Balancing Act

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Instead of tracing numbers today, Travis did a math project that was a little more hands-on, constructing a simple balance scale and testing it in various ways.

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Punch three holes in each of two plastic cups. Add three strands of string or yarn to attach each cup to a hanger. By accident, our lengths of string were cut too short, so I ended up taping them on to the hanger.

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The hanger should start out even. I gave Travis a bag of dried beans and had him start adding them to the cups any way he wanted. First the whole apparatus tilted one way…

Balancing Act (3)…then he quickly began adding beans to the other cup to even things out. After achieving a middle balance, he poured all the beans into the other cup, so things tilted the other way!

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Your child may have fun playing around with different variations on this for quite some time. To mix things up, take out the beans and weigh toys or other objects, and see how many balanced combinations you can come up with!

Make Handprint Keepsakes

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It’s been a couple of months since I last captured the size of Veronika’s hands and feet – si clearly it was time to do so again!

Use a non-toxic and washable paint and brush it gently onto your little one’s palms and the soles of his or her feet. Press firmly onto watercolor paper. You’ll probably get a little wiggling around, but that’s ok! Make sure you have wipes ready to go for quick clean up. Why are there no pictures of this process? Because paint + eight month old = lots of wrangling!

Handprint Keepsake (1)

Once the prints dried, I used them in two ways. With the handprint, I made a framed keepsake. Cover the backing of a picture frame with decorative fabric, and secure the fabric in place with masking tape.

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Use double-sided tape to attach the handprint in the middle of the fabric. Slip back into the frame and display in the nursery – or give this as a gift to grandparents perhaps!

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The footprint simply went into her memory box which was a great trip down memory lane. There were a few mementos in there I had already forgotten about!

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As long as you don’t mind the mess of painting with a baby, this is a fun project with great keepsakes as a result.

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Homemade Rocket Pops and Picnic Celebration

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Travis and I originally intended to make these homemade rocket pops for the 4th of July, but we were short a couple of ingredients. But there’s no better time than a summer afternoon to declare a random family celebration. Prepare these fun popsicles, set up a picnic, and celebrate… whether it’s a true holiday, or just a hot afternoon! That’s precisely what we did today. Read on for the recipe… and a fantastic chance to win $1,000!

First up: Making the rocket pops:

In a blender, combine 1 cup strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon water; blend until smooth. Pour into the bottoms of popsicle molds or small paper cups. We tried it both ways since I had a hunch our molds would work better and our 9 oz cups seemed too large. Small (5 oz) dixie cups would have been ideal!

Rocket Pop (1)

Let the strawberry layer freeze for 30 minutes. Travis was quite intrigued about this layered method of preparation.

Meanwhile, make the blueberry layer; puree 1 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside.

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Spoon 2 tablespoons vanilla non-dairy yogurt over each layer of strawberry mixture. Add 2 tablespoons blueberry mixture to the top of each pop. Insert the handles (or, if using cups, cover with foil and insert a popsicle stick). Return to the freezer for at least 6 hours.

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Now it was time for the picnic! We headed to a local national park, laid down a blanket and enjoyed our pops. Okay, so they got a bit melty on a 90 degree day, but that only added to the amusement.

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We decided ours were Bastille Day pops, since our picnic coincided with France’s day to celebrate red white and blue instead of America’s.

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Whatever the reason to celebrate, your child will love being involved in the picnic from start to finish, first by preparing a special recipe and then by helping to clean up at the end!

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I love projects like this that inspire kids to learn without even realizing it; they use their own creative process and enjoy tangible results. How does your child love learning while having fun? I’m so excited to announce the Limitless Learners Contest through Education.com, where your child can win $500 toward college, $1,000 for a school library, and a lifetime free membership to Education.com by explaining just that!

Children must be entering kindergarten through grade 5 and will think creatively about what education means to them. Using art or writing (depending on age), entrants describe a time they had so much fun they didn’t realize they were learning. A winner will be chosen from each grade level.

I hope my readers will tap into this amazing opportunity. Entries must be received by October 31, 2019. Further details are available at https://www.education.com/contests/