Upcycled Bubble Blowers

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

These bubble blowers are a BLAST and can be made with upcycled items easily found at home! This craft is perfect for Earth Day week. What else could you upcycle to make into something new and fun?!

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic bottle 
    • You can use a plastic cup as well
  • Piece of a mesh vegetable bag
  • Duct tape
  • Bubble solution (store bought or DIY)

Directions:

  • Find a plastic bottle for each bubble blower
  • Cut off the non-drinking-end of the plastic bottle
    • Cutting about an inch off the end is plenty
    • If using a plastic cup - cut a small opening on the bottom of the cup. This will be the spot where little ones put their mouths to blow their bubbles. 
  • Fit your piece of mesh vegetable bag over the cut end of your plastic bottle and secure to the bottle using duct tape
    • If using a plastic cup, put the mesh over the wide end of the cup (where you would normally drink!)
  • Put some bubble solution inside a container
    • To make your own you will need:
      • 1 cup water
      • 2 Tbsp light corn starch
      • 4 Tbsp dish soap
        • Mix all ingredients together! 
        • There are a lot of recipes for bubble solution - I used this one because I had these materials at home! 
  • Invite bubble blowers to dip their plastic bottles into the bubble solution and then try blowing bubbles!
    • Big bubble snakes will appear! 

Thank you to our Earth Day week sponsor, D. F. Richard! 

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Tinker Time: Earth Day

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This week’s Tinker Time was inspired by Earth Day! These activities are all easy to do with materials that you probably have in your household recycling bin or trash can. Try out one or two and let us know what you think! 

Sensory: Cork Boats

  • Gather your materials: three wine corks, two rubber bands or hair ties (or duct tape!), a straw or craft stick, a piece of paper, scissors. 
  • Assemble your boat! 
    • Rubber band the three corks together so they form a raft-like structure
    • Wiggle the straw or craft stick between two of the corks
    • Cut your piece of paper into a triangle and decorate
    • Cut two slits on your triangle so you can slide it onto the straw or craft stick to become a sail!
  • Have some sensory fun playing with the boat in the water! 

Building: Egg carton building blocks

  • Cut egg cartons into small sections (the parts that hold the eggs!)
  • Optional: color or paint the egg carton pieces
  • Explore using the egg carton pieces as building blocks! 

Sorting: Old crayons become new!

  • Place liners in mini or regular muffin tin
    • You can also use silicone shape molds, if you have them! 
  • Sort old broken crayons by color into the different sections of the tin
  • Bake the crayons for ~12 minutes at 250 degrees
    • Don’t go too far away--keep an eye on them and make sure to take them out if they start smoking!
  • Let your “new” crayons cool completely and then gently ease them out of their cupcake liners
  • Use your new & improved giant crayons! 

Art: Jar lid banjo

  • Find a jar lid
  • Place some rubber bands around the lid
  • Tape a handle of some kind--a craft stick, paint stirrer, or piece of paper towel tube
  • Decorate!
  • Play your jar lid banjo! 

Thank you to our Earth Day week sponsor, D. F. Richard! 

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Make Recycled Paper Beads

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This is such an easy and fun project and is a perfect one to do during Earth Day week! 

Materials Needed:

  • Magazines or other scrap paper
  • Pencils
  • A glue stick
  • String
  • Mod Podge or DIY Mod Podge (white glue mixed with water)
    • This is optional!

Directions:

  • Prep this activity by cutting magazines or other scrap paper into long skinny triangles
    • Cut the paper vertically to make the longest triangles possible!
  • Starting with the wide end of one of your triangles, start rolling it tightly around a pencil
    • Sometimes little ones need help with this beginning step!
  • Keep rolling until you are about 2” from the end of the triangle--it should just be a skinny little strip left
  • Cover that strip with glue and continue rolling to complete your bead
  • Wiggle the bead off your pencil
  • Make more beads!
  • String your beads to make a necklace or bracelet. 

If you’d like, when you’re finished with your beads--you can paint them with Mod Podge and let them dry. This will make your beads more secure and sturdy and also make them shiny!

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Make Seed Flyers

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This week, all of our online programming will focus on the earth and being environmentally friendly! 

Try making seed flyers this week. These are fun to make and fun to throw or plant! Plus, the wildflower seeds that you use to create them will be helpful to your neighborhood pollinators. 

