Motion Magic

Motion Magic (%)

You’ll stun your kids with the way a penny doesn’t move in these games, a fantastic illustration of inertia. You can give a quick physics lesson – basically, things that aren’t moving want to stay put – but whether they grasp the concept or not, they’ll be amazed by the results.

We tried out the motion magic in two ways. For the first, we cut a square of cardboard as a base (using a bit of our Kiwi Crate from the Disk Launchers set). Place the cardboard over a glass, and put a penny on top.

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Quickly flick the cardboard away (from the side, not from underneath). The cardboard will fly away but the penny…

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…falls in the glass! This got a whoa from Travis, who then tried himself and was so proud it worked.

There is something sort of magical about inertia, even for grown-ups. Logically we want that penny to fly away, and every time we heard the clink of the penny in the glass, we were excited.

For the second method, we cut a strip from cardstock. Form it into a circle and staple the edges.

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Place the circle over the glass, with the penny on top.

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Very quickly, put a finger inside the cardstock circle and flick it out of the glass. Where did our penny go?

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Down inside!

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Want to really up the wow factor? Try the classic trick of pulling a tablecloth out from under a plate (you might want to use a paper plate, just in case).

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Is it magic? Nope, it’s inertia of course.


Learning to Reach

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Veronika is six months old! This is such an exciting age for babies, with so much that happens right around now: rolling if your baby hasn’t already; sitting up unaided; and making the first moves toward crawling.

We do lots of tummy time with Veronika, which is one way to encourage crawling. Right now she pushes with her legs but arches her arms back like a swimmer doing the butterfly and screams when she can’t reach something. She’ll figure it out eventually!

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Another way to encourage crawling, other than tummy time, is to have your baby sit and lean forward. This not only builds the abdominal muscles for sitting, but can actually turn into a crawl, if a reach forward turns into a belly flop.

Today, I sat Veronika up with a supportive pillow, and placed a few tantalizing toys just out of reach.

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We soon found that this worked best with her foam blocks.

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She really wanted to reach them.

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As she reached, I gave lots of encouragement. Resist the urge to move the blocks or toys closer, and let your baby truly stretch.

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One time she did flop forward onto her belly and looked quite surprised, but then happily was at her target. The other times, she was simply stretching as far forward as possible, so happy and so determined.

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I can say with 100 percent certainty that this game was the difference between a day where she was still sitting with a wobble, and the next day where she suddenly had the muscle control to stay steady. Will it lead to crawling next? I’ll report back once we have a crawler!