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Rainy Day Activities for Tweens

No, I’d really rather not be writing about rainy day activities for tweens in AUGUST. I want to be writing about fun outdoor activities, and being careful to apply sunscreen. For those of you who are stuck at home, and getting bored, here are some fab rainy day activities.



National Geographic Photo Competition for Kids

Cameras at the ready, Jump readers – we’ve got some exciting news for all you wannabe photographers! The National Geographic Photo Competition for Kids launched this week. 


The Tiger (William Blake)




camera ff9900 orangeHow would you like to win an amazing tiger safari to India?! If you’ve got a flair for photography, then this could be your chance. National Geographic Magazine are looking for talented young photographers to capture on camera the weird and wonderful world around them. Using digital or film, black and white or colour, this is your chance to get creative with your camera, win some amazing prizes, and have lots of fun trying!




camera 009900 greenThere are four categories to inspire you: take stunning scenic shots for ‘Dare to Explore’, or capture your crazy cat for ‘Amazing Animals’. Get adventurous with your holiday snaps for ‘Wild Vacation’, or a pic of the most bizarre things around you for ‘Weird but True’. Full of ideas? You can enter each category (just once)!



comp categories




camera 00a3cc turqThe judges will choose the winning photos based on creativity and skill. The overall winner will get to jet off to Rajasthan, India, for nine days, taking in tigers, boar, antelope, waterbirds…and the Taj Mahal! The winners of each category also get a stunning Nikon camera and £150 worth of Photobox vouchers, as well as entry into the International Competition to win a trip to Washington DC! Read the full competition rules here for UK. Not in UK? Check out the international partners of National Geographic



camera ff0000 redNeed some inspiration? Check out last year’s winners below, Ben Duursma, who has just got back from his own safari. Now those are definitely some photos we’d like to see!
ben duursma



vivien cheung



leela channer




eva dawe




camera ff32ad pinkNational Geographic also have a brilliant website for young people. Here you can share your photos, play games, and learn all about your favourite creatures, whether they’re lions, dinosaurs or great white sharks! There’s also lots of information and pictures about history, mythology, geography and more. They also have great apps, books and a print magazine.




NG site

We think this might be the grumpiest fish we’ve ever seen…




So what are you waiting for? To enter all you need to do is email your photos – visit the site for full details. Don’t forget to let us know if you enter. And good luck!



Who Invented Loom Bands?

Where did the loomband craze start, and who invented loom bands? That is the question we are going to answer today. Set your loombands aside for a moment and find out!

The Loomband craze started in 2011 with a Malaysian father of two crafty kids. Cheong Choo Ng’s daughters Teresa, then 12 years old, and Michelle, then 9 years old, liked to make bracelets out of rubber bands. 

Cheong wanted to join in the fun, but his fingers were too big. His first loom made similar bracelets to the ones his daughters were making, which didn’t really excite them.

His next attempt had three rows of pushpins, and he discovered that he could loop the bands in various geometric patterns to create much more interesting bracelets. Now his daughters were impressed!

At first the family made bracelets for friends and neightbours, until Cheong’s 12 year old daughter suggested he should try to sell the kits. He invested $10,000 in the first sets of RainbowLoom, and approached local stores with his invention.

At first the stores were reluctant to stock the RainbowLoom, so Cheong and his daughters filmed YouTube videos, so that people could see what was so fantastic about the loom.




An American toy shop owner discovered RainbowLooms, and started selling them in her two stores in Atlanta. She and her staff would demonstrate the loom bands to young girls, and the kids would ask their parents if they could buy them.

They soon found that loom bands appealed to boys just as much as girls, and that whole families were soon getting crafty with the little elastic bands! 

The store in Atlanta was part of a nationwide franchise (a chain of shops) and when the owners of the other shops heard about this fabulous new product, they wanted them in their stores.

Cheong couldn’t keep up with the demand, as the shops were selling out of RainbowLooms as soon as the new delivery arrived! Cheong gave up his normal job as an engineer for Nissan to work full-time as a toy manufacturer.

So how did a dad with a fab idea beat the big toy manufacturers and come up with this best-selling invention?  Cheong told Fast Company, that his training as an engineer helped him to create the RainbowLoom, and how to be successful in business 


 “Being an engineer I was more open to trying different things. Don’t give up. Try all options. Learn as you go. Push as many buttons as possible, one of them will work.”

In fact, Cheong said that the biggest lesson he has learned as a new business owner is to practice something common at Nissan: the lessons learned system. When something goes wrong, you do a step-by-step critical analysis. Trace the problem all the way back by asking why did the problem happen, and why did the cause of that problem happen and so on and so on until you find the root cause. And then figure out how to fix it so that it doesn’t happen again.


Cheong redesigned the loom 28 times until he was totally happy with the product, and spent a lot of time working out the best way to manufacture it, how to get the best quality, how to film the videos and market his invention. 

The story of loom bands is often told as an ‘overnight’ success, but that neglects to look at the hard work and innovation Cheong dedicated to developing the product. Having a great idea is only the first part of making it a success. 



Featured Image by Choons Design



Life in Saudi Arabia – Through the Eyes of a Child



As a very young girl I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay in Saudi Arabia for a few weeks, as my father was working there for British Telecom.  Saudi Arabia is a very different culture to ours, and I have vivid memories of my time there.  I remember walking around in shorts and a T-shirt because I thought it was very hot, yet all the Saudi Arabians were in big heavy coats because it was their winter!  That was in the 1970s, and Saudi Arabia has changed quite a bit since then. What is it like to be a child in Saudi Arabia now?