28 October 2007

No-effort entertainment: Glow sticks

Amazon: 100 8" Premium Glow Stick Bracelets (10 Color Mixed Assortment)Rachel didn't specifically connect this hack to Halloween, but I am...could be a fun non-candy giveaway!

To all you parents who haven't tried these yet (or lately). Glow sticks are fun!! I know it seems like a big "duh," but every time we get them out, my husband and I wonder why we don't do it more often.

I pick them up at the dollar store and stash them in the cupboard, and then on a night when he and I are both too exhausted to do much else, we sit on the floor in the dark and let the kids entertain us. It makes for a great family moment. Even the seven-month old is entertained, and the only work we have to do involves telling the three year old and five year old to stop fighting over the pink one.

Related: Glow sticks last longer when stored in a Ziploc bag

More: Halloween hacks

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I think I commented before on glow sticks... just want to reiterate how excruciating getting glow stick liquid in my eye was when I was a kid in the 70's. Just be careful if one happens to open.

Ok, now this I could do! I've been trying to figure out what I could do with them...they're in the formerly-known-as-the-Dollar-Spot at Target!

Learn from my mistake: I offered a glow stick to my 3 year old daughter the other night in the car. We have often given her a couple of glowing items that we purchased at Disney that included fiber optic fibers (and no small parts) and I was not using my head when I offered this to her unattended. Our glow stick was rather thin and she bit the stick with her teeth and ever so slightly cracked making it possible for her to suck a very small amount of the chemical out. She instantly threw up on herself. I was driving down the road and heard the coughing and her whining for me to "wipe it off." I panicked, pulled over to a safe area and called poison control.They advised me that while the substance is NOT entirely non-toxic (she did throw up) but that because she didn't get a lot and she immediately threw up to just rinse her mouth and try to get her to drink water. "It will leave a chemical taste in the mouth," I was told.

I am typically overly paranoid about child safety and this was just one of those "not thinking" moments. Just thought I'd put that out there so you might not have one of those moments, too.

If you are a door-to-door trick or treater, you can attach a glow stick or bracelet or necklace to the child in a visible place and it makes them easier to see.

These are great for jack-o-lanterns, too. I'm in a complex that doesn't allow candles, and since glowsticks won't burn my porch down, I use glowsticks.

Two additional hacks...
Run them under hot water after you activate them to get them glowing brighter.
Put them in the freezer when the kids go to bed and you can often get another night of use out of them.

I once wore a glowing necklace at a concert and played with it until it cracked and leaked. You can imagine the parts of me that were glowing from a leaky necklace....

I stock up on the big ones and when my son (5 years old) whines about taking a bath I let him throw one in the tub with him. It works well, and he loves how they float around.

to go further with the jack-o-lantern comment....my 4yo is frustrated that he's not allowed to carve the pumpkin, nor is he allowed to light it. letting him "light" it with the glowsticks is a huge deal for him AND he can man-handle the pumpkin as much as he wants without a burning candle inside. (he likes to hold it!)

Last year, after trick or treating, we said goodnight and turned out the lights in our 3 and 6 year old's room, and discovered that their room was COVERED in glow stick liquid! I guess our youngest had broken one just a little bit, he hadn't evened noticed, and waved it all around their room. It looked like a crime scene on CSI! We all had a good laugh, and it looked pretty cool, then we wiped down what we could and washed all the fabrics that we could. Never did get it all though. Just another warning!

Another cautionary tale about leakage - We had a Halloween party a few years back and gave lots of the necklaces and bracelets away to the trick or treaters.

I cracked a necklace and ended up with the stuff all down my front and all over my hands. (Yes, I did glow) The chemical smell hung on for days.

Not a parent for another 40 days or so, but HAD to add this comment. Use your own discretion on your child's age before playing with this one. Might work well to light up a pumpkin.

You can make your own "glowsticks" with a little bit of Mountain Dew, Baking Soda, and Hydrogen Peroxide.

Using the Mountain Dew bottle (12oz or 16oz), pour out (or drink) all but the last few ounces of soda. Add a pinch of baking soda and 3 capfuls of hydrogen peroxide.

Close the cap and shake. You'll glow for quite a while!

I followed this here from today's Halloween round-up. I was wondering if the home-made glow fluid would work with a different soda than Mt. Dew when my good friend, Google, informed me that it's a hoax. Between Snopes and Wired, I don't think that you can make Mt. Dew glow with baking soda & hydrogen peroxide. It's a shame though.
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/10/how-to-make-mou/

We liked glow sticks, too, until one time my daughter got an older one, and it cracked enough to let the chemical out. Within a few seconds she had it in her eyes. Poison control said flushing with water was enough, that it's not super toxic, but that it really, really hurts. This was exemplified by my daughter thrashing and screaming and wailing and clawing at her eyes for nearly a half hour. While we tried to hold her eye open to pour water in it. Pure hell for her and us.

We know it was a rare accident, but it sure sucked enough to make us walk right past the glow sticks at the store.

The labels warn to flush eyes in case it gets in them, but doesn't mention that it feels like liquid fire.

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