Eat the Alphabet

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What better way to conclude an almost-kindergartner’s summer alphabet lessons than to eat your way through it? Each day for 26 days at snack time, I gave Travis a food starting with a letter, in alphabetical order. He had to make that letter first, then – yum – gobble it up! Without further ado, Travis nibbled his way through:

A for apples

Eat Alph A

B for banana slices

Eat Alph B

C for cereal

Eat Alph C

D for dates

Eat Alph D

E for eggplant

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F for Fritos

Eat Alph F

G for grapes

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H for Hippies (chickpea puffs)

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I for ice cream cone

Eat Alph I

J for Jelly

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K for kiwi

Eat Alph K.JPG

L for licorice

Eat Alph L

M for marshmallows

Eat Alph M

N for nuts

Eat Alph N

O for Oreo cookies

Eat Alph O.JPG

P for pretzels

Eat Alph P

Q for quesadilla

R for raspberries

Eat Alph R

S for Sour Patch kids

Eat Alph S.JPG

T for Twizzlers

U for Utz chips

V for vanilla cookies

W for watermelon

X for two crossed carrot stix

Y for yams

and Z for zucchini

Suitcase Sandbox

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If you’re hesitant to bring your baby to the beach during his or her first summer, then bring the beach to your baby! This little activity is one step up from the sand sensory play I did when Veronika when she was only 6 months old.

This time, I found an old craft suitcase and completely filled the bottom with sand. Any old suitcase with hard sides would work fine for this purpose! I briefly considered that bigger might have been better, but the small one had an added bonus: I could do the entire activity in the tub, making for fantastically easy clean-up.

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I stripped Veronika down to a diaper and sat her in the sand. Beach day!

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The most fun was burying her hands and feet and then helping her uncover them. She loved just kicking her legs in the sand, although looked confused by the grittiness, too.

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I sprinkled some over her upturned palms, but found that in general it was best to keep the sensory play to her feet, so she didn’t eat any sand.

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After a time, she seemed frustrated by the small box so I moved her to the side.

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I loved watching her reach in and draw patterns in the sand.

To clean up, simply close the suitcase and save it for next time! Any extra sand that had spilled was simply rinsed down the tub drain.

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Melted Crayon Suncatchers

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It’s so fun to harness the power of the sun when you make art in the summertime. Travis and I used melted crayons in a project once before, but that one relied on the indoor heat of a hairdryer. This time, we put the sun’s heat to work!

To set up, lay a piece of black construction paper on a baking sheet. The dark surface and the metal will help absorb as much of the sun’s heat as possible. Cut two equal sheets of wax paper, and place one on the black paper.

Crayon Suncatcher (1)

The next step was a bit tricky: remove the paper wrapper from crayons and use the edge of a craft stick to shave off bits of wax. Travis found this to be quite difficult, and in all honesty, I did too.

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After he’d tried for a bit, I made sure our wax paper was covered with enough shavings. Cover that with the second piece of wax paper.

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Now place in direct sunlight (just like we did with a solar oven a few days ago)! Depending how hot the day is, your crayons may need anywhere from 1 hour to several in order to melt. You can press down, on occasion, to help the process along.

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To turn it into a suncatcher, cut the wax paper into rectangles or other shapes, and punch a hole in the top of each piece.

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Thread them onto a dowel (or attach with string), and hang up in the window to catch the sun.

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What beautiful sunshine!

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Sundial

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Last summer Travis helped make two DIY versions of a sundial, but he was really too young to understand how we were tracking the sun. This year, he was ready, and our model a bit more precise!

First, he traced a circle on a piece of sturdy poster board.

Sundial (1)

Cut out and find the exact center of your poster board by measuring halfway lengthwise and crosswise.

Sundial (2)

We used a dowel as our centerpiece, and used clay to hold it in place; Travis pressed down the clay, and then made sure the dowel was nice and secure.

Sundial (4)

We headed out the next morning as soon as sunlight hit the patio, and I showed Travis how to trace a straight line along a ruler following the dowel’s shadow.

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I pointed out how looong the shadow was this time of day, too, and challenged him to notice how that would change as the day went on.

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We missed a few morning hours because we were out and about! But by 1 p.m. we were steadily marking on the hour. As we had guessed, the dowel’s shadow was much shorter in the middle of the afternoon, then began to lengthen again.

Sundial (8)

After 5, we lost our sunlight on the patio!

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So now it was time to head inside and decorate the sundial. Dot markers were the perfect tool for the job!

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Travis loved the way it looked and now has a neat visual of the sun’s path across the sky each day.

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