Friday, August 20, 2010

Fun Activities

Here we are, in the dead of summer.  The heat and humidity has been unbearable!  Swimming and running through the sprinkler are not the only things to do on a hot summer day.  There are many things in the kitchen that provide plenty of fun!  
Take equal parts of cornstarch and water and mix on the kitchen counter, table, or in a bowl (for those "type-a" parents)!  Kids will love pushing the mixture around.  It's "liquidy," but it also molds for a quick second when you slide it with your finger.  Another fun thing to do would be add food coloring.  Even better, have your little one do the measuring and mixing.  They will love being a scientist.
Kids will love making and playing with play dough.  A recipe that I have gotten along the way seems to work well.  Mix 3 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, one and a half cup of salt, one fourth cup of oil, and some food coloring.  If it is too sticky, add a little more flour until you reach the consistency of bread dough.  During different holidays, I will add different smelling flavors to the play dough.  For instance, I add cinnamon or mint at Christmas time, or Kool Aid  in the summer time.  (If you use Kool Aid, there's no need to add food coloring!)  To store the play dough just use a seal-able plastic bag, plastic container, or an old ice cream pail.  Kids can use rolling pins, cookie cutters, and their hands to play with the play dough.  It's all helpful for fine motor development.
Milk and Food Coloring Experiment:
Steve Spangler Science  (Great website for fun experiments!)
The link above shows a great experiment for kids, it also explains how the experiment works. All you have to do is get out flat dish, (I like using a pie pan) some milk (2% or whole), food coloring and dish soap (Joy and Dawn work the best in my opinion), and a cotton swab.  Then follow these directions:
1.)  Pour enough milk to cover the bottom of the dish.
2.)  Put in one drop of food coloring (of each  color) separately, but near the center of the dish.
3.)  Now take a clean cotton swab and touch the tip of it in the middle.  Discuss what happens, if anything.
4.) Then take the soap and cover the tip of a clean cotton swab.  Place the soapy end of the cotton swab back in the middle of the milk and hold it there for 10 to 15 seconds.
5.) Discuss what happens.
6.)  Repeat step four, but in a different area of the pan.
7.)  Repeat the experiment using a different liquid, to see if the same thing happens.  

The key thing when doing experiments or learning activities with your children is to ask them questions.  Ask what they see, what they think is happening (explanation), and how they think it works.
Hope my ideas create some wonderful memories for you and your kiddos!

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