Sunken Treasure

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After lots of fun dressing up as pirates, Travis and I needed to head off on a treasure hunt for “booty.” I involved a little STEM learning in the game by turning it into a test – which treasure will float, and which will sink to the bottom of the ocean?

First, I made a list of items to find around the house, and Travis helped check them off as we went.

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He found a little box to gather his treasures into, and already loved the game!

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Items included: things from the kitchen like cucumber slices, toothpicks, and cookie cutters; things from his room like toy dinosaurs, marbles, and bouncy balls; and things from outside like leaves, rocks, and sticks.

Next we filled a glass of water and set about testing all of our items.

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Travis loved dropping things in the glass!

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We soon detected a pattern – metal objects tended to sink and wooden ones tended to float. The rubber bouncy ball surprised us by sinking! When we were done, I fished the objects out of the glass, and “Pirate Travis” had to dry and polish all his treasures.

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Dancing Hands

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This adorable activity is a great way to help your infant discover his or her hands, and feel how they are connected to the rest of the body.

Simply hold your baby’s hands (or let them hold on to you with the grasp reflex), and start to make movements. You can do this randomly, but it’s even better to music.

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You can try soothing music – we did a few strains of Mozart! – but feel free to make things more upbeat if that suits your baby’s mood.

Maybe because she hears it all the time (thanks to big brother), Veronika seemed to prefer having her hands rock out to pop music.

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Travis joined in for an impromptu dance party.

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This ended up being a great sibling bonding moment, his feet and her hands dancing to the beat. A great little activity!

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Pirate Crate

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Ahoy matey! With just a couple months left in our Koala subscription, Travis was eager to see what the Pirate Crate was all about, and dove right in to all 3 projects! As always, you can replicate these projects with materials from a craft store, more or less.

First up was Pirate Dress-Up – a paper hat to fold, and a felt eyepatch. The eyepatch was an instant hit – wow, he felt like a real pirate!

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Simply thread the provided patch onto a bit of black elastic, and tie a knot to secure it.

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Next we added the pirate hat, a large piece of black construction paper with dotted lines to fold. These were nicely labeled by both number and color, making it easy for kids.

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To decorate the hat, use the provided stencils and magic markers. Travis really enjoyed stenciling in shapes (“Look, I made a diamond!”).

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I helped show him some of the suggested overlapping shapes to make pirate-themed decorations (rectangle + heart = crossbones) but mostly he was content just to scribble and make his own designs.

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Avast, matey!

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He eagerly asked if we could make the Parrot Puppet immediately after. Color in the provided template with magic markers. There are also feather stickers to adhere.

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To make the puppet stand, thread elastic through a cardboard base and secure the elastic on with tape, letting the ends dangle down. Fold the cardboard in half and tape again – now the parrot figure slips right on.

When the parrot is not on the stand, the elastic can cleverly be tied around the wrist – a parrot pal just like every good pirate needs!

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The third project, a real floating Pirate Ship, was a big hit! Insert a craft stick into a brown foam base, and thread one of the 4 provided sails onto the stick.

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Kids can decorate the sails with stencils, too, but Travis only gave the decoration a cursory thought. He much preferred to see the sails on the masts, and was delighted he could raise and lower them like a real sail.

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A cardboard “rudder” inserted into a slit at the back of the foam base allows your boat to go straight, left, or right, depending which slot it’s in. So of course we had to test them in the bathtub!

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Have fun playing around with the rudder’s position, or racing the boats against one another. Travis also loved “flying” the boats in the air.

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To round out Travis’s costume, we also put together the suggested Pirate Hook. Roll a piece of aluminum foil tightly – Travis insisted on doing so himself!

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Adults, poke a hole in the bottom of a plastic cup. Insert the wrapped foil, curling the end into a hook shape. Pop the cup over your child’s hand and ahoy there – it’s Captain Hook!

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Shiver me timbers! Thanks for a great time, Koala Crate.