Fun Activities for Kids

Fun Nature Crafts

By: Julianna Lu

Spring has sprung! Here are a couple of fun and creative nature crafts that you can try with your little one!

Suncatcher Wind Chimes

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You Will Need:


· Contact/self-adhesive paper

· Marker/pen

· Rings from mason jar lids

· Scissors

· Stick (optional)

· String

· Tape


Instructions:


1. Using the ring from a Mason jar lid, trace a circle onto the contact paper (non-adhesive side). Trace as many circles as you wish to make. It might be helpful to tape the contact paper onto your working surface to prevent the paper from slipping.

2. On a flat surface, peel the cover from the adhesive side of the contact paper. Make sure that the sticky side is facing up.

3. Stick on nature items (e.g., leaves, flower pedals, etc) to fill in the circles. Be as creative as you like!

4. Once you have the desired look, place another piece of contact paper over top and flatten gently.

5. Carefully use the scissor to cut out the circles that were traced. It might be helpful to cut the circle slightly smaller than the tracing, so that they can fit snug into the mason jar ring.

6. Before placing the circle cutouts into the mason jar ring, cut some pieces of string. The string will be used to hang your suncatcher, so the length can be as short/long as you’d like!

7. Tie a knot around the ring with the cut string.

8. Push the suncatcher circles into the mason jar ring. Use a piece of tape to secure it in place.

9. Voila! You have just made your own suncatcher! Hang them outside or indoors! Optional step: Tie each individual suncatcher onto a stick, so that they can hang together.




From: http://handsonaswegrow.com/nature-suncatcher-wind-chimes/

Mason Jar Terrarium

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You will need:

· Mason jar or any recycled jar

· Moss (optional, you can find this in your yard)

· Pebbles and/or rocks

· Potting soil

· Small plant (e.g., succulents, seeds)

· Spoon


Instructions:


1. To begin layering your mason jar terrarium, place some pebbles at the bottom of the jar. Try to place the bigger pebbles/rocks toward the bottom of the jar. The purpose of this is to ensure that our terrarium has appropriate drainage (we don’t want to drown our plants!). Fill your jar with pebbles/rocks until it reaches about ¼ to ⅓ of the jar’s height.

2. Next, carefully add a layer of dried moss, which you can find in your yard. This step is optional. The moss also helps with the drainage.

3. Using a spoon, carefully layer soil on top of the moss and/or pebbles. The height of the soil should match or slightly exceed the height of the pebbles (e..g, ¼ to ⅓ of the jar’s height). You want to ensure that the layer of soil is deep enough for roots to grow.

4. Hollow out a shallow hole in the soil; this is where you will place your plant/seed.

5. If you are planting a seed: place the seed in the shallow hole.

If you are planting a succulent: Before placing the succulent in your terrarium, very gently, break away some of the soil around the roots. Loosening the roots before planting allows the roots to spread and grow in all directions.

6. Place the succulent into the shallow hole created from Step 4.

7. Carefully cover the roots or seed with the soil.

8. Top your soil layer with a thin layer of pebbles or moss and add any fun decorations! (e.g., toy dinosaurs)

From: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/diy-mason-jar-terrarium-t_b_8210924

Activities for Kids That Explore Their Sense of Smell!

By: Venus Ho

Many sensory activities that kids do are touch-focused, but kids can learn a lot by using their other senses too. In this article, we share 3 activities that you and your child can do to explore their sense of smell with their nose! In each activity, you can also encourage discussion with your child and promote language development by talking about:

- The different colours

- How to describe different scents

- What the scent reminds your child of

- Any foods your child has tried with a similar scent

Smell & Guess

You Will Need:

· A blender

· A variety of fruits that you can blend (e.g., strawberry, grape, banana)

· Containers to put the blended fruits into

· Sticky notes

· Pen

Instructions:

1. For each fruit that you have, blend them separately into a smoothie. For example, if you have bananas, grapes, and cherries, you would blend them all separately so you would end up with 3 different smoothies - one banana, one grape, and one cherry.

2. Pour each smoothie into a container.

3. Label each container with a different number (e.g, from 1-3) using a sticky note. Keep an answer key for yourself so you know which container has which fruit.

4. Ask your child to smell each container and guess which fruit each container has.


Optional: You can also ask your child to do a taste test for each container. This will allow them to explore their sense of taste as well!


