Candle in the Wind

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Now that we’ve the got the wind in our sails (haha), we’re having lots of fun finding out about other properties of wind. Will wind be able to travel around an obstacle in its way? This experiment is an easy illustration of the fact. Parents be aware: You will need a candle with a flame for the experiment to work. Supervise very closely, and only do so if you know your children won’t touch the flame.

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To start, light a small sturdy candle, and place behind an object with square corners – a vase worked well for this step.

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Travis huffed and puffed, but the wind couldn’t reach the candle this way. Onto the next attempt!

Place an object with round sides between your child and the candle, such as a water glass.

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The wind will make it around the sides and poof – out goes the candle.

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Looking for more windy fun? Check out our recent experiment with hot air spinners.


Ice Lanterns

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This is a beautiful project to showcase finds from winter nature walks! It’s a multi-day project, requiring two separate rounds of freezing, but kids will love the final glowing result.

First you’ll need those winter treasures – think holly leaves, little berries, pinecones, and pine needles.

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Arrange some of the items in a plastic container (or multiple containers, if you have enough nature items), and fill halfway with water. Freeze overnight.

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The next day, Travis was very eager to check out the layer of ice we’d created.

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Add a second layer of winter finds over the ice, and also place a glass jelly jar inside. Add water to the top of the plastic container, and freeze again overnight.

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Note: If the weather is cold enough, you can even do the freezing outside!

For the final lantern, you need to release the glass jelly jar, leaving behind a hole for a candle. Fill the jelly jar with warm water just for a minute or two, and it should slip out.

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Now run water around the outside of the plastic container, and release your whole ice lantern.

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Note: Because our pinecone extended past the middle of our container, our jelly jar wasn’t centered. This didn’t present a problem; it just meant that our final ice lantern wasn’t going to glow as evenly! You can see in the above photo how our candle hole is on one side of the lantern, instead of directly centered.

Finally, place a battery operated tea light inside, and watch the lantern light up the winter night!

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You can leave these outside, or take them inside for a warm winter glow.

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Coffee Candles

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This is a beautiful and simple project, and to be honest was more of a craft for the grown-up in the room than for Travis! But he loved the materials involved, which were completely novel to him. Whether your little helper actually pitches in with the craft or just plays with the materials, it’s a cozy winter afternoon activity to do together.

The goal was to decorate the bottom of pillar candles with whole coffee beans – a toasty smelling and lovely touch that will add beauty to your holiday decorations or would make a great gift if wrapped up in cellophane with a big bow.

First, Travis needed to investigate the coffee beans. He loved the way that they felt and smelled – it didn’t hurt that we used an intense dark roast!

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The next cool object was the candles, since I don’t usually have these around the house. He loved the smooth wax, and was very curious how the wick and flame work (adult supervision required around candles at all times, of course!)

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To decorate a candle, you’ll need tacky glue (not white school glue) so that the coffee beans will hold in place as your little assistant helps glue them on. We decided we liked the beans best with the dimpled side facing outward.

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As mentioned though, Travis’s interest quickly turned simply to playing with the coffee beans. He was soon delightedly busy with a coffee bean kitchen…

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….while mama glued on the beans. Since it was just me, I actually switched to using a hot glue gun, which held the beans in place even better than tacky glue.

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Once the beans are set, place your holiday candles where friends and family can enjoy their sight and aroma too!

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