Circuit Science Kiwi Crate

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Travis’s Kiwi Crate has never been so welcome as during this period of home school and social distancing, particularly on a rainy day when we couldn’t get outside for a spring nature walk. The package literally saved the day! Sometimes Travis wants to spread out the projects, but this time he insisted we dive into the crate right away and do all three projects start to finish.

The big concept this month was electric circuits, which Travis has grown to understand recently from a few at-home projects, so I was glad the concept wasn’t foreign to him.

First up was the Lamp: A simple set-up involved attaching a lamp base and LED light holder onto a cardboard base, then inserting batteries into the provided battery pack. Travis connected red wire to red wire and black to black, and his lamp turned on!

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The second project, the Lampshade, was really the only “A” component of STEAM for this crate.

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Travis loved punching the holes along the lines of a Steve the Kiwi template, with a sheet of black paper underneath, since it was similar to punch art he does at school.

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The black paper then slips easily inside the lamp, and Steve glows!

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We put it all together with the Electric Bowler Game. This was definitely complicated, but Travis was determined to put together a circuit board that involved four brads against a wooden plate and wires that slip over the outer brads.

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He slotted the wooden frame together and held it all together with provided rubber bands.

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A wooden dowel in the middle is the switch to deactivate the circuit when needed. 3 silver balls then trigger the circuit; these need to be scuffed with scratchy pads first, although to our disappointment, the booklet did not explain why.

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To complete the game, a wooden board sits on top with a foam bumper. Take turns rolling the three metal balls towards the holes at the end. Once all three metal balls fall into place between the brads on the circuit board below, the circuit is complete, and the lantern turns on!

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Definitely play in a dim room, for the best effect.

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Travis enjoyed the Explore magazine that delved deeper, including an experiment called Let It Flow. What else could complete the circuit in our set-up, other than the three metal balls?

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Three plastic beads failed, as did three marbles. But three strips of aluminum foil did the trick!

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There was no suggested further reading this month, but I recommend Oscar and the Bird: A Book About Electricity.

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We also plan to check out I Am Benjamin Franklin when the title is released in October, as there’s sure to be some fun bits about electricity in there!

Jazzy Jambalaya

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Cue up the jazz music and get kids cooking with this recipe from Raddish Kids!

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There’s lots of chopping prep work for this recipe, which is great practice for budding chefs. Tailor the knife skills to your child’s age; Travis helps me hold the knife hilt while I guide the motion. Older kids can try chopping by themselves!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Field Roast Italian sausage links, sliced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 and 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes, until browned.
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Add the paprika, oregano, thyme, rice, tomatoes, broth, and kidney beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

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We finished the fun with information on the recipe card, including elements of New Orleans’ culture and a jazz instrument matching game.

Sticker Easter Egg

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It seems strange even to think about the upcoming Easter holiday, knowing we’ll be celebrating with family at a distance… but that’s all the more reason to decorate here at home! This simple-as-can be sticker project allows even little toddlers to have egg decorating fun.

I cut an egg shape from construction paper, choosing purple for the background. and then gave Veronika a sheet of stickers. Knowing we wanted a springtime feel, I chose stickers of butterflies and flowers.

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These were puffy stickers, which are the perfect type to help toddlers learn to peel stickers off the sheet. If I folded the sheet ever so slightly, the puffy edge of a butterfly would stick up and Veronika could pull it up.

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In the past, she’s loved just adorning herself with stickers, which I worried might be the case today.

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But when I said, “Veronika, can you put the sticker on the purple paper?” she followed directions perfectly!

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She had started to pile a lot of them in one place on the paper, which was just fine; it’s her art work!

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But when I pointed to other areas of the “egg”, she moved her stickers over to that area. Again, this project turned out to be great for following directions.

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If big siblings want to join in on the project, challenge them to be more deliberate with their stickers, making rows or patterns.