From: handsonaswegrow.com

Spice Paint

You will need:

· A variety of different coloured paints (e.g., white, yellow, brown)

· A variety of different spices (e.g., vanilla, turmeric, cinnamon)

· Paintbrushes

· Containers for the paint

· Paper to paint on

Instructions:

1. Mix in a dash of spice into each paint. You can choose to match the colour of the paint with each spice (white paint with vanilla, yellow paint with turmeric, and brown paint with cinnamon) or get creative! The more spice you add, the stronger the fragrance will be.

2. Give your child a paintbrush and a piece of paper! While they paint, they will be able to smell the different scents!
















From: www.nurturestore.co.uk

Matching Tea Bags

You will need:

· Different flavours of tea bags (the more flavours, the better!)

Instructions:

1. For each flavour of tea, leave 1 tea bag inside the packaging and take 1 tea bag out. You can set aside the remaining tea bags for future activities.

2. Ask your child to smell the tea bag inside the packaging and to match the scent with the individual tea bags.















From: www.fantasticfunandlearning.com

Crafting with Food: Winter themed dessert recipes to try with kids

By: Olivia Ng

Having to stay at home can be a difficult experience for kids and parents. However, finding activities to do together can be a fun way for your kids to improve their cognitive and language development! This blog presents some collaborative winter-themed crafting recipes for the family, but are simple enough for your kids to do on their own. To encourage your kids to think about the activities, you can ask them questions such as, “Why does the chocolate melt when it’s hot but not the banana or pretzels? What month is it now? So this is a winter month – what is a summer month? What kinds of things could we make in the summer?” You can also teach them about numbers and counting, tastes and textures, and states of matter (i.e., melting). This can be a fun experience to relieve boredom while at home, as well as a hands-on way to teach concepts and develop skills!

Chocolate Pinecones

You Will Need:

· 3 cups Chocolate Fiber One Cereal (can also use Chex Chocolate Cereal)

· 6 pretzel rods

· 1⁄2 cup peanut butter

· 1⁄4 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

· 3 tablespoons butter, softened

· 1 cup powdered sugar (+ 1⁄4 cup for dusting on top)


Instructions:

1. Mix the peanut butter, Nutella, butter and powdered sugar in a bowl.

2. Take a pretzel rod and mould some of the mixture around it, forming a cone shape.

3. Hold it steady by using the tip of the pretzel as a handle, and start inserting pieces of cereal into the mixture in a symmetrical pattern around the stick. Add more cereal pieces, staggering them as you move upward until you get near the top.

4. If the pine cone is getting too tall, cut off the top of the pretzel and add more of the mixture to mold over the top so none of the broken pretzels are showing.

5. Break apart cereal pieces to create smaller scales near the top.

6. For a “snowy” effect, dust each pine cone with powdered sugar.

From:

<https://thethriftycouple.com/edible-chocolate-pinecones-recipe-with-freshly-fallen-snow-easy-show-stopping-recipe/comment-page-1/>

Marshmallow Snowmen

You will need:

· 1 banana

· ½ cup of chocolate chips

· 3 M&M pieces

· 4 pieces of white chocolate

Instructions:

1. Microwave chocolate chips in a bowl for 1 minute, taking them out to stir after 30 seconds.

2. Cut the banana in half.

3. Dip the pointed ends into the chocolate until the top and sides have been covered.

4. Attach 2 pieces of white chocolate onto the top of each banana as the eyes and half of an orange M&M as a beak. Also, attach two halved orange M&M’s at the bottom of the banana for the penguin’s feet.

From:

<https://sadlercrazylife.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/crafty-christmas-snack-frozen-banana-penguin/>

Snowman Oreos

You will need:

· 1 Package Oreo Cookies

· 1/2 lb Almond Bark or Candy coating

· 1/4 cup Regular Chocolate Chips

· 1/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

· 1/4 cup Candy Corn


Instructions:

1. Melt the almond bark in short increments in the microwave in a small bowl, stirring occasionally until smooth.

2. Place an Oreo in the melted almond bark. Flip it using a large fork. Ensure the cookie is completely coated. Keeping the fork tines level, gently tap the handle of the fork on the rim of the bowl. Use a straight up and down motion so the cookie doesn’t slide off of the fork. This will give a nice smooth coating on top of the cookie. Place the cookie on a piece of wax or parchment paper.

