Balloon, Cork, and Ice Bath

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What do the three items in the title of this post have in common? They all float in water! And that was precisely the point of this simple way to make bathtime more fun. Little did Veronika know that this was a mini lesson on density, disguised as novel water toys.

For the first surprise, I tossed in a handful of corks I’d been saving (you can also simply purchase corks at a craft store). These were fun to bob around like little boats. We could even have cork boat races.

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Big brother Travis suggested drawing faces on them! Now they became little swimmers to figure into the kids’ imaginative games.

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Next, I blew up a few bright balloons and tossed these in. I challenged the kids to try dunking the balloons under the water, and of course they popped up every time.

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Veronika also loved pouring “potions” over the balloons. For the final surprise, I tossed in a handful of ice cubes.

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These floated for a moment (again, there’s that mini science lesson), before very quickly disappearing. Could we hold them in our hands as they melted? Not for long!

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Needless to say, bath was extra fun tonight with minimal effort on my part.

Halloween Countdown Day 14: Tour the Neighborhood

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What do you do when the afternoon is too rainy to get outside and play? Hop in the car and tour the town in search of the best Halloween decorations!

The kids loved the excitement as we loaded up in the rain and set out in search of maximum spookiness.

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I had a few target neighborhoods in mind, and luckily they didn’t disappoint. Soon we saw everything from giant spiders to ghosts popping out of windows (!).

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I couldn’t always get great pictures for safety reasons, but some made us laugh, like skeletons lounging on lawn chairs or little ghosts around a campfire.

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Others were downright scary, like ghouls popping up from fake graveyards!

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Needless to say, this was the perfect way to fill a rainy October afternoon.

Galactic Art

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Travis isn’t as interested in simple arts and crafts as when he was younger. So I love when I can still find ways to pique his interest, and I thought this quick craft might fit the bill. It involved a novel tool to paint billions of stars in a made-up galaxy: an old toothbrush!

I showed him how to dip the toothbrush in a plate filled with white paint, then scrape his finger along the bristles so little speckles of white jet out.

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Pretty soon we had a whole Milky Way!

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Next we needed to add planets to our galaxy. We definitely weren’t going for an exact replica of the Solar System here, but did have fun rounding up a pile of items that were circular to trace, aiming for a variety of different size circles.

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One of those items happened to be a glitter jar, so then Travis insisted our galaxy needed glitter! Once the planets had all been glued down, we made a thick stream of white glue and sprinkled the glitter over this. Tap off any excess into the trash.

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The glitter sort of eclipsed those original speckles of white “stars” we’d made with the toothbrush. But oh well, Travis was so engaged and happy with the process that I was happy, too.

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Toddler Color Chart with Colorful Fall Leaves

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We turned a beautiful stroll among the leaves into a chance for a little color review this morning.

And I mean stroll literally. Veronika was determined to push her doll around in a stroller “all by self”, crunching through autumn leaves. As we walked, we started a little collection of the most vibrant ones we could find.

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Once home, I set up a quick “chart” for her. Divide a baking sheet into a 3×3 grid with masking tape. In the first column, I taped down three leaves: red, orange, and yellow.

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In the second column, I had blank white squares of paper for Veronika to fill in with colors. I asked her what color each leaf was and then to find the matching crayon. To simplify this for a two year old, I only had out the three crayons we needed. You can make this more of a hunt through the whole pack for preschoolers!

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She scribbled on the white squares for each. I also thought it was adorable that she wanted to use crayon directly on the leaves, for example, applying yellow crayon to yellow leaf.

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Just for some extra early learning, I wrote the name of each color in the final column. Of course, she’s a long way off from sight reading, but it never hurts to start early!

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This was a great project for extending a morning excursion into learning and play.