Ribbon Wands

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My son loves gadgets. My son loves music. Was this project the perfect mix of the two? Hint: it involves a power tool.

In general, musical props like scarves or wands help kids enjoy movement and music that much more as they find the rhythm and beat of a song. So get drilling and put together these cute dancing wands!

The wands are simple, but you will need a drill, as well large craft dowels. Make sure you don’t buy thin dowels, or your drill bit will be much too large to bore through.

Adults: Make sure the dowel is on a tool bench or otherwise clamped down, and carefully drill a hole near one end, going all the way through.

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Travis loved watching (with safety goggles on!) and sweeping up the sawdust after. Use sandpaper to smooth down any rough edges or splinters.

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Next, I cut lengths of ribbon for Travis, until we had a nice pile and variety.

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Help your child guide the ribbon through the holes of the dowels until you’ve filled each with 4 to 5 ribbon pieces. Gather into a knot and tie off.

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And now it’s time to dance!

Greater Than and Less Than Gator

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A chomping alligator who can help teach your child the less-than and greater-than symbols? What a cute way to kick off some math for the school year!

This project didn’t work out exactly as planned for us, largely because I had to upcycle egg cartons that were not my own, and as I result used half-dozen cartons, not a full dozen… Needless to say, our final product wasn’t quite a long alligator snout (perhaps more of a hungry dinosaur!) but the lesson remained the same.

Cut apart the tops and bottoms of two egg cartons; paint the tops green and the bottoms white. Let dry completely.

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Here is where things got a little difficult: Punch holes in the green portions, and use yarn to thread first through the holes of the bottom “jaw” and then the holes of the top “jaw.” This is great lacing practice for kids! Tie off with a knot at the end.

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I then hot glued the white “teeth” into each portion of the jaw. (You may need to trim about half a row of the teeth away, for it to nest properly inside the top portion of the carton.

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You now have a hinged puppet who can open and close its mouth to chomp up… numbers!

For our counting game, I affixed block dot stickers to construction paper in various combinations – 2 dots is less than 3; 5 dots is greater than 4; and so on.

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Travis had a bit of difficulty with the actual mechanism of our gator’s jaw, but aside from that, I loved watching him complete each task we put up on the easel. For each, he would count the dots first, then declare which was greater.

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When your child tires of the math lesson, they’ll have a fun gator puppet to play with! Ours was soon involved in superhero games.

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