3. To build the face start with the nose. Place an ear of Candy corn right in the middle of the cookie

4. Next, stick two regular Chocolate Chips, pointy end down, just above the Candy corn for the eyes.

5. Place 6 Mini Chocolate Chips beneath the Candy corn to make a smile.

6. Let cool and set for at least 20 minutes.

7. Store in an airtight container.

From:

<https://livingsweetmoments.com/snowman-oreo-cookies/>

Halloween Science Experiments

By: Emily Stonehouse

Crystal Snowflake Ornaments

You Will Need:

· Borax

· Water

· Large jar/vase

· Craft sticks/pencils

· String

· Pipe cleaners

· Paper towel


Instructions:

1. Cut your pipe cleaner into thirds, place the pieces together and twist the center to hold them together and pull the 6 sides to look like a snowflake

2. Cut 6 1.5” pieces of pipe cleaner and twist one onto each arm to make it look more like a snowflake

3. Tie a long piece of string to the center of the snowflake and wrap the other end around a pencil

4. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of borax powder in a cup of boiling water and then fill your jar with the solution

5. Hang your snowflakes inside the jar. They should be fully emerged but not touching the sides/bottoms of the jar. Use the pencil on the other end of the string across the top of the jar to hold it in place

6. Leave them for a couple of hours to start seeing changes, leave alone for 24 hours although you can keep checking in to watch the crystals grow!

7. Gently lift the snowflakes our and leave them to dry on paper towels for about a hour, then they’re ready to hang up and enjoy!


From:

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/crystal-snowflake-ornament-science-activity-kids/

Bird Seed Ornaments

You will need:

· 1/2 cup cold water

· 1/2 cup boiling water

· 2 packages of gelatin

· 2 tablespoons of corn syrup

· 2.5 cups of bird seed

· Cookie cutters

· Straws

· Parchment paper

· String

Instructions:

1. Mix the gelatin with the cold water until it completely dissolves, then add the boiling water and stir slowly until completely dissolved again

2. Add the corn syrup and stir again until dissolved

3. Mix in the bird seed, keep mixing until the seeds are evenly coated and leave to rest for a couple minutes

4. Spoon the seed mixture into the cookie cutters until they are about half filled and use parchment paper to press the seeds firmly into the molds. Fill the cookie cutters to the top and press down again

5. To make a hole for the string, push the straw into the birdseed making sure to leave lots of room between the straw hole and the edge

6. Put your ornaments into the fridge overnight to set, and to remove gently push the edges until it falls out. Take out the straws and insert your string for hanging

7. Done! Now you can hang your ornaments outside and watch the birds enjoy their delicious winter treat!

From:

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/how-to-make-birdseed-feeder-ornaments-with-gelatin/

Melting Ice

You will need:

· Bowls/dishes to make the ice

· Large tray with sides

· Salt

· Liquid watercolours or food colouring

· Droppers or a spoon


Instructions:

1. Make the ice. For more fun and experimentation, create different sizes of ice using different shaped/sized bowls or winter themed ice trays

2. Set up your melting station by placing your ice shapes in a large tray with raised sides

3. Add salt- more salt will cause the ice to melt faster so start with a little bit and add more as desired

4. Add colours to your melting ice! The colours are not only beautiful but emphasize the tunnels/cracks forming in the ice as it melts from the salt














From:

https://artfulparent.com/melting-ice-science-experiment-with-salt-liquid-watercolors/

Halloween Science Experiments

By: Emily Stonehouse

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup Elmer’s Washable White School Glue

  • 1 tbs Saline Solution

  • 2 tbs Baking Soda

  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar

  • Food Coloring (green or any Halloween colors you want!)

  • Small Cauldron or Container (for mixing slime)

  • Small Cup (for mixing vinegar and saline)

  • Cookie or Craft Tray

  • Creepy Crawlies or Halloween items of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Put your container onto a large cookie/craft tray. Start by combining the glue and baking soda in your chosen container. You will notice that as you stir the baking soda into the glue it thickens! This is really the point of adding baking soda to saline solution slime recipes.

  2. Go ahead and get witch-y! Throw in all sorts of creepy crawlies!

  3. Add food colouring of choice (green, purple, and orange are great for Halloween)

  4. In another small container, mix the vinegar and the saline solution.

  5. Pour vinegar/saline mixture into the glue mixture and start stirring! You will notice the mixture begin to bubble and eventually erupt everywhere! This is the reason for the tray!

  6. Continue to stir until the eruption is complete. You will notice that it gets harder and harder to stir because you are mixing your slime as well!

