Cartesian Diver

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I had no idea until after Travis and I made this little project that this is a classic experiment dating back to… the 1600s! It’s so-named because it was first described in detail by Rene Descartes, and it’s a neat way to show kids some basic principles of pressure and density.

First, we made our little diver – and by little, I mean little! Measure a 1 inch x 1.5 inch rectangle on aluminum foil (we folded our foil double so it was a little thicker and sturdier).

Draw a little diver shape onto this rectangle and cut out.

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Travis thought he was so cute!

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Cut 1.5 inches from a bendy straw. Bend into an upside-down U and attach to your diver with a small paper clip. Be sure to use a small one! Our first was big and so heavy our diver sank right down.

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Now add a tiny bit of clay to his feet. Test that he doesn’t sink in a glass of water before you use a bottle; if so, just remove some clay.

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If he’s horizontal, you need a little more clay. We made the mistake of skipping this step on our first try, although Travis thought it was hilarious to fish our diver out from the bottle once we realized he was sinking.

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Once we had the proper diver who floated just right, we filled an empty 2 liter bottle with water nearly to the top. Screw the cap on tightly.

Squeeze the bottle and watch him go up and down! He’ll sink when his straw fills with water, increasing the density just enough, then float when you release the bottle and the water drains out of the straw again.

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Ours wasn’t as perfect as some example we saw online, but we had fun!

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Draw Your Baby’s Family Tree

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Following up on our extra large photo album, today I made another project to help Veronika recognize and know the closest members of our family.

On a piece of construction paper, first draw a basic tree shape with markers.

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I added brown lines for each family member we’d include in an upside-down V (to look like each picture is hanging from a wire).

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Now cut faces from photos, and “hang” on your tree. Whoops, you’ll notice I had to leave a few spaces blank until my next trip to the drugstore, but you can always add to your tree as you go.

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Veronika and I talked through all the family members, which is great since some relatives live near and some far. Make sure to point to each person as you say the name.

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And don’t forget a picture of baby!

This tree works great for tummy time.

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It’s also nice if you hang it on the wall, especially in a place your little one lies often and can take in the details of the family slowly.

 

Feed the Ducks

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Why is it that ducks and their quacks are one of the first sounds we teach babies? Perhaps it’s because, unless you live on a farm, your little one is more likely to have easier access these fun birds than to other common sound animals (think cows, horses, pigs, etc.). Plus the “quack quack” sound is just so irresistibly fun to make and hear. So today, we took a field trip to the park with the specific agenda to check out the ducks.

Whether or not you’re visiting fowl friends, parks are a fantastic outing with your baby. Long before he or she is old enough to play on the playground, there’s so much to see and hear at the park.

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You can sit on a warm bench in the sun, walk on easy paths, or just let your little one soak up the ambiance. Little kids will be wide-eyed watching the big kids move on the playground structures.

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Veronika likes seeing big brother Travis swing!

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After some playtime, we headed toward the pond to find ducks, and were quickly rewarded.

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Veronika listened to all the quacking and observed the way the birds splashed through the water. While we watched, I sang the little nursery rhyme Five Little Ducks (which we later watched at home!).

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If you’re going to feed the ducks, please take caution. I didn’t do my homework until after we returned, where I learned that the pita bread I had torn up (even into tiny pieces, and even only one handful) wasn’t the best option.

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Instead, I could have tossed rolled oats or defrosted peas, both of which we had at home. Sorry ducks!