Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flubber Recipe

As promised, here is the recipe for making flubber.

Description: Flubber is another great sensory activity for young and old alike. Mamas love it because it is not too messy. And kids love it because it is fun to stretch, mold, roll, and bounce. Flubber has the unique properties of stretching and flowing under low stress and breaking under higher stress. The simple act of pinching, rolling, stretching and pulling of this substance by children is a wonderful tool for fine motor development. Activities like this will make it easier for your child to learn to hold a pencil and write later on. So it is fun and useful all at the same time! How can you beat that?!

Warnings:
1) Unlike feelie goop, flubber is not safe to eat. Be sure to watch children very closely to make sure they don't put it in their mouths. Also, wash hands after handling flubber.
2) Because of the food coloring, flubber may stain carpet or clothes.
3) Do not put flubber in your hair! ;)

Materials Needed:
  • 1 cup of glue (Elmer's seems to work the best)
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp 20 Mule Team Borox (available in the laundry aisle of the grocery store)
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • Food Coloring
  • Large Container
  • Small Container
  • Plastic Tablecloth (or newspapers) to protect workspace
  • Tools to explore flubber with (cookie cutters, toy scissors, molds, plastic stacking cups, etc.)

Instructions:
  1. In a large container mix the warm water and the glue together until smooth.
  2. In a separate smaller container, mix the borax and the cold water.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring to the smaller container.
  4. Carefully and slowly pour the contents of the smaller container into the larger container.
  5. Gently lift and and turn the mixture until only about a tablespoon of liquid is left. (Flubber will be sticky for a moment or two.)
  6. Let excess liquid drip off, and your flubber will be ready!
Process:
Lay down a plastic table cloth onto the floor to keep flubber out of the carpet. Introduce the flubber to the children. Explore the substance with the children. Attempt to stretch the material and talk about what happens. Roll the flubber into a small ball with your fingers. Notice how the flubber keeps it safe. Now, try to bounce the ball! Ooze the flubber into the various stacking cups. Use your fingers to stuff the flubber into a mold. Now remove the flubber from the mold and notice how it keeps its shape.
Science behind Flubber:
Like feelie goop, flubber is another example of a non-newtonian substance. (Specifically a maxwell solid.) Maxwell solids are substances that exhibit both elasticity and viscosity. Viscosity simply refers to the resistance of a substance to flow. For example water would have a lower viscosity than molasses or honey.

To read more about the science of flubber, check out this site here.




Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tot School: Week 4

(Sophia is 16 months and Marcus is 32 months)
Tot School
What is Tot School? Well...don't let the name fool you. Tot School isn't school at all! It is just a fun time spent playing and learning with my two tots.


Here is a recap on what we did this past week.



Sorting By Shape:
Marcus likes to ask me if he can play a " new game". So I am often time racking my brain trying to think of a new game he can play. Here is a game I put together for him where he could work on sorting by shape.

I laid out three 1/2" beads in three different shapes into a divided wooden container.

Then I gave him a bowl full of beads (in various colors) and had him sort by shape. Marcus did this without any problems or hesitation. (Even though he has only sorted by color before.) Also, while he did this, he pretended that the beads were bouncing out of the bowl into their "houses".




Animal Classification Game:
Most of our learning and play is completely spontaneous. I hardly ever plan things for us to learn or do. However, any play we do seems to bring about all sorts of learning. It is so neat to see.

For example, this week we went to visit our Nana. (Nana is my mama.) Nana's house has a gazebo down by a lake that has all sorts of fun animal toys for the kids to play with. The kids naturally took the animals and began to pretend with them. We learned so much from this simple play time. Sophia beefed up her language and communication skills while she practiced learning and saying the names of the different animals. She also practiced making their sounds. She would also tell me that the Elephant is "BIG" and stretch her arms up to the sky. Also through this dramatic play, Marcus learned where different animals live and what they eat. Marcus also practiced sorting and classifying different animals while we played "zoo". For example, one time we sorted the animals by type. (All of the zebras go in this "cage". All of the lions go here. etc. etc.) The next time we sorted the animals by where they live. (All of the birds go here. All of the ocean animals go here. etc. etc.)