  7. Once you have stirred as much as possible, reach in and pull out your slime! It will be a bit messy at first but this slime is wonderful! All you need to do is knead it a bit.

  8. It should not be sticky on the hands either! But if after kneading your slime it still feels sticky, you can add a drop or two of saline to it and continue to knead. Don’t add too much or you will end up with a rubbery slime!

Image From:

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/bubbling-halloween-slime/

You will need:

  • Disposable Gloves

  • Water

  • Rubber Bands

  • Food Coloring

  • Glitter

  • Halloween Items (spiders, eyeballs, and other plastic treasures)

Instructions:

  1. Choose a handful of the Halloween items you want to use

  2. Put the Halloween items and a few drops of food colouring into one of the disposable gloves

  3. Fill the glove with water, leaving enough room so you can tie off the end with an elastic

  4. Lay your hands flat on a tray and place in the freezer overnight

  5. Once frozen, remove the hands and put them in a large bowl (to reduce mess), then peel off the glove

  6. Ta-Da! Now you have fun Halloween hands ready to play with!


Image From:

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/halloween-melting-ice-experiment/

You will need:

  • Gelatin or Jello Packs {we choose gelatin for the color but you could also use red jello}

  • Water

  • Pot {boil water with adult supervision}

  • Spoon

  • Heart or brain Molds (dollar store or Amazon)

  • Pipette, Skewer, Plastic Butter Knife {for dissecting and exploring}

  • Food Coloring Mixed in Water

Instructions:

  1. Follow the directions on the package of the gelatin or jello mix using the mold of your choice

  2. Use pipette/instrument of choice to add food colouring to mold

  3. Voila! You have your very own gelatin science experiment where you can talk about chemistry, the changing of liquids to semi solids/solids, and if you used brain/heart molds, organs!


Image From:

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/gross-creepy-gelatin-heart-halloween-science-experiment/

Crafts You Can Do at Home!

Easy, Fun Activities Using Materials You Have at Home!

By: Terryn Kim & Mo Pabla


As September is approaching, so is the Back-To-School and Fall season! To celebrate these seasons, we compiled a few fun activities you can do at home.

We hope you enjoyed making these as much as we did! If you try any of these activities, please share your results with us on Facebook or Instagram (@uwcoral) so we can see them!

Pinecone Apple Tree

Supplies:

  • pinecones

  • green yarn

  • red, yellow, orange, green pom poms

  • glue

  • scissors

  • wooden spool if desired


Instructions:

  1. Wrap your green yarn around your pinecone. For smaller pinecones, regular worsted 3 weight yarn works best. For larger pinecones, a chunky yarn will work best.

  2. Cut the yarn when done wrappning and tuck it in. If worried about the yarn coming undone, use a small dab of glue to glue it onto the pinecone.

  3. Glue pom poms around the pinecone to represent your apples.

  4. Optional: if you would like your tree to also have a trunk, glue a wooden spool on the bottom of the pinecone. Hot glue works best for this.

  5. Voila! An apple tree to welcome the oncoming fall season.

Image From: https://buggyandbuddy.com/pinecone-apple-tree-craft/

Elephant Toothpaste

Supplies:

  • 16oz plastic pop bottle

  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (6% solution)

  • 1 packet dry yeast

  • 1 tbsp liquid dish soap

  • 3 tbsp warm water

  • food colouring

  • small cup

  • safety goggles

Instructions:

  1. Put on your safety goggles!

  2. Add the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle.

  3. Add 8 drops of food colouring of your choice followed by the dish soap.

  4. Mix the bottle slowly by swirling it around.

  5. In the small cup, combine the dry yeast with the warm water, mixing it for 30 seconds.

  6. Finally, pour the yeast-water mixture into the bottle and watch the foam form!

Image From: https://www.scholastic.com/parents/kids-activities-and-printables/activities-for-kids/math-and-science-ideas/home-science-experiments-elephants-toothpaste.html

Leaf Imprints

Supplies:

  • leaves

  • 1 cup salt

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1 cup water

  • markers or paint

Instructions:

  1. Mix together your salt and flour. Slowly add water a little at a time and mix until you have a dough-like consistency and it's not too sticky.

  2. Roll out the dough to about 1cm of thickness and cut into smaller portions.

  3. Imprint your leaves onto the dough by pushing them into the smaller pieces. Leaves with raised veins work best for imprints.