Materials Needed:

  • Newspaper or construction paper (torn into small pieces)
  • Water
  • A blender or food processor
  • Wildflower seeds
  • Mini muffin tin (optional)

Directions:

  • Start by tearing up your paper into small pieces
  • Put the pieces in a bowl or a couple different bowls
  • Pour water over your paper pieces and allow them to soak
    • This will take about 20 minutes with construction paper and less time with newspaper
  • Once your paper is soaked, add it to your food processor or blender
    • Process or blend until the paper is fully broken down
  • Now it’s time to make your seed bombs!
    • Smush the paper into your muffin tin or use your hands to smush the paper into spheres
    • If using the muffin tin, put a layer of paper and then sprinkle some seeds on top, then add another layer of paper on top of that and smush it all down
    • If using your hands, put some paper and seeds into your hands and then roll into balls
  • Let your seed flyers dry
    • Let them dry for a few hours in the muffin tin (if you used one)
    • Once they’re a bit dry, transfer them to a drying rack and let them fully dry overnight

Now what do you do?!

  • When seed planting season starts...plant your seed flyers! Or, as the name implies, THROW THEM and see them fly through the air! They will land and start to work their way into the soil. 

Thank you to our Earth Day week sponsor, D. F. Richard! 

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First Friends: Things that GO!

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Things That GO! Fast and Slow

This week in Baby Storytime we talked about things that GO! And moving fast and slow!

Some of the songs/rhymes this week were repeats from previous videos - but repetition is so important for this age group. When little ones hear the same songs or rhymes over and over again, it becomes extra fun for them because they start to anticipate what comes next and sing/play along. It also helps them with language acquisition and memory skills. 

Hello Song:

Hello it’s time to play
Let’s have some fun today!
Let’s clap our hands
And wiggle our toes
A hug...and a kiss...and away we go!

Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play
Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play
Hello (insert name here) it’s time to play

We’ll have so much fun...hooray! 

Open Them/Shut Them (action song)

Open them, shut them
Open them, shut them
Give a little clap-clap-clap

Open them, shut them
Open them, shut them
Lay them in your lap-lap-lap

Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them
Right up to your chin-chin-chin
Open up your little mouth…
But do not let them in! 

Sugar Babies (action rhyme)

Roll, roll sugar babies
Roll, roll sugar babies
Push! Pull! Clap-clap-clap!

“   “
Fast! Slow! Clap-clap-clap!

“   “
Up! Down! Clap-clap-clap!

My Little Red Wagon (bounce)

Bouncing up and down in my little red wagon
Bouncing up and down in my little red wagon
Bouncing up and down in my little red wagon
Won’t you be my darling?

Bouncing side to side in my little red wagon
Bouncing side to side in my little red wagon
Bouncing side to side in my little red wagon
Won’t you be my darling?

Bouncing way up high in my little red wagon
Bouncing way up high in my little red wagon
Bouncing way up high in my little red wagon
Won’t you be my darling? 

Slowly, Slowly (action rhyme/tickle)

Slowly, slowly, very slowly
Creeps the garden snail

Slowly, slowly, very slowly
Up the wooden rail

Quickly, quickly, very quickly
Runs the little mouse!

Quickly, quickly, very quickly
All around the house! 

This is the way the ladies ride (bounce)

This is the way the ladies ride
Trit-trot, trit-trot

This is the way the gentlemen ride
Jiggity-jog, jiggity-jog

This is the way the farmer rides
Hobbildy-hoy, hobbildy-hoy

And this is the way the hunter rides
Gallopy, gallopy, gallopy, gallopy

Oooooooover the fence! 

Scarf Peekaboo (prop song)

We wave our scarves together
We wave our scarves together
We wave our scarves together
Because it’s lots of fun!

We wave them up high!
We wave them down low
We wave them over you...peekaboo!
Because it’s lots of fun

We throw our scarves together
We throw our scarves together
We throw our scarves together
Because it’s lots of fun!

We throw them up high!
We throw them down low
We throw them over you...peekaboo!
Because it’s lots of fun! 

Goodbye Rhyme (action rhyme)

This is big, big, big
And this is small, small, small

This is short, short, short
And this is tall, tall, tall!

This is fast, fast, fast
And this is slow, slow, slow

This is yes, yes, yes
And this is no, no, no

This is hi, hi, hi
And this is bye, bye, bye! 

