Dancing Bats and Ghosts

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What is it with playground slides and static electricity? Travis was fascinated the other day when he kept picking up a shock each time he went down the slide and then touched the railing on the stairs back up. So we turned it into a teachable moment – minus the shock! – with this little lesson on static electricity at home. You can cut any shape you want into tissue paper, but since it’s Halloween, we had to go with bats and ghosts of course.

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I didn’t trust myself to cut tissue paper free-hand, so downloaded templates of a bat and ghost, and traced onto the paper before cutting out.

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Tape the shapes to a tabletop or similar surface; set aside.

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To create the static, blow up a balloon (a spooky black was the perfect shade for today), and rub in your hair (or on a sweater). Hold the balloon over the tissue paper, and the static will make the ghosts and bats lift up and dance!

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Travis loved every element of this experiment, including making static from his own hair…

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…And seeing if he could make the tissue paper rise up.

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Of course you also could just create static and the tissue paper will stick directly to the balloon, but taping our tissue paper spookies to the table turned it into a hokey Halloween jig.

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Mexican Horchata

Horchata (4)Happy Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos! The holiday, a traditional Mexican festival honoring ancestors and children’s spirts, starts tomorrow and runs through November 2. You can celebrate the holiday and teach your child a bit about international cuisine with this hands-on recipe. This suggestion from High Five magazine was a fun way to introduce my son (normally an almond milk drinker) to rice milk.

Have your child help scoop 3/4 cup uncooked white rice into 4 cups water; let soak overnight.

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The next day, transfer the rice mixture to a blender, along with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons rice milk, and 1/2 cup sugar.

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Adults, run the blender and process until very smooth. Travis preferred to step away for this step, as it was loud!

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Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher. Stir well before serving.

Here is my very happy horchata taste-tester! After a few sips, he decided he is sick of milk, so “from now on let’s have horchata.”

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