Rainbow Optics Kiwi Crate

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On the heels of playing with mirrors and illusions, Travis got to delve further into the science of light with Kiwi’s Rainbow Optics crate. Most of the projects involved mixing or pulling apart colors, to explain the way white light bends to form a rainbow.

The first project was Mixing Colored Light. Travis helped adhere a wooden hexagon onto the provided box lid, fold up cardboard into a triangle as a support piece, and insert a provided color guide into the base of the hexagon box.

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Three neat finger lights (one each in red, green, and blue) then slip into this insert. Travis loved turning these on!

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Decorate the provided frosted plastic jar with stickers; options include everything from moons and planets to sea creatures. Place an additional black sticker on the bottom of the jar. This has a hole in just one area… And Travis was about to see why!

Place the frosted jar on top of the hexagon box and spin it slowly. Because the bottom sticker only allows one or two lights through at a time, the colors change with each spin, from red, to magenta, to blue, to cyan, to green, to yellow.

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Travis loved spinning this, and pretending it was a forge in later make-believe games.

Next up was Projecting Colorful Shadows. Again there were lots of little steps, including adhering the Styrofoam base to a paper guide with sticky Velcro dots.

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Kids can write on the provided projector window screen, which is then Velcroed onto a projector box.

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Stretch a projector screen onto the other side of the box and secure with blue stickers.

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Now it was time to set up the projector box on the paper base, and add another set of those fun finger lights to the Styrofoam block. As you shine these, each light hits the drawing at a slightly different angle, casting shadows in multiple colors.

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We took the booklet’s suggestion to hold other objects between the lights and our projector screen. Our fingers had definite wow factor!

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Finally, the kit included Rainbow Glasses, the kind you might remember from childhood! This involved no assembly, just looking around at different light sources.

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The finger lights, in particular, were fun to look at. Travis wandered all over the house to find his favorite lights, and the booklet helpfully explained how the glasses work through diffraction plastic.

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Well now we needed to experiment further! We could test out making a rainbow on white paper with a few simple materials: Attach a mirror to a glass pan half filled with water, using modeling clay to attach. Shine a flashlight on the paper mirror where it is under the water. Hold up a piece of white paper, and watch your rainbow appear!

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It was tricky to get the angle just right, but I was able to hold things steady while Travis manned the camera!

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We also tried to overlap colors with a twist on the projector box project. Remove the projector paper, and instead add a sheet of aluminum foil. Poke a quarter-sized hole in the center with a pencil.

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Shine the finger lights through, and watch for overlapping shades (i.e. red and blue should make magenta). The results of this weren’t obvious to Travis, but it was a neat variation.

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Interestingly, you can also show how red + blue paint = purple paint, but red + blue light = magenta light.

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Why? Because the paint colors combine towards black, but the light colors combine to towards white. Neat!

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We finished with a read of two suggested books: All the Colors of the Rainbow by Allan Fowler and The Rainbow Goblins, by Ul De Rico.

All this rainbow talk had us hungry! So finish your fun with rainbow kabobs made of the following:

  • red strawberries
  • orange cantaloupe
  • yellow pineapple
  • green grapes
  • blue blueberries
  • purple grapes

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Travis reminded me we really needed indigo grapes. Yes indeed, but tasty nonetheless!

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Sensory Activity: Cool Whip

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Older toddlers can safely play with shaving cream, a fantastic material for sensory play, but if you need something for a younger toddler who still wants to see how everything tastes, look no further than whipped cream as a substitute.

For this game, I used the vegan CocoWhip from Soy Delicious. You could also use soy or rice whip from a spray can, but I worried the sound would startle Veronika!

Instead, I sat her down in her high chair and dolloped a big blob of the CocoWhip in front of her.

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With December just around the corner, it was time to get in a snowy holiday spirit! So I added a few holiday items, like sparkly hair ties and Christmas cookie cutters.

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She absolutely loved scooping the whipped cream into the cookie cutter shapes, almost like she was frosting them.

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We also pretended her spatula was a snow plow, with fun sound effects, and I showed her how to spread the whipped cream thinly and thickly. Then we made whipped cream” cookies”!

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The sparkly hair ties were fun to dip and dangle in it!

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She had so much fun that when I asked if she was all done, she signed “more more”. A first!

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I’d say this was one successful sensory experience. She had so much fun that we might try it again for other holiday themes, like Easter in the spring or with Halloween items in the fall.

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