Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Flying Backpack

Last year Thing 1 drew a blueprint for a "Flying Backpack" in her 2nd grade school journal.  She decided she was going to revolutionize the commuting child's getting-to-school experience.  She was going to put a flying backpack into the hands and onto the backs of children across the globe.

Last week she decided the time had come to build it.

She took advantage of a day when Thing 2 had a playdate after school - allowing her to put off her homework until Thing 2 came home to do hers too.
She started by trying to find an existing backpack.  She asked me if there was a backpack around the house that she could cut holes in.
The "cutting holes in" severely limited my willingness to donate existing backpacks to her experiment.  Finally we agreed on a reusable grocery bag, one of those faux fabric bags.  She could loop the handles over her shoulders like a backpack.

Then she needed something for the wing framework... I found some fairly lightweight florist wire in the craft cabinet.  I gave her a pair of needle nose pliers just in case, but she happily showed me she didn't need them, she could bend it with her fingers.
She used notebook paper for the wings...
Anyone with any familiarity at all of any kind of structural engineering would already see her project is fraught with hazards.  I decided not to intervene.
She went into another room and was working industriously for a while, and I made a few phone calls.
Then I heard her race up the stairs, and a few moments later heard a significant yet familiar THUMP which rattled the kitchen lights.  There was no ensuing cries, so I wrapped up my call and waited.
A minute later she came downstairs and walked into the kitchen looking a little sheepish.  She handed me the shopping bag with the tangled florist wires and notebook paper attached to it.  The wires were bent, the notebook paper had ripped in several places where the florist wires had pulled through it.  She announced sadly that she was giving up on her design.  It hadn't survived the test flight from jumping off the top bunk.
It is not a really high top bunk, and the girls have jumped off of it before, which is why I didn't go pelting up the stairs when I heard the distinctive THUMP.
I'm just sad she didn't let me know there would be a test flight that I could catch on video.  Or even to get a picture of her wearing it pre-flight. 
We have reached the end of the flying backpack era.  I'm just glad she didn't test it off the roof of the garage.


  1. This is adorable. I love creative kids! Kudos to you as a mom for letting her explore this (safely). Who knows, maybe one day she will invent a flying backpack?? Stranger things have happened. :)

  2. I love it! She's so creative and intelligent (just like her mom) :) Hopefully she's learned some wonderful tricks and will apply her invention "failures" to her future invention successes.

    And by failures I'm speaking of those events we learn the most from, so therefore they are not failures.


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