Balloon Propeller

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We were dealing with big stuff for a four-year-old today! After our disk launchers from Kiwi Co introduced Travis to physics in a way even a preschooler could grasp, now we were talking about Newton’s laws of motion. Full disclosure: this required some review for mommy, who hasn’t touched this kind of material since college!

Here’s my quick recap: Newton’s third law of motion states that for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So if the air from a balloon is escaping in one direction, the balloon will try and move forward in the opposite direction, making it spin, in this case.

Here’s how we set it up:

Slightly tug on a balloon and partially inflate it, just to loosen it up – don’t tie off. Now tape the balloon securely to the end of a straw (on the non-bendy side).

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Travis immediately wanted to test out if he could blow up the balloon through the straw – neat!

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Hold the straw on your fingers to identify the point where the straw balances. This is where you’ll insert a straight pin. Poke the pin all the way through the straw, then down into the eraser of a pencil.

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Now blow up the balloon. Have your child hold the pencil, making sure their hand and arm won’t interfere with the motion of the balloon.

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Let go and watch! The balloon will deflate, which causes it to spin around on the pin (Note: You may have to tug on the pin or spin the propeller by hand a few times to loosen things up enough).

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We did this experiment over and over – a great visual of forces and energy, understandable even at the preschool level!

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Mirror Play

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There are so many ways to play with babies and mirrors, and they just keep getting more fun as your little one gets older! Today – on Veronika’s six month birthday! – we tried out a few new variations.

First, I sat her down in front of a mirror to do some body part and language learning. To the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush,” I sang:

This is what I call my head,

Call my head, call my head.

This is what I call my head,

Listen, look, and see.

Repeat for other body parts, making sure to touch each one as you sing about it.

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For the final verse, I sang:

Now I know the parts of me,

Parts of me, parts of me.

Now I know the parts of me.

Listen, look, and see.

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From there, we played around with some of those parts! Once we’d identified the tongue, for example we could wiggle it around.

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Once we’d identified the cheeks, we could puff them up with air.

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Once we’d identified the mouth, we could blow a big kiss. Big brother Travis loved helping with these demonstrations!

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If your baby happens to make a silly expressions, copy that back to him or her!

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We finished off the day’s mirror play by bringing in a stuffed animal friend. Use any favorite toy or stuffed animal for this part, and have it talk into the mirror or interact with baby.

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Veronika got a big kick out of this!

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Berry Good Muffin Bites

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Is it just me, or does everything taste better when it’s in miniature form? These adorable muffin bites are almost too cute to eat. Almost. Serve these as part of a brunch, or throw a couple in a lunchbox for a sweet snack.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup crushed freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1/3 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, Ener-G eggs, agave, butter, vanilla, and lemon extract.
  2. Fold in the flours, baking powder, and crushed strawberries.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among 24 mini muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees F for 11 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 8 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To prepare the glaze, whisk together the yogurt, powdered sugar, and lemon juice Drizzle over the cooled muffins.

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