Rainy day projects for kids

Rainy day projects for kids

For a while it looked like summer may actually have arrived. And then it started raining again.

If you too are sick of our soggy summer and countless weekends spent indoors working your way down the endless list of TV channels, trying to entertain the kids, why not try something a little different the next time your big plans get rained off?

We used to love treasure hunts when we were kids (who are we kidding, we still love them), so we thought that we would help you make one for your little ones, quickly, easily and most importantly, cheaply.

There are two main ways you can make a treasure hunt:

1.       Multiple clues that lead to a prize

2.       A treasure map

Option one is certainly the easier option but thanks to modern technology, option two can be done pretty simply.

If you are planning on making clues, simply type them up (make sure you number them!) and print them out.

The clues don't need to be complex if you have younger kids - 'Cold things are kept here', 'Where smelly socks go' and 'Books live here' will be explanatory enough to help your child move from one to clue to the next.

Leaving a mini prize with the next clue is a fun, by not necessary, option, but make sure there is something at the end of the treasure hunt to reward all their hard work.

If you fancy making a treasure map, instead of hand drawing a dodgy version of your garden or house, why not make one on your computer and print it out? Just load up your printer with paper and plenty of colour ink!

Go around the house and take photos of different locations were you could hide clues and then upload them, build a visual map of the treasure hunt.

Instead of specific clues, leave slightly more general ones as they will already be aware of the general location. If you wanted to make it really tricky, you could just take a photo of the door of the room accompanied by a clue.

Keep the kids (and yourself) occupied for an hour or so during the next rainy weekend and turn your house into a treasure island!

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Solar powered printer launched in Africa

Solar powered printer launched in Africa

A solar powered printer, the RISOLAR, has been launched in Africa. Created mainly for the education sector, this printer is the epitome of resourceful.

Specially made to capitalise on the sunny weather in African countries, this printer is equipped with a solar panel that is placed in direct sunlight for six hours.

The printer was launched in Liberia by the RISO Corporation and will be marketed to 30 Liberian educational institutions before it is sold to individuals for private use.

Jason Rose, export manager for RISO, told the Liberian Observer: "Even when printing and the power goes down, one can still be able to print. This solution is perfect for areas with sporadic power issues and provides you with up to two days worth of printing without electricity."

The RISO KZ30 can print up to 1,000 copies a day and has sufficient energy storage capability to run for two additional days with no sunlight.

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Design and print your own infographics

Design and print your own infographicsWhether they are motivational posters for your office, your latest business plan or a quirky edition of your CV, infographics are great.

Infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge. The advantage of this form of presentation (apart from being aesthetically pleasing) is the ability to display a lot of information quickly and effectively.

There so many uses for infographics. They can be used to display statistics, strategy plans and even CVs. Whilst these snazzy graphics used to take a lot of time and personal creative input, there are now several websites that do the majority of work for you.

By simply Googling 'infographics' you will be inundated with a number of different websites that make creating your own pictorial spreadsheet remarkable easy.

Having a few ideas in mind before you start is probably a good idea, as well as any images or photos that you want to feature in the design. Aside from that, the website will probably do most of the work for you. There are arrows, different shaped text boxes and stock images galore.

If you are struggling to come up with an interesting idea for an upcoming presentation, create and print an infographic and hand it out instead of giving a Power Point presentation.

Make sure your printer is loaded with coloured ink and you are good to go. Printing your infographic on photo paper will give it an even more professional look.

Displaying statistics using an infographic is far more interest, and eye catching than any old pie chart or bar graph. If your stats include data about how 73 out of 100 people prefer strawberry icecream to vanilla, having 73 tiny pink people next to 27 white people is a far more interesting visual representation. Even better, scrap the people and use tiny icecream cones.

Technology such as iPads has changed the way we display data, but this doesn’t mean the end if printing- it just means we need to make the printed way we display information just as exciting and new.

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Big kudos for Little Printer

Big kudos for Little Printer

We love printers of all sizes. We're not fussy, industrial, domestic, large or small.

So imagine our excitement when the Little Printer announced that it was available for pre-order.

What is Little Printer we hear you cry in anticipation? Only the cutest thing to enter the printing world.

Little Printer was announced last November by BERG Cloud. This adorable printer is less than 10cm high and could sit in the palm of your hand.

We love ink. But we have to admit that the technology in this little machine is rather exciting. The Little Printer uses white thermochromic paper which, when heated inside the printer turns black to produce an image. That's pretty cool.

This ingenious tiny printer has a section missing from the front, in the shape of a head (think Lego man head rather than creepy head). When the printer has printed your Sudoku, to do list or the day's headlines, it then prints a happy little face that fills this space. When you order your printer, you get to pick which face you would like. There are four to choose from: happy big fringe boy, wild hair girl, rock star hair man and (our favourite) nerdy glasses boy. When searching for these, bear in mind that we made these names up!

So what can it actually print? This printer is one of those things that you would really have to talk yourself into buying. Like an iPad, it's seriously cool but definitely not essential.

Right now, you can print a variety of personal feeds using Little Printer. Users can subscribe to publications like news headlines, puzzle and your friends' birthdays from sites such as foursquare, Google and the Guardian.

The app on your smartphone that accompanies the printer, BERG Cloud Remote, is used to 'organise' your printing tendencies.

Whilst this printer may appear to have a relatively limited range of resources from which to print from, the tiny device does cover several bases. The ability to print news headlines and a Sudoku will make any commute to work more interesting and the daily weather forecast will ensure you are never caught short without a brolly.

The ability to sync with your Google tasks allows users to print a 'to do list' with little boxes to place a satisfying tick next to upon completion.

Never forget another birthday again- the Little Printer will sync with your Facebook account and print out friend's birthdays a week in advance.

Admittedly, this is where the 'useful' elements of this printer stop. Whilst we are sure more companies will make their content available and tiny-sized, at the moment, the range is somewhat limited right now.

But where the practical stuff stops, the fun stuff starts. Which is what you really want from a palm-sized printer with a smiley face on the front.

Print recipes from BBC Worldwide that include seasonal ingredients and stick them to your fridge. Learn about a different butterfly every week from British Butterflies. These little fact sheets come with a beautiful (tiny) image. Print a picture of the day from your Instagram account and start a n image pin board. Or, and this is our absolute favourite, find out how many people are orbiting Earth with the How Many People Are In Space Right Now application, complete with a little (of course) picture of an astronaut.

Another great feature of this mini printer (I know right, as if you needed any more reasons) is the ability to share your printer's contact details with friends and family. Using the Berg Cloud app, messages can be sent to the printer which then prints them there and then.

Whether you stick these little pieces of paper to the fridge or use them as bookmarks, we are head over heels in love with this Little Printer.

This funky little device does however come with a slightly larger price tag. At £199 this pocket-sized printer isn't exactly pocket change.

Available for pre-order now, the first bulk of these printers will be sent out in October. Each printer is accompanied by a power adapter, the relevant cables to hook it up to your router (the device uses a 'Bridge' that plugs into your router and is in itself completely wireless) and a couple of spare rolls of that funky paper.

We will certainly be investing in one of these little guys and we hope you have just as much fun with it as we plan on having.

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