Brighton Science Festival

Christmas Lock-down Perk-up Add-on


Fished out of the tumult that was Crafty Christmas, here are some things to do, and how to do them. Liz and I hope you have a wonderful and joy-filled Christmas in 2021. This year, do the best you can!


Coping with the present:

Owing to a ripple in space-time, three Santa Clauses have arrived at the same house at the same time, to deliver three presents to each of the three children, Wanda, Toots and Freda. The Santas’ paths must not cross, or the presents will vaporise. How will they manage it?

Sketch the puzzle out on paper and try to draw a line from each group of presents to each of the stockings (nine lines in all), without any of them crossing. Can it be done?




Make an Emoji Machine

After an emotional roller-coaster of a year, there are some more, different emotions in store in 2021. The Emoji Machine can sit 81 different expressions on its face. Find out how to make it HERE




Make a pop-up Christmas tree card

Pop-up cards are jolly, and jolly easy to make if you follow these instructions. all you need is two pieces of A4 paper, a pair of scissors and some glue. Do it HERE




TicTac-Toe Rebooted. 

Almost all games take on a new life if the rules are changed a little. Monopoly takes a whole new twist when everyone is given £2000 to start with; playing chess to see who can lose all their pieces fastest is thrilling (the one rule is, if you can take an opponent’s piece you have to).  Even tic-tac-toe can be given a life extension. The reboot is here, with a load of other Bored Games

Or, just find a piece of paper and a pen now, and draw up the The players have three counters each (coins? pasta? chess pieces?). They take it in turns to place a counter, trying to make three in a row. When all six are in play, they then move their pieces to an adjoining vacant space until one gets a row.

Rules: No diagonal moves; no returns within one move (unless of course you want to change the rules!)

Rule about changing the rules: let everyone know what the changes are before the start of play; you must have a level playing field.




The Green Man.

Coca Cola invented Father Christmas in 1931. Before that some of the Christmas mythology involved a very different person – a wild, Green Man, who haunted the icy mountains. See the way the two stories are linked HERE 

The video uses an after image – the complementary image that lingers in you eye after a picture changes (for instance, if you glance at a bright light and look away, a light with an opposite colour remains hovering in your eye. It so happens that the after-image of the Green man is… well, I’ll let you discover that for yourself.



Dicing with the truth

Here are six stories. None of them particularly exciting, but there are over 7,000 way to make them much more exciting  – in fact as crazy, surreal and incredible as any fake news – simply by jumbling them up. Just follow the simple instructions HERE


Pop-up gull card

There is a danger the gull card may not pop up till after Christmas Day. You’ll need the entertainment by then, no doubt, so be patient, in a way that gulls never are.