Dave's Websites

As a former home-schooling dad, I have been putting together some websites which contain fun and educational activities for kids of all ages.

Hope you like 'em!


1. Christian Evangelism, Healing, and Teaching Resources

This is my online Christian ministry with dozens of articles, and answers to questions that many Christians have wondered about.

If you ever want someone to pray for you or your loved ones, please feel free to send your prayer requests to me at dave@Layhands.com, and I will be praying for you. I look forward to hearing from you!

Also, if you ever have any questions about God, or Jesus, or the Bible, or a particular Christian doctrine, or certain Bible passages, etc., please feel free to send me your questions and I'll do my best to prayerfully answer them.



2. Cool Science Tricks

This website of Cool Science Tricks started out as a fun family project during the Christmas holidays (2005).

We wanted to put together a list of quick and fun and fascinating things to try. The emphasis is less on explaining the science involved, and more on simply describing some fun and interesting things to do.

We deliberately chose not to put these activities in any particular order. Instead, as you scroll through each page we hope that various interesting things will catch your eye, and that you and your kids will have fun with them!



3. Easy Card Tricks for Kids of All Ages

Card tricks are fun for adults and kids alike, but it can be difficult to perform the sleight-of-hand which many card tricks require. These card tricks don't require any sleight-of-hand at all, so it's easy for kids to learn and perform them.

Since they are "self-working" or "mathematical" card tricks, it's also fun and educational to try to figure out why the tricks work! This website will give you a hint how to figure out what makes the tricks work, so that kids of all ages can experience that Aha! moment when they unlock the mysteries of the card tricks!



4. Easy HTML Tutorial

Most of the websites on the Internet were written in a language called HTML ("HyperText Markup Language"). HTML is a good first computer language for kids to learn because it doesn't cost anything and it's fairly simple to understand. It can also be used for creating complex Web pages (especially when combined with JavaScript or VBScript), so it allows for growth as you or your kids dig deeper into Web programming.



5. Fun, Free Educational Computer Games for Kids

There are many good computer games out on the Internet which help kids learn important skills in fun ways, but it can be difficult to find the best free software.

My kids and I have had a lot of fun downloading new games and weeding out the not-so-good ones from the "keepers." The games described here are some of the better ones that we have come across (be sure to run a virus scanner and spyware scanner on anything that you download). Computer games can be a good way to have fun, educational family time together, not to mention that they can help teach kids some valuable computer skills!



6. Fun, Free Pocket PC Games and Handy Utilities

My nine-year-old daughter (Stephanie) designed this website of PDA utilities and games. We haven't tried every PDA game or utility out there, but these are our favorites so far. We have loosely organized the games into three categories: Action Games, Puzzle Games, and Two-Player Games (i.e. you against the computer).



7. Fun Video Library

When you browse video websites such as YouTube.com, not all of the videos are "family-friendly." Therefore, my 12-year-old son Michael and I decided to make our own library of fascinating and amazing and interesting videos which are all clean and family-safe.

If you know of any other good family-friendly videos, send us a link at dave@Layhands.com!



8. KnotMaker

Derek Smith wrote a clever program for drawing knots. I have been adding some new features to the program, as well as creating a website for it.



9. Math Reminders

When we don't use our math skills very often, we forget how to figure out certain things!

My 6th-grade son Michael and I have been putting together these "Math Reminders" as a quick visual aid to help kids and grown-ups recall some basic math facts.



10. The Most Useful Rope Knots for the Average Person to Know

Kids of all ages find knots to be fun and fascinating, and this website provides step-by-step instructions for tying dozens of useful knots. This website also offers a lot of useful information about how to tie knots properly, and which knots might be the best or safest for different situations.



11. My Freeware Games, Puzzles, Screen Savers, and Utilities

This website contains a lot of free software that I have written just for fun over the years. You'll find some games and puzzles which stimulate hand-eye coordination or logical thought processes, as well as some screen savers and utilities.

This website also has free Visual Basic 6.0 source code for creating your own screen savers. You'll learn how to use VB graphics commands for drawing lines, circles, rectangles, etc., and you can see how some of these screen savers were done.



12. Visual Baseball - A New Method for Scoring Baseball Games

If you enjoy watching baseball games, then using a scoresheet can add an extra dimension to the game. Scoresheets enable you to look back at what happened in previous innings and previous at-bats, and they allow you to keep various statistics if you desire, and so on.

If you don't really care much for baseball, then using a scoresheet can make the game more interesting and enjoyable. It gives you something to do to pass the time, and you might find that suddenly you're the "expert" when people start checking with you to see what happened earlier in the game!

Try recording a baseball game on TV and then showing your kids how to use a scoresheet to keep track of the game. This is a clean and fun family activity to do together!

Many people have created some nice scoresheets (for lots of examples, see BaseballScorecard.com), but they are mostly variations on a standard method of scoring baseball. Visual Baseball is a different concept, and it provides more information "at a glance" than most other scoresheets.



13. Amazon Reviews and YouTube Videos

These are some casterboard reviews that my kids and I wrote on Amazon.com, and some YouTube videos that we made of us playing a casterboard game we invented.

Here are our casterboard reviews (see A review of skateboards, RipStiks, Waves, WhipTides, Xgliders, PowerWings, Bladeboards, PumpRockrs, TimberWolfs, Streetboards, etc.):

This is a description of most types of boards based on the experiences of my son (15), my daughter (9), and me (cough), within Amazon's 1000-word limit:

Skateboards - Many tricks can be done on skateboards, but to us casterboards are way more fun. Soularc Skateboards have two curved decks (one on top of the other) for a springy carving feel. Longboards are longer and wider skateboards.

