Friday, April 19, 2019

Easter Egg Chemistry


Last summer, Xander and I did some Simple Science with Acids and Bases by boiling purple cabbage and using it as a pH indicator.  I thought it might be fun to try out a similar concept with our Easter Eggs.
I started out by chopping up most of a head of lettuce and adding water until it was not quite covered.  Then I boiled it for about 15 minutes.  At the store, I tried to pick the head that was the deepest purple, figuring it probably had the most pigment.
After boiling, I strained out the cabbage and was left with this deep purple water (and a somewhat smelly kitchen). I returned the water to the pot and added some eggs.  I boiled the eggs for about 15 minutes and then let the sit in the water until we were ready to use them (a few hours). I learned that you have to stir occasionally or one side gets darker than the other.
Here is what they looked like after boiling.  Definitely not bright like regular dye, but a noticeable color.
I gave Xander one dish with lemon juice, one with a baking soda and water mixture, and some cotton swabs. 
He did some painting and some dipping. 
For us, the lemon juice seemed to have a stronger effect.  It turned pinkish.  The baking soda turned greenish. 
The effects were subtle, although stronger than what the pictures show. 
Then we decided to crack them open and see how the eggs looked.  Xander thought that was almost cooler than the outsides. 
Both boys tried some.  They pretty much tasted like hard boiled eggs, however, I thought they were a little softer/less rubbery than most eggs cooked for that long.

Happy Easter! If you decide to try it, I'd love to see pictures of your results!



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Baby Easter Activities

It makes me so happy that Archer is finally getting to the age where I can start themed activities.  Granted, they're still pretty limited, but it is still an exciting milestone for me. We ended up doing just a couple simple ones for Easter.
First, I stuck some decorative eggs on sticks into a cheese container.  Both were from the dollar store, so very cheap and easy!
Archer was very interested in taking them out (and trying so hard to eat them).  However, he is not quite ready to put them back in.  That will be something to work towards as his fine motor skills improve.

Next I got out some eggs and put some large jingle bells in them.  He had fun shaking them to hear the sound.
He also had great fun putting them in and out of his chai container (I swear, that is one of his favorite toys).
Eventually, he figured out he could open them to get the bells out.  After that, I put some Toob animals in them for him to practice getting out.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Baby Sensory Play: Window Paint Bag

I've been having a tough time with sensory play with Archer, just because the kid eats EVERYTHING. It's hard to plan things that won't end up in his mouth.  One of the few ideas that works with him is this window paint bag (now I am definitely not the first to do this, I'm sure Pinterest has tons of other moms who have done it). 
I squirted some washable finger paints into a freezer bag, duct taped the top shut and then taped it to the sliding glass door.  You could easily tape it to a table or high chair tray, but that would just make Archer mad he wasn't getting fed. The paint ends up being a little squishy and feels fun to move around.  Xander got a kick out of the bag when Archer was done.
Inevitably, he switched from squishing the paint and the colors, to trying to peel the tape off the window.  I guess that's still fine motor work, right? 
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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

10 Month Learning Shelves

This month the whole family ended up getting sick, so we were all thrown off.  That means our reading and math activities were pretty inconsistent. Hopefully, we will get back on track!  We did get to read lots of books together and FINALLY got some time outside!
Baby Shelves
Here was his Spanish math early reader  and his Meet the Sight Words Books for this set of shelves.  For some reason, Archer thought the word "picnic" was very funny.
This construction puzzle was probably the biggest surprise this time around.  Archer loved playing with the pieces, but particularly the orange truck.  He would carry it around the house, or hang onto it while doing other things.  He still doesn't get the concept of puzzles, but we're working on it.  I show him how the pieces match and which ones go where.  He sometimes tries to put  them in, but often likes to try putting pieces into other slots.
The pop up toy ended up being some of the best $3 I've spent (thank you, Facebook Marketplace).  When I first brought it home, Xander actually stole it to use for quite a while.  Archer loves it too!  He struggles to get the doors open, but he LOVES closing them.
We also had out the little food disks I made to go with Never Feed a Yeti Spaghetti (free printable here).  Archer is getting better and better at "feeding" them through the mouths in the book.
After seeing how much Archer liked the construction vehicle puzzle, I tried getting out Xander's cars and traffic signs.  Archer played with them quite a bit.  He seemed to like the noise they made when he rolled them on hard floors.  He also really likes dumping out the plastic bin they're in as you try to put the cars in.
We got out the Rollipop track again.  Archer had lots of fun with it, but ended up wanting to stand on it, so he kept knocking it over.  On a whim, I got out an empty chai container that has a metal bottom and stuck the balls in there.  He spent SO much time playing with it.  He enjoyed taking the balls out and putting them in, especially because they made a loud noise when they hit the bottom.
I picked up a mylar balloon at the dollar store and it was a huge hit.  Archer liked watching it and hitting it.  I tied it, loosely, to his ankle, so he could read it.
Finally, in order to buy myself some time to work in the kitchen, I got out our letter magnets.  It was good fine motor practice for Archer, trying to pull them off the dishwasher.  He also practiced putting them on.  Mostly, he spread them throughout the kitchen.









Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Games for Brains: Lost Cities

Playing Time: 30-60 minutes (short and long version)
Players: 2-4
Overview:
There are two version of this game, the card game and the board game.  I've played both, and while I like them both, the board game is one of our all time favorites.  The game involves moving little explorers along various paths and collecting points and artifacts.  Players have to play cards in order to move their explorers and cards must be played in order from smallest to largest in each color. You can discard a card to try to get better ones, but another player can choose to pick up the discarded cards.  The game can be played in one round (short version) or three rounds (long version), which adds some nice flexibility. 

Brain Value:
This game involves some quite a bit of strategy.  Since cards must be played in order from smallest to largest, players have to decide whether they have enough cards and low enough cards to play a particular color.  There are also a finite number of each card, so it involves judging how likely other players are to have the cards you need.  Players also have to decide how likely it is that their opponents may benefit from discarded cards.  It is a balance between wanting to play cards to advance while also making sure you have enough moves in each color later in the game.

Xander is getting better at judging when to certain cards and how to maximize his points.  

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