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water

Make, Explore, Paint Rainbows

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Science and art combine in this amazing and simple rainbow experiment. The kids will love to make, explore and paint rainbows.Make, explore and paint rainbows. Use a CD and sunlight or a flashlight to cast rainbows, study and paint with watercolors or color with markers or crayons. A great piece of process art for kids. Art and science, STEAM projects for preschoolers.

The other day, my daughter picked up a CD and was fascinated by the rainbows that formed on it when she moved it around. We held it under the light and moved it all around and admired the bursts of color. The colors were so beautiful. We wanted more and had an idea to try to paint our rainbows.

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Toddler Car Wash

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Carwash

It has been a busy few weeks. We are getting ready to put our house on the market. There is so much to do & seems like not enough time to do it in. This week we started to get our house packed & tried to fix up some areas that need work. Today’s project was going to be for me to tackle our landscaping. I had a lot of weeding & pruning to do. I thought Mai could help me do some gardening. She did, but got bored with it quicker than I needed to complete my project.

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She wanted me to push her to the park in her push car. She pushed it over to me & said “C’mon Mama, Let’s go!” Before I had a chance to protest & tell her that we would go in a little bit, I noticed how filthy her car was. I remembered a brilliant idea from my friend over at P Is For Preschooler. I asked my little girl if she wanted to have a car wash to clean up all her dirty cars. She shouting yes & ran immediately for the hose.

We filled up her kiddie pool with water & bubble bath. She was very excited to see all of the bubbles. I brought out all her bikes & push cars. I thought this would be a great opportunity to clean up all of her trucks & other outside toys that have gotten pretty dirty, so I brought those over too. I gave her a sponge & let her go.

“Don’t worry Miss Mama, I will clean your cars really nice for you. I am a really good car washer.”

She scrubbed all of her little cars & trucks first & then put them in the sun to let them dry.

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Next she moved on to her bigger car. “Ewwwww, this car is disgusting.” She sponged it down.

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Then rinsed it off with the hose.

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She did such a great job that she had two more customers waiting to be washed.

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This kept her busy for a long time & I was able to get my gardening finished.

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Toddler Car Wash

Water & Ice Science For Toddlers

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Water Transfer Experiment

 

When choosing science experiments to do with my toddler, I find that the simpler the experiment the better. She loves water play, so the experiments with water are our favorites. I found the great ideas for these fun & easy experiments from two of my favorite science sites for kids www.sciencekids.co.nz & stevespanglerscience.com. Make sure that all of these are done with parental supervision.

Water Transfer Experiment

All you will need for this experiment is 2 glasses, water, a couple of drops of food coloring & a couple of sections of paper towel.

Place 2 glasses next to each other. Fill one of the glasses with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to it.

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Twist 2 sections of paper towel as shown.

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Put each end of the paper towel into both of the glasses.

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You can watch the color creep across the paper towel as it absorbs the colored water. This will take a little bit of time. We kept checking on our glasses every few minutes.

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My daughter was so excited once the blue water started dripping into the other glass. “Look mama! It’s dripping. Look Look!” Like I said, it is the simplest things…

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After some time, the water will move from one glass into the other.

Water Transfer Experiment

In between checking on our water transfer, we tried a couple of other quick experiments.

Sticky Ice Experiment

Cut a few strands of yarn or string & put them aside. Put ice cubes into a clear container of water. Lay the yarn across an ice cube or two & sprinkle the ice & the yarn with Kosher salt. Let it sit for a moment. The science behind it is that the salt will melt the ice & then as it sits in the cold water will refreeze around the string.

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Lift the yarn & watch as the cube sticks to the string.

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Sticky Ice Experiment

This last one was more for me than my daughter, as she was completely disinterested in this one, while I found this fascinating. Fill a glass all the way to the top with water. Place a piece of cardboard over the top of the glass. Place the palm of your hand over the cardboard and press putting pressure around the edges & in the center. You can feel a slight suction while you press. Flip the glass upside down & carefully remove your hand. The water & the cardboard should stay in place. Do this over a sink in case just in case.

Upside Down Water Experiment

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Plastic Easter Egg Floating Fish

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PLastic Easter Egg Floating Fish

 

It has been 2 months since Easter & I still have a pile of plastic Easter eggs filling up my craft drawers. We have used them many times in water play in the past. I thought we could dress them up a bit and make colorful fish out of them.

 

Plastic Egg Fish

 

What you will need:

Plastic Easter eggs

Foam sheets

Glue gun – As always use caution when operating. Adults should operate.

Googly eyes

 

Directions: Glue the plastic eggs together. Be careful when using hot glue on plastic as it can melt easily. Do not let the gun get too hot.

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Cut pieces out of the foam for the different fins.

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Squeeze a bead of glue onto the end of the back fin. Let the glue cool for a few seconds & add to the fatter part of the egg.

