It’s Shaky Egg Time!
It’s that time of year when fillable plastic Easter eggs are on the store shelves and you have the opportunity to make your own shaky eggs. Shaky eggs are very easy to make.
Take a plastic egg and fill it with items that make noise when shaken. I have used plastic coated paperclips, rice, small Legos, pebbles & metal washers as filler. Use whatever makes a sound that you like. I only used a small amount of filler so that 80% of the egg was just air. Then I used a small amount of glue to seal the egg. I also place cellophane, colored masking or washi tape around the opening for peace of mind. Decorate the egg as you wish with colored permanent markers and stickers.
For very young children try attaching a plastic spoon to the egg so that it has a handle.
Enjoy your shaky eggs!
Irish folklore tells of Leprechauns granting wishes to people who capture them, but be careful! Leprechauns are tricky.
Grab your craft supplies and have fun with glitter, boxes, streamers, holiday lights or whatever you choose. Most traps I’ve had the pleasure of viewing are green and about shoebox size. There have been nets, holes, false bottoms and foliage. Let your child’s imagination run wild and let them build whatever makes their heart smile.
Traditionally Leprechaun traps are place out the night before St. Patrick’s Day. Often Leprechauns will leave gold chocolate coins, real coins and small toys. But your Leprechaun can leave what is appropriate for your family.
At last week’s Creativity Lab, the freezing temperatures matched our frosty art project! We created a lovely wintry scene, using watercolors and salt to create texture and movement within the painting. Even the littlest learners enjoyed this project, learned about color mixing and composition, and were able to create beautiful finished products.
All you need for this project are:
- Watercolors (Crayola or similar is fine- nothing fancy!)
- Painter’s Tape (1/4″, or if wider, cut into 1/4″ strips)
- Black Crayon
Begin by laying thin strips of tape from top to bottom of the page, about 1 1/2″-2″ apart. These will be your birch tree trunks. Tear short pieces of tape and add these to create branches.
Next, paint the entire surface of the paper with plain water- you want your paper to be nice and wet in order for the paint to blend and work well with the salt. Then paint watercolors over top of the water, blending colors such as blue, purple, red or pink and even green to create a wintry color palette. After you’re done painting each section, sprinkle salt over the paint. It will give the painting a fun “frosty” look and texture, and your kids will be amazed as they watch the salt soak up the paint! If the painting is already too dry, the salt will not activate properly- so if this happens, just sprinkle a little more water over it until you get the effect you want.
Let your paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Gently peel up the painter’s tape. Using a black crayon, outline each trunk and the branches and make some short horizontal lines to show the texture of a birch tree.
Now for the final step: using a very diluted gray, paint the left-hand side of the trunks and branches to create the natural shadows and coloration of birch-tree trunks.
You’ve created a lovely winter birch-tree painting!
Here’s a beautiful example my student Joelle made:
It’s that time of year when things start to appear magical, so what better time to get the kids involved in creating a bit of magic of their own.
Our next Exploratorium on Wednesday, Nov 15 at 2:00pm-3:30pm features Magician, Mark Yeager who will do a magic workshop for children in K-5th grades. This is a great opportunity for children to learn some slight of hand and other magical tricks they can do on their own. If they get hooked, let the magic grow by taking a look at our many magic books we have available to be checked out.
Coding. That’s something with computers, right? But what’s this about young children doing coding? It turns out, coding is just a way of thinking that we start doing at an early age. I’ve just let the term “code” freak me out. There are many ways for a child to develop those coding skills without looking at a computer for those parents wishing to limit screen time. Being surrounded by technology, learning how to code becomes more and more necessary in life and just like a foreign language, it is easier to learn at an early age. That’s because creating a code is like a language – a special language that tells a computer or robot what to do. Turn left, go straight. clap three times. Coding helps children with problem solving and logic. The ability to direct technology instead of just using it, builds confidence and skills that will help children later on in school and in careers where there is more and more demand for technology.
At our November 1st Exploratorium we started with very basic coding concepts using a variety of coding kits that will be available to try out in the Children’s Dept the week of Thanksgiving and then will be available to check out at a later date. This is a great way for your child to get started with the concept of coding before purchasing items that are more complicated. Some of the new items we have available include:
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar, Cubetto Educational Coding Robot, Learning Resources Learning Essentials Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set and an Ozobot.
A basic game to play with your child that demonstrates coding basics at no cost is a form of Simon Says. Simon says, if I clap my hands, then you stomp your feet. Or, if I nod my head, then you nod your head. Simon is the programmer, everyone else in the group becomes the computer.
Ready for something more complex? Place a black checker somewhere towards the far side of a checkerboard. Place a few red checkers on the board to act as obstacles. Place another black checker in the lower left corner of the board. Now direct the lower left black checker to the other black checker using only these simple directions: Go Forward, Turn Right, Turn Left, Repeat. The checker can move only 1 square at a time. It does not matter if the square is black or red.
Continue until you reach the black checker. Write down the instructions, step by step.
Now place the black checker back to the lower left corner and follow your written instructions. Did it work? If it didn’t, go back and figure out where you went wrong and try again. If it did work, then you just wrote your first piece of successful code!
In January we will have another coding program for Exploratorium that will be a bit more advanced than last weeks program. In the meantime stop by the children’s desk to try out the basic coding program kits we have.