(x-post from my blog) Nate disappeared into his room for about an hour. He came out long enough to go into my craft closet and choose some felt and twine. I said, "what are you doing?" He said, "Oh, things....I'll tell you if it works." I forgot about him and we went out to work on the garden. A little bit later I looked up and there he was in the yard, hips swinging and something being twirled around in his hand. Suddenly he let it fly, and a very intricate web of twine opened up and caught the bar stool he was aiming for. He'd made a bola! http://www.flight-toys.com/bolas.htm All by himself, learning from a picture in his American Boys Handy book. His bola has 7 rocks, tied into felt pockets. I have to say, it is beautiful. Very precisely measured and symmetrical. He has since made a few more. Of course he is a young ornithologist, and he has taken it into his head that he'll probably have to kill a bird or two for study (ala Teddy Roosevelt). Daddy nixed the crossbow, so Nate studied until he found a safer yet still effective way to catch a bird. He is now working on a trap for rabbits or squirrels. I had to tell him that I don't think small boys are allowed to trap and hunt in the suburbs. He was so disappointed! I reminded him that Daddy and I are saving for a farm, and he can be more independent out in the country. He said, "You know I'm not cruel, mama. I wouldn't torture an animal or bird. And I wouldn't catch or kill them for no reason, just to learn skills like hunting and trapping, field dressing and taxidermy, and the anatomy of animals. Also I could catch pheasants or wild turkeys for food, and trap rabbits for skins and meat." He reminded me that he hadn't actually tried to catch anything yet, because he hasn't studied field dressing or tanning or anything, and he doesn't want to just be wasteful. Nate is 8 years old.