Newton’s Tower


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Yesterday, Travis and I marveled at some good oldĀ laws of physics and inertia, making pennies fall into a cup. We wanted a repeat of this magic today, so made this tower named in honor of Isaac Newton and his first law of motion: that an object will stay at rest unless acted upon by an external force.

The idea here is to hit only the bottom box in a tower of boxes. The bottom box is moved by an external force, but not so the others. So what would happen to these higher boxes?

You’ll want to use small boxes for this experiment. I had some old gift boxes that were probably about as big as you want to go; smaller would be even better.

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To make them pretty, I wrapped each in a separate shade of construction paper.

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To start, Travis and I tested if we could make the experiment work only three levels high. Zoom! The orange got whacked away with a dowel, and the red and yellow stayed put.

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Could we make it work with four? It worked perfectly – not the orange box off to the side, now.

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Notice the orange off to the side there.

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Needless to say, Travis loved a science experiment that involved whacking things with a stick. I taught him that the secret is to whack the bottom box as hard and as fast as you can. Finally, we challenged ourselves with all 5 boxes.

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As always, there’s something a bit magical about this every time it works.

Animal Magic

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We have a cat who hates everyone on earth… except my two kids, thank goodness. I had read about this phenomenon before my eldest was born, that cats will guard a home against “outsiders”, but will immediately protect those who live within the home, so I never worried about introducing the cat to the babies. From the moment they came back from the hospital, he was their protector and nursemaid. He parked himself by the bassinet at nap time, sat by their feet during tummy time, and curled up by their side whenever they nursed.

The affection between family pets and babies runs both ways. It turns out babies love watching cats almost as much as cats love watching baby. Pets can fill kids with wonder, and are often their first exposure to the animal world. Today, Veronika and I took some time to truly appreciate and marvel at the cat.

As you can see, he loves to join playtime.

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At six months old, Veronika is truly aware of him now, and loves petting his fur (this is a great time to introduce words like “gentle” to your little one).

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If you’re worried that your baby will grab on to the fur too tightly, try rubbing feet into the fur instead.

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As she sat on my lap, I let Veronika stroke the cat, and we also listened for his noises, his meows and his purrs.

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Because we don’t have a dog, I also sought out a few chances for her to see canines in action. We headed to the local dog park and heard barks and yips.

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We also saw some dogs getting groomed while at the pet store!

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If you don’t have a pet at home, consider a similar outing, or go to a friend’s house for some animal magic. Here Veronika got to check out some birds!

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I recommend sitting your baby on your lap if you’re unfamiliar with the animal. Needless to say, you should always supervise animals and babies closely, even at home.


Dance to Different Tunes

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Dancing with baby never gets old, as evinced by the blogs I’ve already posted on the topic. Today, for variation with Veronika, I deliberately selected a few types of music with different rhythms and tempos in order to expose her to a range of sounds.

First up was marching! For this, my go-to music is Sousa marches. Put on some good old Stars and Stripes, and march around.

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For added fun, I gave Veronika some bells to jingle as we marched about the apartment to the beat of the drums and brass instruments.

Next up, a slow song! As the intro chords played, I held her close and we swayed side-to-side. Warning: you might get a little verklempt during this part of the activity.

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Then it was time to bounce around. We put on an exuberant upbeat song (from one of big brother’s favorite TV shows!) and just had some good old dancing fun.

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Try this game with any style music you like, making sure to mix it up, and have fun feeling the rhythm.

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