Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter Huntin' Handles

If you are headed to a big hunt, then you may be wondering what bag to bring along for your hunter.  Traditional Easter baskets don't hold many eggs and are too shallow, so eggs easily fall out of them when bending down to retrieve another egg.  Plastic grocery bags offer great capacity, but you have to open them each time you add an egg.

How about this little grocerybag Easter Egg Huntin' "handle"?  The handle is an easy grip for youngins and stays open, while preventing spills.  If you are amazing at hunting and fill your bag, you can release the filled bag and swap for a new bag.
Find a thin, cardboard box (pasta, babyfood cereal, juice carton...) and cut off the bottom and top flaps so that you now have a retangular tunnel of box front, box back, and two box sides.
Cut the top part of the sides off.  You'll want to leave at least 3-5" of the bottom of the box sides.  If you want to reinforce the handle, fold the top of the box front (and then back) down in half-ish.  Now you can poke a hole into the upper part of the box front and cut out a large rectangle (leaving 3-5" of space left at the bottom, like you left on the sides.)  Create a handle.  Tape the bended flap down to make a secure handle and you may wish to tape around the fingerhold area too.
Slide a grocery bag through the center of the Easter Huntin' Handles and slip the grocery bag handles over the Easter Huntin' Handles.  Pull down on the grocery bag to make the bag snug over the handles.  If the handles are too big and not snug, just snap that handle in half and tie it over the Easter Huntin Handles.

If you wish, you can spray paint the handles to cover over the box print.  Then let your child color it with markers, cover it with Easter stickers, or paint the Easter Huntin' Handles.
Happy Huntin'!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Cloudy, Cloudy Day"
Cloud Categorizer

I found a really cool cloud identification "weather window" on www.nature-watch.com.  Being the frugal lady that I am, instead of buying this handy-dandy hand-held devise of wonder...we made our own Cloud Categorizer.  (Thanks to http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-clouds.htm for the great cloud photos!)

Make your own Cloud Categorizer:
We used the cardboard from a cereal box.  Print the cloud photos from the PDF below and cut out the rectangles.  Make sure you cut out the center rectangle.  Now tape or glue the cloud photo rectangle to the cardboard.  Cut around the photos (and be sure to cut out the center rectangle).   Tape a handle (one or two tongue depresors, plastic spoons...) onto the bottom of your cardboard frame. 

Or you can cut out your own cardboard frame and find pictures in magazines, or print pictures from online to identify the various cloud types.  Cut out the pictures and tape them to your cardboard frame. 
Peek through your window to see the clouds in the sky.  Do the clouds in the sky outside look like some of the clouds on your Cloud Categorizer?
Explain to your child how clouds are formed.  Water vapor condenses into the liquid (water) or solid (ice) form.  Little tiny water droplets are formed when the vapor condenses around a tiny dust particle in the air.  A cloud is a collection of MANY tiny droplets in the air. 
There are basically three types of clouds:
1. Cirrus ("curl"): thin wispy and white. They are located high in the sky and are almost entirely made up of ice particles. These types of clouds often are seen before rain or snow.
2. Cumulus ("heap"): white, fluffy and round. They are seen on nice days.
3. Stratus ("layer"): low hanging clouds that are in layers that look like a gray blanket. They look like haze in the sky. These types of clouds can become fog if they get low enough in the air. 

The word Nimbus means "rain", so: 
Nimbostratus: dark clouds that normally are seen when rain or snow is happening all day long.
Cumulonimbus: tall vertical clouds. Often called thunderheads. They usually produce lightening and storms. (http://www.lessonplanspage.com/ScienceTypesCloudsHowFormedUnit2.htm)
Keep your Cloud Categorizer handy to predict the weather!  Check out how the clouds on your Cloud Categorizer can tell you what type of weather lies ahead:  http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-clouds.htm.
Happy Cloud Watching...
Oooh, I think I see a cloud that looks like an elephant!

Monday, March 5, 2012

SMMART Science:
St.Patrick's Day
Green Cabbage Juice

Cabbage isn't just nice with a helping of Corned Beef!  Use purple cabbage juice as a pH indicator to tell you if a substance is acidic or basic.  Purple cabbage, tumeric, and beetroot are just a few natural plants that contain anthocyanins.   Anthocyanins are members of the flavonoid group. In an acidic solution there are lots of hydrogen ions and the addition of hydrogen ions to the anthocyanins alters the wavelength of light that is reflected by the molecules. (www.ilovebacteria.com)
You can easily test the pH (amount of Hydrogen ions) in substances around your house.
-Cut a head of purple cabbage in half. 
-Chop up the cabbage half into about 2 cups of chopped cabbage and put it into a large bowl (lid optional). 
-Pour boiling water over the cabbage until the cabbage is covered.  If you like, you can cover the bowl to keep the water nice and hot. 
-Let the cabbage seep for 10 minutes.  The water will turn a nice purple color. 
-Remove the cabbage and keep the purple liquid.
-Pour a little purple cabbage juice into several little bowls.
-Slowly add a substance to the cabbage juice in a little bowl and observe the color change!
Purple color= Neutral= pH7
Red color= Acidic
Green/blue color= Basic

The pH scale goes from 2(highly acidic) to 14(highly basic), with 7 in the middle being neutral

Try testing lemon juice, vinegar, soda, milk, laundry detergent, and household bleach.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice2.5
Freshly squeezed orange juice3.0
Tomato Juice
Bottled Lemon Juice
4.0 to 4.5
Black Coffee5.0
Water7.0 (neutral)
Baking soda9.0
Milk of Magnesia10.7
Domestic Bleach 11.0
Chocolate, honey, molasses, sour cream, buttermilk, brown sugar, natural cocoa powder, etc.mild

Add a little baking soda to the red (acidic) cabbage juice and watch the baking soda neutralize the acid to a purple.
Is Soda Good for your bones?

Test your favorite soda...is it acidic?  Soda can cause your body to pull Calcium from your bones to neutralize the acid.  This may contribute to osteoporosis.  Some experts suggest that if a person has a healthy diet, this really isn't a problem.  Others say that some people fill up on soda throughout the day and don't have a healthy diet.  These are the people who may be more at risk of osteoporosis from drinking carbonated beverages.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Origami was passed on through oral tradition for many years in Japan. Ori=paper and gami=folding. Origami has traditions in the Arab world, Spain, China and South America. Since it was Valentine's Day recently, we formed a very simple Heart Origami. You can find detailed photo directions at http://www.origami-instructions.com/easy-origami-heart.html
Then we created easy lotus blossoms. You can find the detailed photo directions at http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-lotus-blossom.html

I thought it might be fun to learn napkin origami that our kids could use when they set the dinner table. You can find an amazing variety of napkin art online. We did a few simple designs:
http://www.napkinfoldingguide.com/24-lily/ and


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