Dip-Dye Caterpillar

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Putting together this charming little caterpillar takes some time, but it’s worth it in the end!

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To start, you’ll want to dye as many coffee filters as you have patience for (and/or room to dry!) in liquid watercolor. For each color, I squirted a few drops into an empty butter tub and then added a few tablespoons of water. Scrunch up a coffee filter (or a handful of them is fine) and dip in.

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Travis loved watching the colors bleed up the filters! After a few single colors, he decided it was fun to re-dip some old ones, which resulted in a pretty mottled look on many of our filters.

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A tutorial online suggested using as many as 250 filters for this project (!), but I would guess we dyed about 50. Lay these on paper towels and dry completely.

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While the filters dried, we made the caterpillars head. Give your kids carte blanche to decorate an empty tissue box any way they like; it’s the perfect excuse to raid the craft bin for bits and bobs. Travis added buttons, pom poms, and wiggle eyes.

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We twisted together sparkly pipe cleaners for the antennae.

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Later in the day, it was time to poke holes in the coffee filters. Travis thought it was amusing to pierce each one with a kebab skewer. Kids will probably need grown-up help for this step, and to make the process move along more swiftly.

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I then punched two holes in our caterpillar head, one in the top of the tissue box and one on the side. Using a large plastic needle, thread string through all of the filters and then up through the two holes in the head. Now suspend your caterpillar and watch it wiggle!

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One of these would look so beautiful in a garden, but since we a) have no garden and b) it’s winter, we strung it up inside for a few days of play.

Dish Soap Tub Bubbles

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Blowing bubbles in dish soap is always fun, whether your kids are old enough to blow into the mixture themselves, or young enough that you do it for them. Tonight, I took dish soap bubbles to Veronika’s bath for some great soapy play!

To start, I tinted the tub blue with a little food coloring.

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(Side note: This was purely for extra entertainment, and not necessary at all. We always love a colored bath around here whether red, yellow, green, or something in between.

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Just squirt in a few drops of all-natural food coloring and let your toddler swish the colors around!).

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Once the water this blue, I filled a Tupperware container with a few squirts of dish soap and added a little water.

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Blow into the mixture with a straw and honeycomb bubbles will begin to rise to the surface. Definitely only let your child use the straw if you are confident he or she can blow out, not in.

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Veronika loved it the moment the bubbles spilled over the top of the container! After watching a few times, she was brave enough to put her hands in. These dish soap bubbles won’t pop, making for endless fun dipping hands in and out of what feels like endless bubbles.

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We hid a few fish toys in the big bubbles and she loved feeling around for them!

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After holding the container for a while, I set it down to float in the tub and she continued to enjoy putting eager hands into the bubbles.

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This made them spill over into the water, so then she loved stirring at them with one of the straws I’d used!

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I think she wanted to stay in this bath forever.

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DIY Sundial

DIY Sundial (7)Of the various ways Travis and I have made a sundial, this was by far easiest for him to keep up with – and the prettiest! Thanks to a vacation day off from school, we were consistent about popping out every hour, too. The secret? Play dough.

To start, we pushed a wooden dowel in a big blob of play dough. Press the play dough firmly onto an outdoor patio or similar surface. Stretch a line of string for accuracy along the shadow that the dowel casts, and set down a second blob of play dough.

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We started at 7 a.m., so marked this off as the first hour: Insert a toothpick, numbered with the time of day. (Note: you can make these “flags” much more elegant than ours, which were just taped-on strips of paper labeled with the hours from 7 to 4 p.m.).

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Being as accurate as we could, we dashed out around each hour over the course of this sunny day and set down a new blob of play dough and new toothpick flag. The colors looked great as they accumulated over the course of the day!

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We lost out winter sun after 4, so that was the final point of our clock.

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But Travis was wowed seeing this visual arc of how the sun had traveled. Definitely the best sundial he’s made yet.

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