The 2016 Oxford Kinetics Festival

I am not going to write too much here about the festival.  It has its own website at www.oxfordkineticsfestival.org so you can read more about it there. I will share that it was a wonderful day and great fun for us to see so many kids we have worked with through the year learning new skills and sharing what they have made with the community.

A fabulous wooden bike entry in this year's Dogs' Breakfast race.

A fabulous wooden bike entry in this year's Dogs' Breakfast race.

We are always thrilled to see the things people have been working on in their garages and workshops through the year that they bring to the festival.  The human imagination is boundless and the more we share skills with each other the broader our creative horizons become.

We planned the challenges for the Scramble and many of the workshops and skill-sharing activities to fit with the Circus Fracas theme.  It turned out that one of my husband's graduate students has incredible circus related skills.  Sarah is a skilled unicyclist and juggler.  She agreed to spend much of her day teaching festival goers how to make their own juggling balls and juggle them.

After spending some time looking at the posters and exhibit line-ups for old circuses we were drawn to several silly ideas that evolved into Scramble stations.  The Scramble is the kinetic sculpture race for kids under 16 and family teams.  There are a number of stations along the course where participants have to complete challenges. This year folks had to box a bear and shoot small stuffed animals through flaming hoops to hit various ferocious animals among other tasks.

If you look closely you can see the tiny animal projectile passing through the flaming hoop. We were amazed how accurate the makeshift cannon turned out to be, maybe we should have pursued our initial human-cannonball idea after all.

If you look closely you can see the tiny animal projectile passing through the flaming hoop. We were amazed how accurate the makeshift cannon turned out to be, maybe we should have pursued our initial human-cannonball idea after all.

Christopher, our bear, was such a sport to be in that hot suit on a warm spring day, letting children punch him with surprising vigor.

Christopher, our bear, was such a sport to be in that hot suit on a warm spring day, letting children punch him with surprising vigor.