Mailbox Pretend Play

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Veronika is very into Blue’s Clues right now, and her favorite part of each episode is when Mailbox arrives bearing a letter for “mail time”. So today I set her up with her own post office!

To make each “mailbox”, simply fold a piece of construction paper over itself so the bottom half comes about 3/4 of the way up the top half. Staple shut along the sides, leaving the top open to form a pocket for mail deliveries.

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I made one mailbox for each family member (including the cat!) and then taped them up to the wall.

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To make our mail, I gave her an assortment of index cards, old envelopes, and leftover holiday cards. She loved scribbling, but was even more excited when I started drawing a few of the Blue’s Clues characters on envelopes so she could receive mail from them.

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I would hand her each letter and she proudly decided which “mailbox” to slot it into. “Let’s put this one in the purple!” she might say, and narrated the whole process.

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She was so excited pulling letters back out and seeing what she got in the mall!

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This was such easy but fantastic pretend play for a two-year-old. Does your toddler like to play mail delivery? Please share in the comments!

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Giant Connect the Colors

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Here’s a fun way for toddlers to learn colors on a BIG scale. The only limit to this game, really, is how many cans of food you have in your pantry!

I happened to have seven cans which worked well since I didn’t want to overwhelm Veronika by using more than 2 or 3 sheets of paper for each color. Older kids, though, might have a blast setting up a maze of colors that covers a whole living room if your pantry has enough supplies!

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To set up, I picked three colors (blue, red, and green) and set down two to three pieces of construction paper for each one. I topped each sheet with a can. These cans have dual purpose: to hold the paper down and to wrap yarn around in the next step.

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I then set out lengths of yarn in colors corresponding to the sheets of paper. Wrap the end of each color around one can. Your child’s job is to take that yarn and connect it to all the cans sitting on the same color (so red yarn stretching to all the red pages, green yarn to all the green pages, and so forth).

When I first brought Veronika over to the set-up, I worried I had made a mistake and she was too young for the activity. She was very excited by the cans (“It’s beans!”) and distracted by checking them out. When I asked her what color the paper was, she only wanted to tell me what color the food item was.

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But then we had a breakthrough. She correctly identified that the paper underneath the can was red. Could she hold the yarn and find another pieces of paper of the same color. “I think you see it!” I told her.

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“I see it!” she responded, and trotted to the second piece of red paper. I showed her how to wind her red yarn around this can.

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Time for a round of green yarn!

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“I see it!” She trotted over…

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…and proudly looped the green yarn around.

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Once we were finished attaching all the yarn and cans, we had a neat maze along the floor. “It’s a spider web,” she said with excitement, and wanted to play and jump over the yarn maze for quite some time.

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So we accidentally got in our gross motor skills for the day, too!

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Soap-Powered Boat

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Here was a neat and quick experiment to continue Travis’s recent exploration of surface tension. Or more properly, breaking the bonds that create surface tension!

First, we crafted two cardboard boats. Cut boat shapes from old cardboard or the lid of a shoebox, then cut a deep V notch in the back of each.

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Decorate with any favorite art supplies! We used markers, washi tape, and little triangles cut from paper for sails.

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To power your boats, place them in a shallow bin of clean water. Then, dip a q-tip in a little bit of dish soap and touch it right behind the V in the back of the boat. As the surface tension of the water breaks, the boats propel forward!

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Unfortunately this experiment isn’t easy to do repeatedly. We had hoped to race our two boats, but once the soap hits the water you can’t repeat it unless you dump, fill with clean water, and start all over.

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But the boats were fun as Lego rafts once the STEM experiment was done!

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