Create a Compass

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This quick hands-on experience lets kids make their own compass with just a few household objects!

Cut a circle from a piece of craft foam, just a bit bigger than a paper clip. Set aside.

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Rub a metal paperclip with a magnet about 20 times, being sure to scrape in the same direction each time. Travis proudly counted this out! This step will charge your paper clip with a magnetic charge.

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Tape the paper clip to the foam circle, then place in a dish of shallow water. You’ll notice it wobble at first as the water settles, but slowly it will come to point true north. Test it against a real compass for the official results. Getting there…

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Travis was thrilled this worked, all the more so because it stayed oriented north even hours after we left the dish on the windowsill. A simple but great way to show off the pull of magnetism.


Sprinkler Freeze Dance

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This game is perfect for a summer day! You’ll have water to cool off, tunes to jam to, and a little bonding and learning thrown in.

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We changed into bathing suits and set up the sprinkler in the yard… so nothing was out of the ordinary yet. But this time, I cranked up the car stereo so the tunes were playing!

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If the music was on, we boogied. When the music paused, we showed Veronika how to freeze. Older siblings will love showing a toddler how to do this; big brother Travis threw in some fancy hip moves and footwork.

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Veronika started to catch on. And as soon as the music began again, her whole body bopped along.

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As an alternative version, make the freeze about the water speed, not the music. When the sprinkler turns off… Freeze! When it turns on again, bring back those dance moves.

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Veronika’s signature move was stomping in puddles.

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Here’s a quick clip of her moves. She’s got style!

You’ll definitely want to enlist the whole family for this one!

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Ice Cube Bags

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If it’s going to be hot, then I’m going to put the heat of the sun to work for me! These ice cube sensory bags turn into a color mixing experiment the longer they’re out in the sunshine.

For set up, I thought it would be fun to freeze cube-shaped ice instead of ice in a standard ice cube tray. I colored one-third of them yellow with food coloring, one-third red, and one-third blue.

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In the morning, I set up three gallon-sized zip-top bags for Veronika: one had yellow and blue ice, one had red and blue, and the third had blue and yellow.

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At first, it was all about the sense of touch. “Ooh! cold!” Veronika said, squeezing her hands on the ice.

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It was fun to watch the ice cubes slip and slide around in the bag!

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As the cubes melted, the color mixing became more apparent.

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As mentioned, you can move the game outdoors to the hot sun to speed the process along. Pretty soon your primary colors will have given way completely to secondary colors!

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