Tuesday, February 12, 2008

While Awaiting Warmer Weather

When we run out of ideas...we turn to the experts. It has been said that children are young scientists at play, testing their hypotheses, developing theories, conducting experiments and exploring their world. That said, we like to have books and toys handy that provide opportunities for learning through play. Although some of these books listed below are written for older children, we have found them extremely useful.

One of the toys we're really diggin' right now is the Ball Track Construction Set by Haba. It's a set of wooden building blocks with the added feature of ramps, tunnels and other gizmos to roll marbles down. You can make all sorts of configurations...all you need is imagination!

Bathtub Science is wet, wacky fun! It includes activities that would delight a wide variety of age groups. The "Water Garden" experiment demonstrates how a flower blooms. It's fast, easy and great fun for a toddler. There are instructions for making your own wave jar - hey remember those? And I know when Satch is older the first things he'll want to make are the "Burping Bottle" and the "Water Canon". This book also gave me some ideas to try out at our public pool this summer.

We were first introduced to the amazing Ben Gonzales via a Mr. Rogers episode. His book, "Paper, Scissors, Sculpt" demonstrates the art of "Gupit-Gupit" to create cut-and-fold animals. The projects range from simple to challenging and include templates with easy to follow instructions. Parents a/o older children can sculpt a variety of critters and the wees can decorate them with markers.

The Magnet Book is another gem for young scientists. We like the "Flying Paper Clip" experiment. "Gone Fishin" was the inspiration behind this toy that I made for Satch with a paper clip, magnets, a twig and some vintage bark cloth that I had up in the studio. (inspiration also from this amazing mama)

Smash It, Crash It, Launch It! is another science book that is literally a blast! After Satch invented his clothespin rocket...I knew this was the book for us. We enjoyed the simple tutorials for Loopy Airplanes and Paper Helicopters. And I immediately had to make this clothespin catapult for Satch. After accidentally pelting one of our cats with a flying acorn, we switched to a ball of paper. We laughed ourselves silly.

Snowball Launchers, Giant-Pumpkin Growers, and Other Cool Contraptions is indeed quite cool. Here you will find instructions for an easy constellation night light, a Super-Duper Water Shooter, a Snowball Launcher and much more! The "Comb and Tissue Experiment" is a simple and entertaining way to teach toddlers about static electricity. And I would really love to recreate Ben Franklin's Storm-Telling Bell in the near future because it's just so darn cool!

Best Ever Paper Airplanes is a book that will help you crank out some serious flying machines! I'm pretty sure that every possible design you can make is in this book.

And lastly, The Busy Mom's Book of Preschool Activities is a handy little guide to have around - 'nough said!

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posted by Wendy at 5:51 AM


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