Building Bin

Building Bin (1)

On the heels of a Book Box, today I kept Veronika busy during big brother’s school Zoom with a building bin! I kept this one very simple, initially filling a basket with three types of blocks: Duplo, alphabet blocks, and foam shape blocks.

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Although she frequently plays with all of these, she hasn’t ever combined them. I was curious to see how she might mix and match.

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Of course there were standard towers to build…

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…but I also helped her form her name from the alphabet blocks. We could do this in two ways, either finding a block for each letter, or making a big version of her nickname.

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She was most interested in discovering that block towers easily toppled, but not so her Duplo towers, because she could link the pieces.

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She loved waving her big stack of Duplo around, almost marveling at how it didn’t break like other block towers do.

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“Look what I made,” she proudly ran to tell me a few times. Of course she also just loved making little block castles in a more classic manner, and I gave her a “king” and “queen” to play with in her creations.

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Later in the day, I did a quick rearrangement, this time filling the bin with a creative interpretation of “blocks”: individual toilet paper rolls and cans of cat food. Both of these make great toddler blocks because they’re small enough and/or soft enough not to hurt little toes.

Stacking Game (3)

At first she just stacked the toilet paper rolls. I showed her how to do this standing instead of sitting, so the tower grew taller than her head.

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What a reach!

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Then I demonstrated how she could alternate cat food tins with toilet paper.

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She loved decorating the tops of her towers with cat food, almost like little castle decorations.

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This version of the Building Bin kept her busy solo for quite some time.

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Mission accomplished!

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Painting the Driveway with Water

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The season for outdoor water play is nearly at an end, so we’re taking advantage while we still can! Veronika has painted with water on a small scale this summer, but today we went big. Driveway-sized big, that is!

I have a paint roller which I thought would be novel for spreading water around, so we headed out to the driveway with the roller, a tray, and a few smaller paint brushes and sponges.

Paint the Driveway with Water (1)

I filled the tray with water from our watering can and Veronika instantly wanted to dip the sponges in.

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She liked pressing down and watching triangles and rectangles appear.

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I then showed her how to dip the paint roller in the tray and transfer to the pavement for big streaks of water “paint”. She gave it a few experimental sweeps, but it wasn’t her favorite. 

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She much preferred a wide bristle paint brush. “I’m sweeping!” she told me, as she dipped it in the tray of water and then brushed over the driveway.

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Kids love the instant gratification of watching pavement turn from light to dark with this activity.

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What a big bold canvas for making art!

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Flying Balloon

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There’s some neat science behind making a balloon fly with a hair dryer, whether the push of the air on the balloon that directs it up, or using “fins” to catch the air and make the balloon hover and spin. But truth be told, Travis and I went light on the science this morning, and more just had fun because, well, balloons + hair dryers = excitement!

Travis was stoked when he saw me pull out the hair dryer for an experiment. After I inflated two balloons, he just liked scooting them along the floor with a flow of air.

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Meanwhile, I rolled two pieces of construction paper into tubes, securing with tape. Cut the bottom into fringe and then tape onto the balloons. These will act as weights for the balloons.

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If you want the balloon to spin as well as fly, you’ll need to add fins. Cut strips of construction paper, then fold in half. Bend the ends, so they make little tabs.

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If you’re going for exact science, you’ll need to wind string around the center of the balloon to mark the equator, then draw two meridians (the horizontal and vertical lines that intersect the equator) with a sharpie. Glue your fins along this equator at a 45 degree angle.

Well, we weren’t that exact. We just used double-sided tape to add the fins in a circle roughly near the balloon’s center.

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So… it wasn’t perfect, but it did get some spin and some air. It was unfortunately difficult to hold the camera and the hair dryer and launch the balloon, so we never got great photos or videos.

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But we did have fun!

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