Dropping Games

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Chances are your toddler sometimes throws a tantrum by dropping objects, a tactic that I find far more adorable than effective. It’s a good thing tantrums are so darn cute at this age! Harness that toddler love of all-things-dropping with this fun game, and you might just turn a tantrum into giggles.

When we first played, Veronika was in a good mood. The idea was just to have fun dropping! Over an empty oatmeal canister, we dropped in clothespins (the non-pinching kind) and small golf balls.

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Veronika loved peering inside to see where the items landed, as well as the “plink” that they made as they fell.

For a little extra strength-building, put the clothespins on the edge of the canister so your child has to pull them off before he or she can drop them in.

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I also encouraged her to stand up so she could see the items falling from a greater height. This turned out to be easier using a large storage container instead of the small oatmeal one. If you’re comfortable with the idea, you could even let your child stand on a chair for greater height!

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Returning to the oatmeal container: once it was full, we put on the lid and rolled it across the floor.

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Then she delighted in prying off the lid to begin again.

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Drop anything else in the container that seems fun, too! Little stuffed toys got lots of giggles.

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Later in the day came the real test; could a dropping game turn a tantrum frown upside down? She was quite moody in her high chair, so I set out the three items we had used earlier: the clothespins, the golf balls, and the small soft toys.

She immediately scattered some to the ground, no doubt daring me to make a stern mommy face and to say, “No”.

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Imagine her surprise, then, when I exclaimed, “Dropsie!” and returned the items to her tray with a smile.

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So she tried it again. Take that, mommy. “Dropsie!” I said happily.

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Well now she was smiling!

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This was such a fun way to divert a tantrum, to harness her love of dropping, and to teach cause-and-effect, too. Plus toddlers will love seeing a parent scramble around to pick up the dropped items and return them to the tray.

The only note of caution here is not to play this game too often, else you’ll find yourself endlessly playing “dropsie”.

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Tick Tock, Water Clock

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Having recently experimented with a marble timer, Travis set out to make a modern version of an ancient time-telling method: a water clock, also known as a clepsydra. He loved it so much that he decided this would be his project for the upcoming school Science Fair. His scientific question: Can you tell time with water? His hypothesis: Yes!

For the set up, first mark two paper cups, one A and one B, with a permanent marker.

Poke a hole in the bottom of each with a pen. You want the hole to be bigger than just the nib, but not as wide as the whole pen.

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Tear off a 1/4 sheet of a paper towel, and crumple into a ball. Saturate with water and place in cup B, then cover with cup A. Mark cup A with a fill line.

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Place this whole apparatus on top of a clear plastic jar (we upcycled a peanut butter jar). Place a piece of masking tape on one side of the jar. Mark a paper cup as C and use this to fill cup A; let the “clock” run through once.

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On the first try, we realized our hole was too small. The cup would have taken nearly an hour to drain!

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After enlarging the hole, it was time to tick off 30 second intervals on the masking tape., We set a stopwatch and marked the water line every 30 seconds. Travis had made a 1 minute and 30 second clock!

We noticed how the second two notches were much closer together than the first two.

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Travis can’t wait to talk about the project at the Science Fair! This is a great project for such an event, because it can be done over and over, simply by pouring the water back from the jar into the “C” fill cup and repeating.