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Add the top fin & googly eyes.

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Add the side fins to each side of the egg.

Mai took these into the bath this evening & loved them.

“Mama, can I take a bath with them again tomorrow?”

“Of course!”

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Soda Bottle Boats

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Soda Bottle Boats - sink them or float them

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day. If your weather was anything like ours was, you had a beautiful day to enjoy it in. We spent most of the day outside playing in Mai’s kiddie pool. We made sailboats out of 20 oz. soda bottles and sailed them around all day. Here is how…

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Raining Sponge

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Teaching your children science doesn’t have to be complicated. Here is a simple experiment that toddlers and preschoolers will love.
Raining Sponge Experiment

 

Science for kids does not need to be complicated. The simplest of things can be fun & educational. I like doing experiments that require very little set up, clean up & are done with items that are easily accessible. This is about as simple as it gets.

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Science Experiments With Water

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Science experiment with water - water see-saw experiments in balance

 

I am sure that I am not alone in saying this. My child loves water play. Water play has saved me on more than one occasion. It is truly a wonderful way to keep your child engaged and occupied. It is also a wonderful way to incorporate a lesson or two & get them thinking and interactive. Experiments do not have to be complicated. For me, the simpler it is the better.

Recently we collected a bowl full of loose parts while cleaning the house & emptying out junk drawers & craft bins. Our first experiment put these pieces to good use.

Will it sink or float?

All you will need is a large bowl filled with water and different objects of varying sizes & weights.

Have your child add them one by one to the water & ask them if they sink or float. My daughter had so much fun with this that we had to keep finding more objects to add to our bowl. I was actually pretty surprised myself at which objects floated & which ones sank.

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Water See Saw

What you will need:

A shoe box cover

An empty Saran Wrap or tin foil roll. (You may use a paper towel roll, but the rolls from tin foil or cling wrap are far sturdier.

Hot glue

A piece of Saran wrap

Dixie cups

A squirt bottle

Water

Directions: Measure your box & mark the center of your box on the top end of the cover. Hot glue the roll to the middle of the box as shown. This will form your see saw.

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Tear off a square of Saran Wrap, fold it  & lay it down. Place the see saw on the Saran Wrap roll side down. The Saran Wrap will help keep it from moving.

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Fill a squirt bottle with water. Give your child a stack of Dixie cups & show them how to put the cups on the see saw. Have them add water to the cups & watch as the side with the most water teeters down. Help them try to achieve balance by filling up the cups on each end or just let them perform their own experiment.

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As you can see by that happy little face, this experiment was a big hit with my daughter. She loved it. We kept emptying the cups & refilling. We even got our see saw to balance a few times. You could also try this with beans or some other small items. It was hard to drag her away, but we had to go to our final water experiment of the night…bath time.

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“ABC Soup” Water Play

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IMG_3958It makes me laugh to think that in a house full of fancy toys & play sets, it is always the simplest things that hold on to our children’s attention the most.

Our daughter loves to paint & draw, so we got her an easel. She prefers to draw at the kitchen counter. She loves building and stacking, so we got her building blocks & Legos. She still is piling up Play-Doh containers & paint bottles.

She loves to cook, so when her cousin gave her a beautiful play kitchen filled with fake food and pots & pans, we thought she would be ecstatic. Instead of cooking up plastic chicken drumsticks & Velcro vegetables, Mai was more interested in mixing up a pot of alphabet magnets.

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Here she is cooking up something delicious in our rice cooker.

After dinner last night, Mai was a little bit antsy & mommy was tired. I needed something to keep her occupied for a little while. I asked her if she wanted to play with some water. I already knew what the answer would be, because she loves water play. I filled up our ice bucket with some water & went to get her some measuring spoons and scoops to use with the water. When I came back she had poured all of her ABC magnets in the bucket & was whirling them around with her hand. We traded in our measuring spoon for a ladle & a handled sieve instead. Mai would use the ladle or sieve to fish out the letters. “I making soup.” Yes you are. It looks delicious.

We made a little game out of it.

“Mai, can you find me the “P””?

“Right there!”

“P is for penguin.”

“Yes it is. Great job.”

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Like I said, it really is the simple things. She played happily up until bath time, while I got a chance to sit down for a bit & just enjoy watching our happy little girl.

 

 

Mining For Gemstones

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miningforgems (1)

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I can still remember the first time I made my daughter a sensory box. It was last year & it was just a large Rubbermaid storage bin filled with colored rice, rubber insects & some scoops & cups. Mai went crazy for it. I could not believe this simple idea could hold my daughter’s attention for so long. She played with it for hours. It was the first time since she was born that I was able to peacefully cook a full meal without her attached to my hip. I was even able to clean up after too. It was amazing.

