Stone Paperweight

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If you’re looking for a gift your toddler can make for a relative this holiday season, the paperweight is it.

The best part about this gift is that it starts with a nature walk! It can be a harder to motivate kids for these once the cold sets in, so I loved motivating Veronika by telling her we were on a treasure hunt for the perfect rock.

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We came home with two that were the perfect size and shape, including one that almost looked like a heart.

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Now it was time to paint. Not only did we use sparkly paint…

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…but she wanted to dump glitter on, too. We used the recipient’s favorite color combo of orange and blue.

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Let dry, then spray with shellac for a shinier finish. (Note: that’s a grown-up only step).

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Wrap up and gift to someone special!

‘A Snowy Day’ Extension

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We’ve had fun playing with the snow lately, whether in it or just with our hands, or whether with the real stuff or the fake stuff. But thanks to a unit from Travis’s Snowed Inn Raddish Kids kit, we got a little more scientific about snow today. What is snow and what are its properties, and how is snow changing because of global warming?

A useful story for exploring all this is the winter classic The Snowy Day, and I asked Travis to pause and think at the end about the snow ball in the boy’s pocket. Travis could readily answer that it would melt, but why?

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So next he watched a video on “Snowflake Bentley”, the first person to capture snowflakes on camera. The video explores more both about how snowflakes form and how they melt.

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Take a moment here to pause and ask your child which of the two stories is fiction and which is non-fiction, a nice refresher on the two definitions.

After that, I challenged Travis to imagine what might happen next in The Snowy Day. What if the next few pages were from the boy’s friend’s point of view? The idea was challenging for a first grader (Travis’s extension involved magical keys and portals to another universe), but older kids can delve into explaining how snowflakes form and how they melt on their storybook pages.

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Travis then watched a news clip on the Inuits and how their way of life is changing due to climate change. There were many suggested extensions here that make sense for older kids, such as writing a poem or song about snowflake formation; reading about the 50 different Inuit words for snow; or writing a first-person narrative imagining life from the point of view of an Inuit child.

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For my first grader, we finished up simply by making a brief comic book about a sled dog and the icy landscape. We may delve more into all these topics again once Travis is older!

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