Saturday, May 31, 2008

Marble Painting

I've been wanting to do this for a while. Shortly after waking up this morning A announced he wanted to do an "art project with paint". Then I remembered next week's theme was "paint" over on Unplug You Kids. It was the perfect opportunity.

We used an old plastic ice cream tub, but it works just as well with a shoe box or any kind of box with a lid. Then we placed a piece of paper in the box, added some dabs of paint and dropped in the marble. We slowly rolled it around with the lid off to see what was happening. Then we put the lid on and shook it faster. We made five pictures, each with a different combination of colors (red, yellow, blue, white, black). A's favorite was the one with all five colors. Oh, and the all blue one is mine....what can I say? I wanted to get in on the fun too!

I tried to make purple for him, but it came out too watery. I grabbed a straw and let him blow it around in the box to make a different abstract design. He concentrated very hard on this, but in the end preferred the marble approach.
Considering the mess was negligible and the fun was substantial, we are going to pull out this activity again soon. And I'm so glad it gave me an opportunity to finally contribute to Unplugged!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Color and I Spy Books

Here are a couple mini books I've made during the past few weeks. As usual, nothing fancy. But A always enjoys a little surprise.

For both books I used the hot dog booklet pattern at Making Books with Children:

My Rainbow of Colors
Using markers we colored A's index finger with ink. He stamped the same color as many times as he wanted all over a page. Each page had a different color. Then I went back and drew in some simple (very simple!) faces and scenery for the characters and added the color word.

I Spy the Alphabet!
I saw an idea on Crafty Crow for a personalized I Spy book. It was taken from this post on marytree where they took photos of toys, then cut and pasted them into a book. I simplified it a bit and cut letters out of an old catalog, then glued them onto the pages and made a list of what letters needed to be found. I'm going to make a few more I Spy books with different and increasingly more difficult themes, but I need to get some doubles of catalogs /wrappers /magazines first. This is also the kind of book that A can help make by cutting and gluing the pictures if we needed an activity.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bubble Wrap

If you find the bubble wrap is too difficult for little fingers to pop, try using a rolling pin. It's great.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sewing Buttons

With an embroidery hoop, scrap fabric, and a large button I taught my four year old how to sew. I didn't think he would enjoy it, or even have the patience to finish, but he was hooked by the challenge of the project.

Octopus and Iceburgs

After checking out Wondertime's 3 Great Games for a Wading Pool, I decided I had to try out the Octopus with A. let me fill you in on the steps.

1. Using a screw or other small, sharp object, punch a hole near the top of a 2L soda bottle, and another near the bottom.
2. Fill the bottle with water.
3. Cover the top hole with your finger and magically watch the water stop spilling out the bottom hole.

A enjoyed showing this trick to everyone who passed by. We had some good conversations about how this happens (As the water leaves, something has to take it's place. So if no air gets in to take the water's place, no water will spill.) We then punched one more hole in the middle and predicted which hole would have the larger squirt of water. He was right in the prediction, and I was glad he didn't ask me why because I didn't have a great way to explain pressure to a 4 year old.

We also followed Wondertime's suggestion of making some icebergs for the pool. We talked about if it would sink or float, and considered the hefty weight involved. After testing our theories I set it on the grass, sprinkled it with salt, and then let him decorate with a few drops from different food coloring bottles. The salt helps the ice to crack and well, become bumpy so the color shows better. We both liked watching the colors spread and mix.

Cup Memory

When we moved in there was an opened package of plastic cups in one of the kitchen cupboards. For sanitary reasons I wasn't too excited about drinking from them, however I found several other ways to put them to use. One of the most successful was a new version of the Memory game. I used alphabet stickers and placed them on the inside bottom of the cup; although any kind of medium-small stickers would work as long as you have two of each picture to make a pair. Turning the cups over to find what was inside kept A's attention a bit better than cards. And in the end, storing them was as easy as stacking them up.