Travis kit from Kiwi Co this month was all about Coral Reefs. The focus was primarily on the science of a coral reef’s ecosystem, with a little bit of art and engineering (ratchets!) thrown in for good measure.
First up was the art component: to color in a Reef Scene.
Travis loved the pastels that came with the kit for this step. There was also a blending stick to mix colors or make scratch-art, so kids can really have fun with this step if they’re feeling artsy.
Next up he needed to Assemble the Jellyfish. The pastels are used again, this time to color the tentacles of the provided jellyfish shapes. Fold down these tabs of paper, then add strings as additional tentacles for wonderfully wavy creatures.
A plastic cap (which looks like the top of an Easter egg) sits on top as the jellyfish’s bell. Thread a pipe cleaner through the holes in the plastic head and twist to make a loop. Wiggle eyes completed each wiggly fellow.
Finally, it was time Build the Race Frame. Kids add a disc and ratchet to each of two bolts, which then screw into a spool on either side of the wooden race frame.
When we came to the next step, it turned out we were missing the long strings to thread through the spool and onto the pipe cleaner loop of each jellyfish. Luckily this was an easy material to replace, and I grabbed twine from the craft bin.
Travis then attached the handles (pieces of wood which will hitch onto the teeth of the jagged ratchet). As we raced our jellyfish, we learned that whether you push or pull on a ratchet, it will always turn in only one direction; the left side grabs when you push, and the right side grabs when you pull . Once Travis got the hang of it, he loved having jellyfish races with me!
For some final fun, Travis read facts in Explore magazine, solved a brain coral maze, and then made a quick Pet Jellyfish:
Cut a circle from a plastic bag and gather the center of the plastic to form a head; tie loosely with string. Snip the edges of the circle to make the tentacles.
Fill a clear plastic water bottle with water and add a few drops of food coloring to turn it into a blue ocean.
Now fill the jellyfish’s head about halfway with water; you need enough room for an air bubble to form as well. Insert into the bottle and tilt it back and forth to watch your new “pet” swim.
This didn’t work perfectly for us, but the kids liked the wavy tentacles in the bottle!