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As amazing as it was though it was also very messy. I accepted this as long as it kept Mai happily occupied. A year later I will still find a stray grain of colored rice every once in a while. We continued with the sensory play, making holiday themed boxes, fossil brushing & her favorite which is water play. All of these activities were fun & all of them were very messy.

With the warm weather here, I am delighted to be able to move the messy play outdoors for a change.

Mai recently became obsessed with these little crafting gems that I have. She carries them all around & like the rice, I find them everywhere. I had an idea to make a sensory treasure hunt for her using some of these gems that she is so fond of. We recently bought her a sand & water table and this fit in perfectly with our plan.

What you will need:

A sensory or water table, an old pool or a large storage bin. Any of these will work fine.

Play sand

Water

Colored crafting gems

A sand sieve, shovels or scoops

We have a sand/water table, so I used this for our activity, but it would just as easily work in a large Rubbermaid storage container or an old pool. Throw your gems into the bottom of your container, add sand & water. Let your child dig out the gems using scoops or shovels, a sand sieve or even just their hands.

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As with all of the sensory play, this kept my munchkin amused for quite some time. I sat on the grass, enjoyed the sun and watched Mai digging out her gemstones. She would dig them out, put them aside & them throw them back in & start all over again. She asked for a towel to clean them off with & then put them in a container that night & set them next to her bed. Like I said, she really likes those gemstones.

 

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Who Needs Toys – Playtime Made Easy

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047You always hear people joke that you don’t need to buy young children expensive toys because all they end up wanting to play with is the box. This is no joke. There is no truer statement. Toddlers are easy; they can find the fun in anything. Their little spongy minds are absorbing and exploring everything. Things as simple as the box, are still new and fascinating territory for them. At 2 years old, my daughter is past the excitement of the box, but still has a taste for the simpler things in life.
We have more toys in this house than we know what to do with. Between the play kitchen, Little People Villages & Twisty Tracks, she should have enough to keep her occupied until she is in her teens, but as kids tend to do, she gets bored of these things very quickly. There are many things that you can do to occupy your child’s day without the use of fancy toys.

Here are some simple and fun things for your child to do.

Water play

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. This is one of my favorite activities to give my daughter while I am cooking or doing dishes. Lay out a towel & fill a large container half way with water and add some measuring cups & spoons. Here my daughter told me she is making coffee.

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Chick Peas, Beans & Rice

Similar to above, I have a container of chickpeas & colored rice set aside just for play. It is amazing how long my daughter will play with them. She will count them out & transfer them from cup to cup.

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Couch Cushion Fun

My daughter has a lot of energy. She loves to jump & is always throwing herself on the ground for some odd reason. Take your couch cushions off the couch & place them on the floor & let your child roll around on the pile of pillows.

Stringing Pasta

Pasta necklaces are an old classic. This requires a little bit of hand – eye coordination. Mai strung up the 3 shown below & told me that it was the mama pasta, daddy pasta & baby pasta.

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Read, read & read some more

We spend about a half hour before bed reading books every night, but books are not just for bedtime. We often read to our daughter while she is eating to keep her firmly planted in her chair during her meal. Many times even if my daughter insists that she does not want a story, if I just start reading she will eventually jump up on my lap.

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Bubble Wrap

We order from Amazon a lot, I mean a lot. Bubble wrap comes with most of these packages. I think that bubble wrap is fun for small children and adults alike. Who doesn’t love popping that stuff?

Blanket forts

Being that mommy is always cold, even in the summer, we have blankets all over the house. Mai loves it when we make forts over the couch. “Mommy, play in the fort toooooooo?” Definitely! Here she is reading with a flashlight under her fort.

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Song & Dance

My daughter loves music. She has been dancing as long as she has been walking. She also loves to sing songs with mommy & daddy. Don’t underestimate the power of music.

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Red Light, Green Light & other games

My daughter loves running around our house in circles. I had to teach her Red light, Green light just to catch my breath in between chases. Pheeew! Also try Simon Says or Hide and Seek.

Get outside

If your toddler is like mine, then he or she loves to run free. Take them outside, weather permitting & let them run & jump and play. Here is Mai walking the track at the Relay for Life in memory of her grandmother & namesake.

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Color & Draw

I have an unlimited supply of poster board in our home. My daughter loves to doodle & color. She also loves when we draw for her too. She & I will lie on the floor and she will ask me to draw pictures of caterpillars & horses. She has a vivid imagination. She creates different scenarios for these pictures. Here Mai asked Mama to draw a mama & dada spider. She said that they were both sick & needed medicine.

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Stacking boxes

I love stacking boxes & have quite a few sets strewn all over the house. My daughter shares my love for them. She likes piling them up & placing them inside of one another.

Styrofoam & Yarn

Seriously! Yarn sticks to styrofoam. If you are like me & have styrofoam cones laying around this is a great busy activity.

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What easy & simple activities do you have for you & your toddler. I would love to hear.