Squeeze Bottle Bath

 

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Learning to squirt water is great for strengthening little hands and fists, all in preparation for bigger skills down the line like holding a pen or scissors. And there’s no better place to practice squirting water than in the bathtub!

So tonight, Veronika and I simply brought an empty squeeze bottle into the tub (leftover from a tie-dye project, in fact).

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I showed her how to fill up the bottle, which was fun because it made big bubbles blub blub to the surface.

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Then I demonstrated how squeezing it made a stream of water jet out. At first she simply held the bottle upside down, waiting for the water to appear. Then she realized she needed to squeeze hard before seeing results. A great lesson in both cause-and-effect and motor skills!

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

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This cheesy soup is sure to have even picky vegetable eaters spooning up their broccoli!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups unsweetened almond milk, divided
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 2 and 1/2 cups shredded Daiya cheddar
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli florets
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined. Stir in 2 cups milk and the bouillon, and cook until thick.
  2. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups milk and the cheddar, and continue to cook until the cheese is melty. Stir in the broccoli and let cool slightly before serving.

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For variation, try adding an equal amount of mashed potato…

Potato Cheese Soup

…or corn kernels in place of the broccoli (or in addition to it!).

Corn Cheese Soup

Sun Catcher Sensory Bags

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This easy sensory bag doubles as a sun catcher for toddlers… so be sure to play on a sunny day!

My original intent had been to make several of these bags, using different combinations of primary colors in each. But I quickly realized that my one container of hair gel was only going to fill a single large zip-top bag, so one version it was! If you have hair gel in bulk, by all means make several.

Sun Catcher Sensory (1)

I decided to work with blue and yellow. Squirt the hair gel into the bag and then drip in food coloring so that two separate colors are in opposite corners of the bag. I then taped it to our patio door, which catches the morning sunlight beautifully.

Sun Catcher Sensory (8)

Veronika was entranced!

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She loved how squishy it was when she poked at it.

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She loved how the colors splashed around when she tapped it with her full palm.

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She loved the way we could chase bubbles through it with our fingers.

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Meanwhile, I loved pointing out the reflections it made on our wall, and how the blue and yellow were combining toward green in the center. Plus I loved watching her sunlit smile as she played.

We left this one up for a few days!

 

Sun Catcher Sensory (9)

Raspberry Love Muffins

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Travis kicked off a “Cupid’s Kitchen” crate from Raddish Kids a little late for Valentine’s Day, but it’s never too late to bake with love! We loved putting these muffins together on a cozy Sunday morning. Heart-shaped teaspoons, the keepsake from this crate, made them extra special.

Raspberry Love Muffins (2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 2 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the Ener-G egg, yogurt, and canola oil. Whisk in the sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently stir in the raspberries and chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F for 24 minutes.

Raspberry Love Muffins (4)

Travis was so proud bringing one up to his dad for breakfast in bed, with a side dose of love of course! We also checked out the recipe card’s fun math problems using the dozen cups of a muffin tin to guide kids through a few equations.

As a side note, next time I would use fresh raspberries and select the smallest ones for the recipe. Some of our large frozen raspberries made the muffins too runny in the pockets where they baked.

 

Ice Lab Kiwi Crate

Kiwi Ice (3)

Travis’s latest crate from Kiwi Co was perfect to receive in winter, all about ice and snow. Specifically, Kiwi used the theme of ice to talk about crystallization.

First up was an Icy Experiment. Before school, Travis filled the provided ice cube tray so the ice would be ready to go when he returned home. As a side note, this ice cube tray is fantastic! Made from easy to unmold silicone, it makes adorable square blocks of ice.

Kiwi Ice (1)

Fill the two provided plastic cups with water, then add 3 scoops of salt to one cup only. Now add the ice cubes to both cups and let sit for 1 minute – don’t stir!

Kiwi Ice (2)

Travis next added 3 drops of liquid watercolor into each cup. You’ll immediately see that the color stays on top in the cup with salt, and floods to the bottom of the one with no salt.

Kiwi Ice (5)

The write-up in his booklet helped Travis understand that the salt had changed the density of the water, i.e. more stuff was packed into the same space, so the ice water stayed on top of the salt water. I told him about the Dead Sea, and how it has so much salt that even people stay afloat, which got a big whoa.

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He drew his results, and then we were on to the next project: Crystal Snowflakes. This was similar to an activity we did at Christmas, making crystals in a suncatcher. Combine 1 scoop of provided Epsom salts and 1 scoop of water in a cup, along with 3 drops of the “clear gel”. (Note: We were curious what this gel was! Kiwi does not say). Stir for 30 seconds with a paintbrush until the Epsom salt dissolves.

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Now brush over the three plastic snowflake shapes and let sit until completely dry. It will take over an hour but then you should see crystals appear as the water evaporates and the Epsom is left behind.

Kiwi Ice (9)

Oddly, we didn’t have great results. Still, we used the provided yarn to hang the snowflakes in the window, a pretty winter adornment.

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We also attempted Explore magazine’s suggestion for a Crystallization Station. Combine 2 scoops of hot water (not boiling) and 2 scoops of Epsom salts in a plastic cup. Travis added blue food coloring so we’d have colored crystals by the end.

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Place in the freezer for 10 minutes, then transfer to the fridge overnight. Again, oddly, we had no crystals in the morning, leaving me to suspect something was amiss with our packet of Epsom salts…

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So we then turned to the Ice Experiments booklet in the crate, full of further ice exploration for Travis to test. One activity was an oldie but goodie: salt tunnels.

First, make a new set of ice cubes in the square tray. Travis liked towering them into a pyramid on a plate once frozen!

Salt Tunnel (1)

Sprinkle generously with salt and then drip food coloring on. The areas where the salt has melted the ice will become immediately evident.

Salt Tunnel (2)

Two colors made it even cooler!

Salt Tunnel (4)

Travis loved the way this looked and connected his observations to the barrel of salt outside that keeps us from slipping on frozen sidewalks.

Salt Tunnel (5)

As a final experiment, we played Sink or Float, another oldie but goodie. I filled two cups with warm water and we poured a generous amount of salt into one. Ideally you can add salt little by little until no more will dissolve, but since Travis was a bit impatient, ours was supersaturated with salt still on the bottom.

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Now drop a piece of baby carrot into each and watch the instantaneous results. Travis loved that one plunked to the bottom and one stayed afloat. He drew the results in the provided “Lab Book,” which made him feel like a real scientist!

Sink or Float (4)

Have fun testing other items, too! Travis tried out Lego figures and marbles.

Sink or Float (3)

Kiwi Co. did not offer suggested reading this time around, but I recommend the following fun books about ice:

  • Ice (Stories Without Words) by Arthur Geisert
  • The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle by Anne Renaud

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