Chase the Rainbow

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Here’s a great activity whether your goal is to encourage siblings to work together, or whether you just need to occupy your child the next time you hear: “I’m bored.” Task them with making a rainbow!

I laid out a few blocks to set the kids on the right track, arranging a few of each color in a circle, and then they were off and hunting for other items around the room that fit our rainbow.

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Veronika was so proud when she could add an item to the right color segment of our circle.

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There’s the green pile!

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Big brother Travis was very proud every time he could fill in where we needed a color the most, like a purple cape from the dress-up bin to beef up the purple pile.

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Soon we had a varied group of blocks, cars, animals, dollhouse furniture, and more.

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This was a great way for a toddler to see the various shades of a color, too, as opposed to standard bold primary colors. So go ahead and tell your kids to chase after the rainbow!

Brown Sugar Sand Castles

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If you’re missing the beach a few months out from summer, bring the beach to you with a material that molds almost as well as real sand… Brown sugar!

This game was part summer nostalgia, part sensory bin. I set out a big bowl of brown sugar, along with a tray to hold our “beach” and a few craft sticks to use as tools.

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I then gave Veronika a variety of paper cups that we could use like sand buckets and showed her how to pack the brown sugar in firmly. Upend the cups and you’ll have tiny sand castles!

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Of course it was equally fun to break apart the towers with the craft sticks.

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If your children have the patience, they can build up layer upon layer for an intricate sand castle. Around here, it was the breaking apart that won the day.

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Veronika loved that she could scoop up brown sugar on the edge of a craft stick and fill her little cups.

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She also loved pouring brown sugar from one cup to the other. And the best part about this “sand” is that it’s 100% edible and sweet. That means no tears if some ends up in your toddler’s mouth. And that sure beats summer sand!

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Butterfly Migration Map

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As a final component of Travis’s Raddish Kids about the Day of the Dead in Mexico, he learned about the connection between the festival and the annual arrival of monarch butterflies. This made for a neat lesson on a day off from school.

We started with a read-aloud of Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead, helping Travis understand how the festival and butterflies were linked.

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We then printed a map of the migration paths and Travis drew red arrows for the different flight routes. Older children can draw their own map showing the United States and Mexico, rather than simply coloring a template from online. You might also consider watching a nature show or Wild Kratt’s episode on the monarch migration to help kids appreciate the dangers undertaken on the journey!

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Of course there was no better way to explain the migration than to make it hands-on. We’re lucky enough to live not far from a butterfly garden, so we took a special trip!

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The kids marveled as they watched the delicate wings of the butterflies, or paused to see them sip nectar from flowers and soft fruit.

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Travis’s favorite was whenever a butterfly landed on him!

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He even brought wings home from the gift shop for further exploration  under the magnifying glass!

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Now he could really appreciate what it meant for this delicate wings to fly 3,000 miles.