Monday, January 30, 2012

Peeling Crayons (the easy way)

Wanna hear a secret??? 
Did you know that if you soaked crayons in water the wrappers peel right off?  Yep, it's true.  I tried it!  We were going through our crayons, separating all the broken ones out to do some recycling with.  I don't know about you, but I get real tired, real fast of peeling those wrappers off....crayon all stuck under your nails and all.  So, I thought, "okay, if paper gets wet, it gets soft".
 Not brain science but a most incredible moment for us!  OH YEAH! 
 Here is the proof.

Can you see the papers simply peeling right off??? 
p.s.  the Crayola brand peels the quickest.  These had only soaked for about 10 minutes before they began to peel off. 
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Metamucil Slime

I have tried making this before with disastrous results.  I had this entire bottle of generic Metamucil just staring at me, tauting me really, in the closet.  So, we gave it another go. 
First, we dissolved 1 tablespoon of Metaucil in 1 cup of water.  Make sure it is in a rather large bowl.  Then, place in the microwave for around 4 or 5 minutes.  Watch it closely, as it bubbles up.  If it overflows into your microwave it is not easy to clean out (trust me on this one....I know).  Next, let it cool for about 1 min.  Microwave again for 4 or 5 minutes.  Follow this cycle 4 times.  Let it cool (it will be HOT).  It turns into the coolest slime.  You can even cut it with scissors.  This batch made the amount that you see in my daughters hands.  Enough for one person to have a slimy time with!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Silly Bands DIY Puzzles

We have tons of these Silly Bands. Since my kids don't really wear them, I am always looking for ways to use them.  We have stuck them to sticky paper and extracted them from ice (click on the underlined words to see how).  Today I thought we could use them to make puzzles.  My two love puzzles and puzzles are great for problem solving, using math/matching skills and using our fine motor skills.  So, we took our silly bands, put them on the copier, made a copy, then matched our silly bands to the shape on the paper.  So easy peasy and my kids loved making their own.  Lots of options too!


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Friday, January 20, 2012

Playing with Toddlers

Since most of my post are geared towards preshool ages (like my own), I thought it might be helpful to share how we engage our toddler groups too. I am talking babies and up. Most of these my preschoolers enjoy too! Here are some of the ways we encourage discovery and learning with our Little's.

ice cubes in shallow water with scoops and spoons
(the pot behind them is filled with warm water, for comparing)
Baby ball pit (balls in a pack n play)
an empty box = hours of entertainment

metal bowls and wooden spoons

old Cd's hanging in a window make amazing rainbows
 and on the floor, in front of a sunlit window,
 they make great reflections on the ceiling

Sensory Bottles, there are endless possibilities....
 1/2 oil + 1/2 water, color the water any color
a broken costume necklace in water
 decorative glass pieces in colored shampoo
 nuts, screws, other metal odds and ends
 cut up, colorful straws and buttons in water
 a few squirts of dish soap in some water
shmuzzies (pom poms) and rice
Fill your bottle (I like the small Gatorade ones but any one will work)
 add some hot glue to the inside of the lid and glue on. 
plastic play necklaces
 (I found these at the Dollar Tree,
I like the ones that have the connector to take apart)

a hand held mirror for discovering our faces and making some too!

an old cupcake pan for sorting balls into

a couple step stools to climb
Toddlers love, love to climb, it is a developmental stage
that they need to go through. 
Don't try to stop the climbing, just provide a
safe place for them to to do.

As always when playing with babies, close adult supervision is required. 

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Melting Crayons Experiment

I have seen these all over the blogs and Pinterest for awhile now.  I had to try it, it just looks soooo fun!  We decided to make an experiment out of it.  We choose 4 different crayon types to see if they would melt differently.  It turned out to be quite interesting.  One of the brand of crayons did not melt at all and another brand turned to liquid as soon as it was heated.
First, we tried out the crayons by simply coloring with them on the canvas. Then, we hot glued the crayons on.  After that, we took 2 hair dryers to it to speed the melting process up.  It does take a few minutes for the process to begin but once they do start to melt it is quite exciting. 
Here are our results, very cool!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DIY Circle Sorter

This is another activity that the kids did all on their own.  I had these shower curtain holders in our play area and the kids have been using them as braclets.  We also have paper towel holders and empty containers in our play area for whatever the kids find to do with them.  Well, put all those together and you have a very cool way to practice hand eye coordination and problem solving.  I love it!! They put the paper towel holder in the can and then just began placing the circles on it.  Super cool!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Good Finds at the Hardware Store

Here are just a couple things that you can do with FREE stuff from the hardware store. I included some for toddlers and a few for preschool age kiddos.

 Cutting paint samples, they already have those great lines for cutting on.  My daughter loves doing this!  (Do not just go grab a stack from the hardware store stash, ask the manager for their outdated samples.)

We also asked the manager for the discarded keys.  He gave us an entire bag and we have been having so much fun with them.  I just set them out and added an empty wipe container for the toddlers to put them into. 
Check out the key puzzles we created for the preschoolers HERE and our surprise prints HERE.
We have also sorted them by type into tubs.  So many things you can do with old keys..

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