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Foil Boats Science Challenge

Foil Boat

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

Materials needed:

  • One piece of aluminum foil per young scientist/participant (roughly the size of a standard piece of paper) Make sure all participants have the same size piece of foil. 
  • Sink/tub/plastic bin with about 6 inches of water in it
  • Weights to put in your boat (pennis work great for this!)
  • Optional: other building materials
    • Cardboard, tape, straws, popsicle sticks, etc

Directions (prep):

  • Fill up your water station (sink/tub/plastic bin)
  • Prep materials for each scientist participant--make sure they all have the same materials to use for their project
  • Collect boat weights (ex. pennies)

Directions (activity):

  • Explain to your young scientist(s) that today you will be making boats! 
  • Challenge them to make a boat that they think will hold the most weight and not sink using the materials provided
  • Test your boats by putting them in the water and gradually adding weight!
  • Feel free to re-design and test again. 

The Science:

  • We are seeing two forces at work in this science experiment: gravity and buoyancy!
  • Gravity: gravity is trying to pull your boat and pennies downward towards the center of the earth
  • Buoyancy: buoyancy is pushing the boat towards the surface of the water! 
  • Your boat will float if the force of buoyancy is greater than the force of gravity. 

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Upcycled CD Scratch Art

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

This is a super cool activity that can be done with materials you have at home that you may have thrown away otherwise! 

I like this activity because it also introduces an easy way to talk to your little ones about recycling and upcycling. You could start this activity with a short discussion. What does it mean to recycle? What do we recycle in our house? 

What do you think it means to UPcycle? This word will probably be new to them! When we recycle, we take items like plastic bottles and send them to the recycling center. From there, they are melted down to become the same item again or something new and different! Did you know plastic bottles can be recycled to become fleece jackets, carpets, and sleeping bags?!

UPcycling is taking something just as it is (in our case here, a CD) and turning it into something fun and new using just our hands and our creative minds! Upcycling projects tend to become beautiful works of art. Ask your little ones if they have upcycled anything before? Or maybe projects you’ve done together as a family? Projects they may be familiar with would be things like tire swings or milk carton birdhouses. 

Enjoy exploring upcycled CD scratch art together!

Materials Needed:

  • Old CDs or DVDs (it’s fine if they’re all scratched up!)
    • Check out your desk for old computer software--the CD I used was an ancient program from the digital camera I had in college!
  • ACRYLIC paint! 
    • I know it’s not washable which is tough with little ones--but it does need to be acrylic for this project so it sticks to the CD. 
  • Items to scratch the CD with
    • Chopsticks, forks, keys, paperclips, etc. 
  • Some kind of string or ribbon if you would like to hang up your scratch art CD!

Directions:

  • Invite little ones to paint their CDs! 
    • Be sure to paint on the shiny side of the CD, not the side with writing/text. 
    • It’s best to paint the CDs one color, or blocks of color. Since the idea is to create scratch art on the CDs, if you paint pictures of flowers or dogs or houses---they will look odd after you have also added scratch art to them. 
  • This is the hard part--wait for the paint on the CDs to totally dry. 
    • If you have enough CDs, you can experiment with scratching them while they are still wet and then compare with the CDs you scratch when they are dry. 
  • Once the CDs are dry, use the scratch tools to create designs on them!
    • Add a string or ribbon and hang your CD in a window to create a beautiful suncatcher! 

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Science Magic: Dancing Popcorn!

by Meredith Brustlin, CMNH Educator

We had a great response to our last science magic video (Plastic Bag Polymers!) so decided to share another! 

Dancing Popcorn Magic

Materials Needed:

  • Clear plastic cup/tall container or clear glass cup/jar
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Unpopped popcorn
  • A spoon

Directions (prep):

  • Fill your clear container about ½ way with water
  • Put vinegar in a smaller cup
  • Put baking soda in a small cup with the spoon
  • Place unpopped popcorn in another small bowl

Directions (activity):

  • Tell your young scientists that today you are going to make some popcorn DANCE using science! 
  • Invite them to put a few spoonfuls of baking soda in the cup of water and stir until it has fully dissolved
  • Add a couple spoonfuls of popcorn to the baking soda mixture. Is it dancing yet? 
    • Make a hypothesis--what will happen when we add the vinegar?
  • Carefully & slowly add the vinegar to the baking soda solution
  • What happens?!
    • You will notice that the popcorn starts to DANCE!

The Science:

  • This science magic is created using a simple chemical reaction. When we add vinegar & baking soda together--we create carbon dioxide. 
  • You can see this at work! If you watch the popcorn carefully, you’ll notice that it gets covered in little bubbles and it bobs up and down. 
  • Those bubbles are made of carbon dioxide. As they collect on the popcorn, it lifts the popcorn up to the top of the container. Once it is at the top, some of those bubbles “pop” and bring the popcorn back down again. 
  • This up and down motion is what makes the popcorn look like it is dancing!

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