’re handy with yarn, or you could buy a cheap, plain sweater and then add to it. You might attach battery operated lights, tinsel and/or ornaments. Consider trying to make your sweater look like a tree or reindeer. Remember, the tackier, the better.

Gift swaps

To plan a Secret Santa party, you’ll need a bit of time. Start organizing soon. Get your group of friends together and draw names. During the week leading up to the party, have everyone find discreet ways to deliver their gifts without the other person knowing. You might opt to give one another smaller gifts throughout the week.

You will want to set minimum and maximum spending amounts and a specific number of gifts to give each other.

This will lead to lots of excitement leading up to the party, where the biggest gifts will be given. Each person will be anxious to figure out who drew his or her name. Have some other party games ready to keep the fun going.

If Secret Santa isn’t the route you want to take, consider a white elephant or new gift exchange. If you go with a white elephant, have everyone find items they no longer want. These can be gag gifts that are for laughs. Or, have everyone bring a store-bought gift.

Either way, put the gifts in a pile, and take turns picking and opening their gifts. People can opt to steal presents or to open new ones.

By Paige Plummer
December 09. 2013 10:05PM

Pin Like You Mean It May 28 2013

We receive thousands of emails and comments from our fans asking for different Ugly Christmas Sweater Party ideas, and while we like to think of ourselves as the "experts of ugly" we are way outnumbered by the brilliant and creative people on Pinterest.  That being said, we invite you follow and re-pin some of the tacky, fun, and uber ugly boards that we hope you'll find helpful for your party planning needs!
Cheers! (PS there are 210 days until Christmas 2013)