Moon Journal

The last time Travis made a moon journal, he was still in preschool, meaning I was in charge of the drawings, and he was mostly along for the ride! As a first grader, this time he was in charge of the project from start to finish, not only enjoying the art aspect, but understanding on a deeper level, too.

We started when the moon was a waxing quarter, Travis eagerly peered out the window at the night sky and chose his colors carefully before proudly presented his first drawing. Don’t forget to add the date!

Each successive night for a week, we checked on the moon just before bed. Travis took careful stock of how the moon had changed since the night before: the first night a thumbnail, the second night bigger but not quite half, and so on. He also marveled at how the position in the sky changed (by the end of the journal, he had to switch windows!)

Aside from frustration one night about cloudy skies, he loved the process.

We ended when the moon was just shy of full, and he proudly made a giant yellow circle.

This is a great way for kids to observe so much about how the moon changes, not just its size and shape, but also where it is in the sky, what time it appears, and more.

Pop Art Popsicles

Today we made popsicles that really popped, just in time for a 90 degree day.

To start, add gummy candy to popsicle molds. Parents magazine demonstrated with Airheads, but we used vegan sour rings from Whole Foods, thinking the sour combination would pair nicely with sweet juice.

That said, don’t use too sugary a liquid, since the sour rings are still loaded with sugar. We filled half of our molds with coconut water and the other half with lime seltzer. Freeze until set. (Ours took about 8 hours).

When it came time for the big reveal, the kids were wowed by the candy circles trapped in frozen liquid!

Half the fun was looking at them but the other half was in eating them of course, unlocking each candy circle in turn before moving on to the next. What candy will you freeze for pop art pops? Please share in the comments!

Sunny-Day Clay

We’ve made homemade playdough before, but haven’t ever tried our hand at homemade clay! This version comes together fairly easily and has a fantastic texture.

To start, have your kids squeeze in some quick math by helping measure out 2 cups baking soda, 1 cup cornstarch, and 1 and 1/4 cups water into a saucepan.

Cook the mixture over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. By the end, it should pull away from the sides of the pan and look almost like mashed potatoes. Let cool completely.

We divided the clay into 4 portions, with the intention of adding a different color to each portion before starting to roll out sculptures.

Travis thought it was much more fantastic fun to squeeze tons of food coloring onto the white clay, however, which meant soon we had a goopy mess!

There was a brief moment where the subtle color in the clay was just right…

(I managed to snap a quick pick of this shamrock)

…before there was so much food coloring that the clay became a squishy mess. This thrilled Travis of course, but for actual sculpting and building purposes, I rather wish we’d left it white!

As a side note, the texture of this homemade clay is wonderful. I find that store-bought clay has a tacky feeling and sticky residue, whereas this was silky smooth.