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Having made several varieties of kaleidoscope in a Kiwi Crate recently, today Travis helped me tackle a DIY version. Ours didn’t come out exactly as intended, but the materials were fun and it quickly became a prop in Travis’s make-believe games!

First, wrap an empty toilet paper tube in colorful construction paper; Travis chose purple. Tape on.

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Trace the bottom of the tube three times on a plastic lid. We used the lid of an oatmeal can, which was not entirely clear, and perhaps why our results weren’t 100%. But oh well! Cut out the three circles and hot glue one circle to one end of the tube.

Meanwhile, cut a piece of reflective paper so it is 1 inch shorter than the tube.

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Fold into thirds and then open back up again. Fold it up to form a prism (making sure the reflective side is on the inside) and tape to secure.

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Slide the prism into the tube, all the way back against the hot-glued circle.

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Slip the second circle over the prism. Fill the remaining space with multi-colored pony beads. Hot glue the final circle to the other end of the tube.

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Kids can decorate the outside of the tube with colored tape or markers, if desired.

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We found that this worked best when we held it directly up toward a light source. But even with slightly cloudy viewing, it worked great as a “viewfinder” or “telescope” or “homing device” in Travis’s games!

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Make a Seesaw for a Teddy Bear

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At nine months old, your baby is old enough to understand silly fun and games, and probably loves stuffed animal pals, too. This game puts that all together!

Using one of her favorite bears, I set up a “seesaw” for teddy. Place a long rectangular book over an empty paper towel tube as a fulcrum and place teddy on one side.

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Press down on the book sharply so that – whee! – Teddy flies through the air.

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Veronika was delighted with the game in so many ways. Mostly she just wanted to grab for all the materials; a book, and bear, and a paper towel tube were equally delightful to her.

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But I also helped her rock the book up and down on the tube, and made a big show of it every time teddy flew through the air or just toppled backwards. This is a simple way to get lots of giggles.

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Following the bear’s movements is great for eye tracking development, too.

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Serve a Picnic Breakfast

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Oh the dilemmas of summer; you want your child to have plenty of sunshine and fresh air, but by late morning it’s already so oppressively hot that you retreat indoors.

Cue the picnic breakfast! Today we were outside before 7 a.m. (so early that big brother remarked he was a little chilly) to enjoy the fresh breeze, the sound of the birds, and… breakfast!

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Both kids thought this was just the best! Veronika didn’t actually eat much, but she loved sampling the puffs, teething bars, and banana slices on her plate.

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And then she loved tasting her plate!

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To add extra beauty to the moment, don’t forget to break out the bubbles.

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Then head back inside, throw the whole picnic blanket into the laundry machine for the easiest clean up ever, and rest easy that you’ve already gotten your quota of fresh air and vitamin D for the day.

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Y and Z!

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Travis’s 3-D models for the last two letters of the alphabet were so simple I decided to combine them into one post. First he traced the penultimate and final letter, and then made the following.

Upper case Y from three crayons:

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Lower case y from two socks; make sure to use 1 long and 1 short:

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Note: This was the first time he really noticed you need three strokes to form Y but only two to make y.


Upper case Z from three strips of paper; be sure to fold or cut all three so they are the same size:

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This was definitely good practice to think about Z spatially, with no line to trace. He had to think hard about which direction the zigs and zags should go.

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Finally, lower case z from pasta… ziti of course!

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Again, he thought carefully about the directions of each line, and was finally able to line up the ziti pieces correctly. Someone is feeling just about kindergarten ready!