Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bennee Brothers Marshmallow Shooters star with Grampa on GOOD THINGS UTAH (ABC 4 - KTVX)

Happy 24th of July! It's not a Federal Holiday...and post offices will be open for business...but throughout Utah, Family Reunions are celebrating the biggest barbeque of the year with a big Salt Lake City parade that's been going on here since 1847! It's PIONEER DAY otherwise known as the Days of '47!

Among the three legged races for dads and daughters, sawdust hunts for quarters for toddlers and dozens of other wonderful games, teens and tweens especially will limber up their personally crafted MARSHMALLOW SHOOTERS (18-24" PVC pipes with colorful decorations) and out spit each other for fun and prizes.

After my Holladay, Utah friends the Bennee Brothers Marshmallow Shooters appeared on local television with me last Thursday, July 19th the hits on this blog have gone crazy!

Welcome, you Teens and Tweens, Grammas and Grampas (and Parents of all ages) who clicked in to find out how to do it....especially after I sent out hundreds of emails with this message:

Click this link to see the 5' 30" segment from Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Bennee Brothers Marshmallow Shooters are Cole Bennee, Captain; Miles Mottonen , Co-Captain; Noah and Jackson Bennee, Prime Shooters; Max Mottonen , Sgt. Major and McKay Brown, Assistant Target Coordinator. (Watch for the link in a future post to the YouTube report with more behind the scenes pictures and video by Shooter Team photographer Peter Bennee, proud father of the core team leaders!)

I am indebted to a former Web Design and Marketing student and great friend, Winter Redd for the report below about how to build your own Marshmallow Shooters, targets and unique "ammunition" Winter and her husband, Lee, publish a wonderful blog about their newly wed adventures...and this is a wonderful example of their great work:

I use Marshmellow Shooters in my Santa visits--and found a new wrinkle in the Redd Party post: Including crafty fuzz balls and ear plugs. 

Winter is a pharmacist at the Unversity of Utah and a former student at Highland Community Ed Web Design and Marketing several semesters ago. I subscribe to her blog and she follows mine. This is the first time I've copied and published her material. Hope this is a enough credit, where this unique very creative activity is involved.

(As a matter of safety, I've included a cautionary note about using swim goggles or the ones you use in a woodshop to protect your eyes from flying sawdust or wood chips) Marshmallow Target Shooting is the best with some low key, fun grampuncular supervison encouraged. It actually beats paint balls for Teens, Tweens and even little kids...and it's delicious!) Good luck keeping the ammunition from "disappearing"! Color coded separation of multi colored mini marshmallows will help kids eat their "own" shots, if you get my overarching drift?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Don't worry, the pain is
faked!  Don't know why
my big glasses are on my head!

NOTE 1: One thing we learned in the rehearsal the day before the TV debut was that if shooters put several mini marshmallows in their mouths at once, the projectiles will get sticky and stick to the targets. As you can see, I made the mistake of asking our shooters to fire at the camera...and caught one in the eye! It didn't do any damage, but like the boxing post two posts below, caution should be taken....I found swim goggles three for five dollars at RiteAid...and the kids get to keep the goggles and the shooters at the end of the day (if you simulate a paint ball kid vs kid contest)!

NOTE 2: Always plan to give a prize to participants to pick up the stray projectiles that aren't already confiscated or consumed! In the military it's called POLICING YOUR BRASS...and it will save many a gramparent's back bending down to pick up the left over ammo......This fun is best done outside, on clean grass where the five second rule applies!

Here's Winter's story, pictures and videos:
As I mentioned earlier, I was at Girls Camp a week ago
The theme for camp was "Sweet is the work of a daughter of God" 
and they played up the "sweet" part by making it Willy-Wonk-aesque
and candy-focused.

All the girls had different colored shirts indicating their "sweet" group.

I was asked to help with a field day activity at camp; there are fun races and
games that are set up as
"Candyland" on a big field. Lee suggested a game with
marshmallow blow dart guns.

Excellent idea!

(For those of you who may not know, it's a blow dart
gun made out of PVC pipes
and marshmallows are used
as ammunition. More on technique later.)

It's really easy to make these blow dart guns.
Head on over to Home Depot or Lowes and go to the plumbing aisle.
You want the 1/2 inch PVC pipes.

$1.63/pipe--that's cheap entertainment and fun!

Oh dear! They are 10 feet long and I needed about 10 to
12 inch pieces, but I don't own a pair of pipe cutters.
Thankfully the Home Depot does (plus a hacksaw or two for bigger
pipes) and let's you use them at the store.

Feeling all handy cutting my pipes at the HD.

Because of the candy theme, Lee helped by "candy
cane-ing" them with red, green and yellow electrical tape.

Lee did a great job making these plain white pipes look like candy canes.

I wanted to tie the blow dart to the candy theme, so we
came up with a game called The Peppermint Ninja
Pow! (Note: We're into ninjas.)

I think my sign turned out pretty cute!

Then we made these targets with varying hole sizes and point values
from foam core.

Easy to make and looks pretty good!

Okay, now let's talk ammunition. Marshmallows are the best in my and Lee's opinion,
but I needed to think of something different since we needed to re-use the ammo at
camp. Marshmallows are not awesome if you need to re-use them.

So I tried out a couple of other things:
  1. Foam ear plugs (purchased at Home Depot for about $3.00 for 7 pair) and
    Fluffy craft pompoms (purchased at Walmart for about $3.00 for a pack of 250 varying sizes of poofs).

Lee tested all of these options.

I opted for the fluffy pompoms for the activity since I could buy
them in bulk for pretty cheap. The activity turned out pretty well
and the girls had a lot of fun.

Lee, of course, had to show me the superiority of marshmallows, especially
in machine-gun mode!

Gross! I always put the marshmallow in the gun then blow. Boys and their
spitting skills--sheesh!

Anyway, I think this would be an awesome large group date or mutual activity
if you don't mind getting hit with slightly sticky marshmallows.

Have fun!

Marshmallow Blow Dart Guns

10 to 12 inch long pieces of 1/2 inch PVC pipe

Marshmallows (or foam earplugs or fluffy craft pompoms)

During the Candyland field day activity

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