Marble Timer Kiwi Crate

Kiwi Time (7)

Travis’s kit this month from Kiwi Co was all about time, and the different ways humans have devised throughout the centuries to keep time. I’ve simplified the steps we followed in my account below, but the projects could be put together with items from a craft and hardware store.

The main project was a Marble Timer. Travis gamely followed complicated instructions for applying nuts, bolts, and wooden pieces to the provided backboard in the proper order.

Kiwi Time (1)

Wooden shelves are then slotted into the holes of the backboard, following handy white lines as a guide. These now make a ramp that the seven provided black marbles can roll down.

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When one marble reaches the bottom, it falls into the notch of a wooden slat, which triggers the wooden handle, which turns the wooden circle, which then feeds the next marble onto the ramp. The instructions help kids understand how each marble takes the exact same amount of time to complete this course, hence why it can be used as a timer.

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Unfortunately, our alignment was slightly off, making this project frustrating for Travis. One of us had to keep a finger on the wooden slat at the bottom in order for it to function.

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But Travis was still able to grasp the concept, and he liked the Marble Timer Experiments that followed: what would happen when he rejiggered the position of the wooden pieces?

Travis loved fiddling with this idea. After a few tries where the marbles dropped straight down or missed the lever, he had a course set up that was much faster than the original “timer”.

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The final project was the A part of STEAM, as often seems to be the case in Kiwi Crates: Dip-Dye Wood Art. First he squeezed the provided liquid watercolors into the provided cups, adding water as instructed.

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Use a clip to hold wooden shapes into the dye for the length of time it takes the marbles to move through the “timer”.

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Kids can then experiment with what happens if a piece is dyed for a second round. Again, because our marble timer was slightly wonky, we sort of fudged this step and just counted out seconds.

As a nice final touch, Kiwi provided cord to loop through the dyed pieces.

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The resulting trinkets make great keychains on Travis’s backpack!

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The booklet this month contained no suggested books for further reading, which was a shame, but Travis did find goodies like time-telling methods through the centuries, a Find It page, and an experiment that turned our to be perfect for his upcoming school Science Fair (stay tuned!).

For further reading, I highly recommend Telling the Time from Usborne books and A Kids Book of Experiments with Time by Robert Gardner.

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Creamy Pasta with Broccoli and Chick’n

Creamy Pasta Version 2

The kids loved a recent creamy pasta recipe, so I mixed things up with this variation to keep it novel. You can use all broccoli, all cauliflower, or a mix of the two.


  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy ranch dressing
  • 3 tablespoons oat milk
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 14/ teaspoon mustard
  • 2 cups cooked rotini pasta
  • 1 cup cooked and finely chopped broccoli and cauliflower florets
  • 4 ounces cooked and finely chopped Gardein chick’n strips
  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, dressing, milk, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl.
  2. Add the cooked pasta, broccoli/cauliflower, and chick’n, stirring to coat. Serve warm or chilled!

For a Mediterranean spin on the pasta, omit the broccoli and chick’n, and instead stir in 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts, 1/2 cup sliced black olives, and 1/2 cup cooked zucchini (or summer squash).

Creamy Mediterranean Pasta

Finger Puppet Play

Finger Puppet Play (1)

There’s an easy way to play this game and a hard way, and I definitely went with the easier for the obvious reason that I’m not a seamstress. Using an old pair of children’s gloves, I simply attached a smiley face sticker to each fingertip and these became friendly little puppets to interact with Veronika!

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She grinned as soon as she saw the smiling stickers and loved hearing them say hello to her, give kisses to cheeks, and sing songs (like “If You’re Happy and You Know It”).

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Then they played peekaboo from behind her teddy bear!

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Of course she also loved the fact that the faces were stickers, which she soon impishly pulled off.

For a version that will last much longer, cut the fingers from an old glove instead and then sew on felt pieces to be ears, noses, whiskers, and more. Then slide these onto each finger as individual puppets.

(Note: A middle-of-the-road option might be just to draw the details on with a fabric pen instead of sewing on all that felt).

And if you don’t want to get crafty at all, just play with store-bought finger puppets! We have an assortment that includes cows, cats, Halloween ghosts, and more.

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Today I trotted them all out and they sang to Veronika, chatted with her, wiggled around, and made silly noises. These little toys are perfect for car rides, so I stash a few in my purse.

Does your child have a favorite finger puppet? Please share in the comments!