The Great Chase

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Here was one last fun craft to illustrate the science of tension for Travis, using only a rubber band and some paper!

First we needed to draw two pictures on cardstock. These can be anything your kid wants, so long as there is one thing being chased and a chaser. I copied a template for a mouse chasing cheese for our first version.

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Travis of course chose two Star Wars characters for a second version! We colored in the images, then cut out.

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You’ll also need to cut a rectangle from cardstock measuring 1×2 inches for each image.

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Cut 1-inch pieces of straw. Place a straw piece in the center of each rectangle, using double-sided tape, and fold the cardstock over the straw.

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Attach one of your images to the resulting strip of paper with a second piece of double-sided tape.

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Cut a rubber band open and thread the straw pieces on. Make sure the thing being chased is below the chaser!

As you expand or tauten the elastic, the little straws “run” down it. Travis giggled watching the mouse chase its cheese.

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And loved the Star Wars version!

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Playing in the Rain

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We’ve taken gorgeous walks in the rain this summer, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s this: there’s no such thing as bad weather, as long as you have the right gear! Veronika actually seems to love walking in the rain as long as it’s not a downpour. She’s proud of her new rain coat and boots, happily donning them whenever she has the chance.

Today, I wanted to take advantage of this, so we headed to a friend’s farm in the drizzle!

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Veronika was delighted the moment we set foot in the fields, heading off on the journey. She was so happy when she spotted cows in the pasture.

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We spent a long time watching them, seeming as equally unperturbed by the pitter-patter of raindrops as we were.

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She loved “moo”ing at them. Because she refused to wear her jacket’s hood, she soon had little damp curls from the rain.

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We made a stop in the barn, which smelled of damp wood. It was the perfect place to spin and dance.

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Then we visited the cows’ paddock, where she loved seeing water drops that had beaded up along the steel fence. We drummed on it to make them shake.

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Have you had any great rain play this summer? Please share in the comments!

Leftover Art Streamers

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Veronika has been making big works of art lately, with full sheets of craft paper from our giant roll laid down on the floor. Unfortunately I have no place to store such big masterpieces, so usually I just crumple up the paper when the fun is done. Today we came up with this way to “recycle” the art as decoration instead.

First up was making art, and Veronika loved painting all over a big piece of paper just before bed. We used a mix of watercolors, regular tempera paint, and sponge brushes with shapes on them.

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“Lots of black stars!” she said proudly as she worked.

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I left it to dry overnight. The next morning, we covered a second sheet of craft paper with lots marker scribbles and drawings.

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Now, I simply cut each masterpiece into long strips. If you’re doing this activity with a preschooler, consider drawing lines for your child to cut along and practice their cutting skills. For Veronika, I simply handed her a pair of safety scissors so she could “cut” alongside me.

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My original plan was to hang these like streamers from an archway in our home, thinking it would be a blast for the kids to run under them and through them.

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I quickly realized this wouldn’t work because the streamers needed to be much longer. I held Veronika in my arms for her to feel the streamers, which made her giggle, but it wouldn’t make for solo play.

Thinking quickly, I taped the streamers all around the kids’ craft table. Now it was a secret fort and hideout for her!

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She loved to crawl inside.

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And play peek-a-boo through the streamers with me.

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And then find her way out again.

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These streamers would also look really pretty over a window as makeshift “curtains” in a kids bedroom.



Indoor Toys Outside

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We’ve been having fun lately finding ways to make old toys seem new again, whether by dressing them up or moving them from outside to inside. Here’s a third idea!

I gathered together a few indoor toys that I haven’t seen the kids play with much recently and took them outside. The best time of day for this game was in the evening, when the heat of the afternoon had passed. It was the perfect way to fill the after-dinner hour, taking advantage of these last weeks of summer sunlight!

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Veronika immediately got started playing with the items I’d arranged on a picnic blanket. The train set that she normally ignores was soon chugging around.

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And building blocks were fun to build with.

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Then she discovered the joy of tossing the blocks into the grass.

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She delighted in scampering down off the patio, retrieving a block, and tossing it again. She kept this up for quite some time.

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Travis, meanwhile, found new life in old stuffed animals once they were outside in the “wild”.

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There was a very imaginative game at work.

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Of course just by being outside kids can find inspiration for their games and toys. They stopped to watch insects, lay down to look up at the sky, or walked through the grass with bare toes. All while happily being entertained.

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I think we’ll bring a different batch of old toys outside tomorrow!

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