Ice Boat Races

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This is one of those projects that didn’t turn out quite like we planned, but it got us outside into beautiful summer sunshine, and turned into a separate kind of fun – always a happy ending!

The night before you want to race your boats, freeze water in small containers – tupperware works best. After about an hour, when the water has started to set, insert a straw into each boat to be the mast.

The next morning we decorated flags as the sails and taped to our masts. Run a little warm water on the bottom of the container, and your boats will slip out.

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We were sort of set up for disappointment because I didn’t have a large “ocean” for us to race the boats in. An empty sand table or water table would work best, but lacking those, I filled a small craft bin with water.

Oh no, our sails fell off in the water right away!

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Still, Travis got a kick out of huffing through a second pair of straws to move our boats, and see who could sail across the bin fastest. When that didn’t quite work, we paddled the boats with our straws.

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Perhaps more fun, though, was simply holding the slippery “boats”, and then seeing how quickly the ice melted in the summer sunshine. Travis spent the next hour or so on the patio, playing with the water in the bin and cracking apart the ice. So all in all, not a fail!

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Fun with Plastic Dinosaurs


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Over the years we seem to have accumulated a good-sized collection of tiny plastic dinosaur figurines. You can find these sold in tubes at toy stores, craft stores, and museum stores, and we’ve amassed quite a few duplicates as time has gone by. So it was time to have fun with a few of the extras!

First, Travis decided to cover them in sparkly glitter paint.

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This immediately made me think of sparkly Christmas ornaments, so we finished off the look with a little chenille stem collar for each one.

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If you loop thread or an ornament hook through each dinosaur’s collar, you can really hang them up on your tree next holiday season! We’re setting ours aside for Christmas.

Next up was dinosaur “egg” soap. If you truly want yours to look like eggs, you’ll need oval soap molds (available at craft stores). I only had square craft molds but hey, maybe there was a dinosaur somewhere who laid square eggs instead of oval ones.

Place a plastic dino in each empty mold.

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Meanwhile, melt a bar of glycerin soap in the microwave – you’ll need to heat it at 30 second to 1 minute intervals until completely melted, stirring after each interval.

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A word of caution: we first tried a bar of bath soap from the store, but it only puffed up in the microwave instead of melting. Although this led to endless amusement for Travis, it did not make great dino eggs! Turns out you really need to buy what’s called “melt and pour” soap or it simply won’t work.

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Once we had the right soap, it melted in a mere minute! Travis loved pressing the microwave buttons. Let your child carefully stir to remove any final lumps, then (adult step!) pour over the dinosaurs.

Here they are trapped in goo. Travis was gleeful!

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I was impressed with how quickly the soap sets, in under an hour, meaning kids won’t have to wait long for soapy fun. Bring your dinos into the tub, wrap them in cellophane for gifts, or place out as decoration.

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If you get soapy with your “eggs” in the tub, it won’t be long before your dinos hatch!

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