RipStiks - Like skateboards but with two smaller decks connected by a crossbar, and two inline wheels which swivel 360 degrees on casters. Seems safer than skateboards because RipStiks don't easily shoot out from under you (they just flop onto their sides). The wheels wear down quickly, but even with flattened wheels they're way more fun than skateboards on a level street. After a year we took apart the casters and cleaned them, then discovered that you can't do this with Wave Boards, giving RipStiks a slight advantage over Waves.

Wave Boards - Like RipStiks, but with a shorter crossbar. Makes more of a "clatter" noise than our RipStik. Wave Ripples are narrower and shorter to fit younger kids. ExBoards, X-Boards, EssBoards, VigorBoards, Cudas, Freeriders, and eXtreme boards are similar to RipStiks/Waves.

WhipTides - Like RipStiks, but with four inline wheels. The crossbar bends up-down and side-to-side, unlike RipStiks/Waves. Can do tighter spins than RipStiks/Waves, which are fun but can throw you off-balance if you're not careful. You can't do jumps or lift one wheel off of the ground. There's a slight "wiggle" motion as you go faster. I'm more aggressive on RipStiks/Waves since they don't wiggle, but my daughter prefers the wiggle in the WhipTide because it makes her go faster. Shred Sleds and Alive Boards are similar to WhipTides. Hurricane Boards appear to be WhipTides with only two inline wheels.

Xgliders (Xliders) - Have two separate (unattached) casterboard decks, so they're a bit tricky to learn and easy to lose your balance or do the splits. However, this allows for different tricks and tighter spins than RipStiks/Waves. You can't just set them down and step on and go, like with other casterboards. Instead, you set the two decks onto the ground just right, then carefully step onto them one at a time, then go (kinduva hassle). Freeline Skates are similar, but the wheels aren't on casters and don't spin 360 degrees. OrbitWheels have separate decks as well, but your feet are *inside* the wheels.

PowerWings - Have safer features than casterboards (three wheels for stability, handlebars with brakes). On PowerWings you face forward and move your hips side-to-side, but on casterboards you face sideways and use a twisting movement with your hips. There's a weight limit, so it's not for older kids and adults. It's easy to lean too far back and flip over, but with practice this allows doing wheelies. Some PowerWings have safety bars at the back to prevent flipping over. Rip Rider 360s are similar, but they have a big plastic wheel in front with pedals, and kids ride them sitting down. Trikkes and "Slider The Unscooter" are also three-wheeled, but with unique methods of propulsion.

Bladeboards - Like RipStiks, but the casters are designed differently. The videos look fun, but we were disappointed in ours. We cleaned and lubricated the casters, and put in new bearings, but it still feels sluggish and noisy compared to RipStiks. Bladeboards don't appear to be sold anymore.

PumpRockrs - Skateboards with one caster wheel in front. Feels sluggish and can't make tight turns like casterboards can. T-Boards are skateboards with two caster wheels, but don't appear to be as maneuverable as RipStiks/Waves/WhipTides. OBoards appear to be PumpRockrs.

TimberWolf XtreeMs - Similar to RipStiks, but the casters are designed differently. My kids and I are experienced riders, but we felt cautious at first because the TimberWolf is quite a bit faster and more maneuverable than RipStiks/Waves/WhipTides. The casters can go forward or backward, so you can swap ends as you ride, and do 360s. RollerSurfers have different casters, but they also allow you to swap ends and do 360s.

Streetboards - Like skateboards, but the decks are in three sections. Your feet rotate the outer sections to propel the board, and you can strap into the optional bindings to do jumping tricks. Snakeboards are shorter and lighter versions of Streetboards. It took us several days to figure out how to ride our Snakeboard because the movement is different than with casterboards. Snakeboards are challenging but not as maneuverable and fun as casterboards. Alterskates had a similar rotating mechanism to propel the board, but no-one at their website responds to emails.

Bottom line:
We own a skateboard, RipStik, Wave, WhipTide, Xglider, Bladeboard, TimberWolf, and Snakeboard, and we've ridden a PowerWing and PumpRockr. If we could only have one board, it would be the TimberWolf. For less-expensive boards, or for younger riders, we would choose the WhipTide, RipStik, or Wave (in that order). The Xglider and Streetboard/Snakeboard are fun when we want a different type of challenge.

About the wheels:
We replaced our worn-down RipStik wheels with two good wheels from our Xglider, and put the flattened RipStik wheels onto our Xglider. Strangely, we didn't notice any real difference in the feel of the RipStik or the Xglider. After 20 minutes, the rear wheel on the RipStik had worn flat. However, RipStiks/Waves are still fun even when the wheels are worn down (until it becomes excessive). We use our WhipTide as much as our RipStik and Wave, but the WhipTide wheels don't show much wear. We haven't had the TimberWolf or Snakeboard very long, but the wheels aren't showing any wear yet.

For some videos of my kids and me playing a casterboard game that we invented, go to YouTube and search for "Caster Soccer" (four videos). Another fun game is playing "tag" on casterboards.


Here are the videos that we made and uploaded to YouTube:


"Dave's Websites"
URL: http://www.Layhands.com/DavesWebsites.htm

Modification History
11/23/2009: Added my new website of fun, free Pocket PC games and handy utilities (designed by my nine-year-old daughter). Added our casterboard reviews that we wrote on Amazon.com
11/05/2009: Added some YouTube videos of my kids and me playing a casterboard game that we invented.
04/28/2009: Added my new KnotMaker website.
10/29/2006: New page.

Send e-mail to: dave@Layhands.com