  4. Pop your imprints into the oven on a tray at 120 degrees celsius for about 2-3 hours.

  5. Once cooled, you can decorate your imprints using whatever you like! Markers, paint, and glitter work well.


Image From:

https://theimaginationtree.com/coloured-salt-dough-leaf-impressions/

Science You Can Do at Home!

Easy, Fun Experiments Using Materials You Have at Home!

By: Olivia Halley & Emily Stonehouse, MA


Thanks for participating in our activities and contributing to our research! Now that you’re a Jr. Scientist, we’ve compiled some experiments you can do from home. These experiments use common household materials and are easy and fun for all ages. Work together to learn more about science!


We hope you enjoy these science experiments and learn something new! If you try any of these activities, please share your results with us on Facebook or Instagram (@uwcoral) so we can see them!

Coffee Ground Fossils

Supplies:

  • 1 cup of used coffee grounds

  • ½ cup of cold coffee

  • 1 cup of flour

  • ½ cup of salt

  • wax paper

  • mixing bowl

  • cookie cutters/objects to make impressions

    • string to hang your fossil if desired

Instructions:

  1. Brew a small amount of coffee and save the grounds. Let the coffee cool. Measure out the ingredients (this is a good opportunity to practice measuring, gross motor skills, talking about numbers).

  2. Mix together the coffee grounds, coffee, flour, and salt until well mixed (this is a good opportunity to talk about how different items mix together to form new materials).

  3. Knead the dough and flatten it on the wax paper (this is a great sensory activity).

  4. Use any items desired to cut out your “fossils” (cookie cutters, cans, knives, etc.) (this is a great opportunity to talk about shapes).

  5. Press desired items into the dough to make imprints (I.e., toys, seashells, create your own designs using toothpicks/knives). You can also make a small hole near the edge of the dough if you want to hang it later. (this is a great opportunity to talk about the items you’re creating fossils of/the designs you’re making)

  6. Leave to dry and harden overnight. Voila, you’ve made your own fossils!

Image From: https://craftsbyamanda.com/coffee-ground-fossils/


Sensory Tube

Supplies:

  • bottle/tube of choice

  • clear glue

  • food/liquid colouring

  • hot glue

  • fun items of choice (I.e., buttons, small toys, shells, sequins, etc.)

Instructions:

  1. Fill up bottle/tube with items of your choice, have fun! You can create themed tubes (I.e., shells, small toy fish, pieces of plastic seaweed/algae for an underwater theme) or use whatever fun items you want. (good opportunity to talk about the items used, what theme you want to use, where the items are from)

  2. Fill most of the bottle/tube with water, and then fill the rest with glue. The more glue you add, the slower the sensory tube items will move! (good opportunity to talk about how the water and glue mix together and change the “speed” of the sensory tube).

  3. Add a couple drops of food/liquid watercolour. Add as much or as little as desired to get the colour you like! (good opportunity to talk about how colours mix together, how adding less colour means it will be lighter and easier to see what’s inside)

  4. Screw on the lid/cap tightly. Have a grown-up hot glue the outside of the lid/cap where it connects to the bottle/tube to prevent it from leaking. And voila! You have your very own sensory tube.

Image From: https://www.ssww.com/blog/diy-sensory-bottles-for-kids/

Tornado in a Jar

Supplies:

  • 1 clear jar or container with a lid

  • 2 tablespoons dish soap

  • Water

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Fill your jar about ¾ full with cold or room-temperature water.

  2. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to the jar.

  3. Add 2 tablespoons of dish soap to the jar. If you’re using a small jar, try less dish soap at first because if you use too much, your water will become very cloudy when you shake it, and the tornado will be hard to see. You can always add more later!

  4. Put the lid on the jar and make sure it is properly closed.

  5. Shake the jar in a circular motion around the circumference of the jar for about 5 seconds. Olivia found that small, fast circles seemed to produce the best tornadoes.

  6. Step back and observe! If your water is too cloudy during your first attempt, try emptying the jar and starting from step 2 again with less dish soap this time. If your water becomes cloudy after shaking it a few times, wait about 10 minutes for the water to clear and try again. Tornado too small? First, try shaking it harder. If that does not work, add a little more dish soap and try again.


Note: When testing this experiment, Olivia used a large pickle jar which produced large tornadoes, however, the size made it hard to shake properly. We suggest using a smaller jar if available because it would be easier for little ones to hold, as well as potentially using a hard plastic container since it is safer if the jar/container were to be knocked over or dropped.