Early Explorers World Coins

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Welcome to our third journey with our Little Explorers subscription! This month’s kit was all about currency and money from around the world.

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In many ways, this experience was the opposite from last month’s Natural Wonders; Travis had very little interest in the learning booklet, until I eventually corned him into it over snack. But he loved all the other activities and goodies inside, whereas “natural wonders” were a bit abstract.

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As a result, he was also much more interested when we found the spots on our map that corresponded to our stickers this month.

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World Coins Craft:

We dove right in with coin rubbings the moment the kit arrived. Travis already has a budding coin collection of pre-Euro European currency, so we pulled those out and got right to it. He was fascinated watching the images appear, both trying it himself, or asking me to do some and watching the imprints emerge. Super simple, but super fun!

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World Coins Science:

The suggestion from the booklet to make salt dough coins was a huge hit. First we watched how coins are made, and then I asked Travis if he wanted to make our own coin press. He couldn’t wait! We scooped the flour, poured the salt, added yellow tinted water (in the hope of making gold coins, although it didn’t really show up), and then stirred.

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One note of caution: the booklet recipe said to add 2 cups water to 1 cup flour and 1 cup salt, but it became clear after pouring in 1 cup of water that this was not the amount needed! We had to backtrack and add lots more flour to avoid a watery mess, which made this truly a good lesson in the chemistry of baking.

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Once we had a workable dough, we rolled our coins, cut out circles, and used stamps to make designs.

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When he saw happy face stamps, Travis declared that those coins were from “Happytown!”

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To preserve the coins, bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

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World Coins Keepsake:

Travis loved his Toby coin and coin purse mementos. The latter will be perfect for gathering other coins in our collection as it grows. And of course we did a rubbing of the Toby coin!

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World Coins Field Trip:

Although not a direct suggestion from the booklet, we decided it would be fun to build Travis’s collection with a few new special coin, stopping into a local coin shop.

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We came home to see what new treasures we had!

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If you’re anywhere near the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia or Denver, then lucky you! Here is your chance to go visit. We settled for this online tour.

World Coins Further Activities:

As always, the booklet was full of ideas to further your little explorer’s explorations. We sneaked in a math lesson by counting the coins in his collection thus far. Travis so proudly counted all by himself up to 27 as we slipped coins into the Toby purse!

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You could also try sorting in any way you want – by shape? By color? Here was our (roughly) gold and silver division.

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The booklet also got us talking about which was our favorite coin and why. Travis simply adored the Roo on Australia’s gold dollar and deemed that his favorite. I was very taken with the seven sides of a thebe coin from Botswana, which I’d never heard of before.

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Finally, we headed to the library to see what more we could learn. To my surprise, there actually are quite a few quirky and fun children’s books that make this subject matter anything but dry.

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In sum, you can bank on having fun with this one!


Corn-Husk Dolls

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Corn-husk dolls are a lovely project that you can add to any fall or harvest decorations in your home. Or, as it turned out for us, just a fun chance to play with a new material!

If you have fresh corn from the farmers’ market, here’s the perfect opportunity to save the husks and turn them into something new. In a pinch, you can buy corn husks in most grocery stores.

I followed instructions from Barefoot Books’ Kids Garden kit to make the dolls. Actual assembly of a doll is a bit complicated for little hands (although kids aged kindergarten and up can get much more involved), but Travis simply adored exploring this new material while I made our “dolls.”

The husks were great for layering….

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Or his favorite, ripping into strips.

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Meanwhile, to make a doll, tie together three husks for each of the arms, securing with yarn or twine. Trim to desired length.

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Tie together three husks for each leg as well, leaving them long. Line up the tops of all 4 arm and leg segments, and tie them together about 2 inches down, to form the neck and head. Trim off any excess twine. You can draw on a face with marker, if desired.

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Travis decided that the husks he had shredded looked like a nest, so we made an “owl” as well, by gathering together husks and tying off at the neck. Or perhaps it was a Halloween ghost!

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In an impish twist, Travis decided it was much more fun to pull apart all the husks in our doll than to set it outside with our pumpkins. So much for adding to our fall decor! But I loved seeing his delight, which made the project worth it.

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Get creative! What other dolls or animals can you make from the husks? Please share in the comments!