Dress Up:
Sophia is also very into dressing up right now. Marcus never did this at her age. Whenever she finds a necklace for example, she will always want to put it on.

She also tried on Mama's shoes:

We also dressed up and played pirates at Nana's house.

Nana's house also has a pirate fort down by the lake for the kids to play in. It is a swing set/fort completely decorated in a pirate theme. It is also full of various pirate accessories like hats, swords, hooks, and eye patches for the kids to dress up in. AND...the pirate fort has a treasure chest full of plastic necklaces for Sophia to try on. It is a pirate lovers dream. The kids had fun playing pirates, singing pirate songs. Then, we worked on some gross motor skills by having fun running up and down the hill at Nana's house.



Playing with Blocks:
We had our giant cardboard blocks out this week. They are a great open-ended toy and the kids did so many things with them.

On one day I taught Marcus how to build a simple bridge with the blocks.

He had fun walking his dinosaurs through the bridge.

Another time he lined his blocks up in a row creating a wall of a building.

Next, after he built his "wall", he pretended that he was spiderman walking up the building. (The blue blocks were evidently his "web hands".)



After a while he got out his walking dinosaur and pretended that it was a dragon coming to knock down his building. Uh-Oh! Here comes the dragon!

But don't worry! Spiderman saved everyone and knocked over the scary dragon with his "web hands".




Playing Flubber and Dough: Stretching, Rolling, Pinching, and Bouncing:
Flubber-
At a local science museum we played with a really neat substance called flubber. (Recipe to come soon! Keep checking back!)

Flubber is a very strange substance that can be bounced, stretched, and molded. Here Marcus presses the flubber into a sail boat mold.

Here Sophia experiments using a cookie cutter on flubber.

We also learned not to put flubber into your hair! Marcus did this, and Sophia copied him immediately.



On another day Marcus asked to get the play-doh out.

Here Sophia puts the dough into a builder-bob mold.

Marcus practiced cutting the play-doh with scissors. (He still uses two hands to cut. I don't try to correct him though because that just seems to make him want to stop trying.)

We learned colors by talking about the dough. We said things like, "Hand me that blue play-doh please." or "Hey, lets put all of the red play-doh in this can."

Marcus pretended to make me play-doh spaghetti. He served it up to me on a play-doh can lid for a plate. Ah! A favorite meal for preschoolers to serve for generations.

Sophia practiced pinching and pulling the dough. All great for her fine motor development.



Craft Day:
On another day we went to a craft time at Sprout Soup. The craft was to make some very cute little puppets out of Popsicle sticks. Neither kid was very interested in actually doing the craft...BUT, we had lots of fun playing with our friends. Oh well! Maybe next time!



Fun at COSI:
As I mentioned before, we went to a local science museum for kids called COSI. COSI was recently voted the number 1 science center for kids in the US...AND...the number 1 indoor playspace for kids in the US. It really is a great place to bring little tots too. We always have so much fun and learn so much.

Sophia learned about big and small as she experimented dropping various sized balls down this funnel.

We climbed all over their HUGE facility. Here is Sophia going down a slide.

"Peak-a-Boo Mommy! I see you!"

Sophia was amazed when she was able to float a ball over a stream of air coming out of the floor.

Marcus pretended to be a builder working with tools in a little play house they have set up there.

Sophia cooked for mommy in the play kitchen.

More cooking. This was great because it really helped increase her vocabulary as we talked about what tools she needed to cook with.

Marcus found two eagle puppets over in the puppet area and brought them over to the kitchen area. He pretended to be a daddy eagle making eggs for his baby eagle. (OH...how ironic! Bird eating eggs!) Here is the daddy eagle cooking the eggs:

And here is the baby eagle waiting for his breakfast.

Later Marcus walked throughout the entire area looking for these giant oval balls. He said they were his eggs.

He put them in this large nest and brought out a bunch of other birds to live there with him.

Then he found some baby bird nests that he loved. He carried those around for a good part of the day. Here he is building a bed for the baby birds using large foam blocks.

Next he drove the baby birds around in the ambulance.






Favorites of the Week:

Fun with Glasses-
I caught Marcus trying on my glasses. (Note to self: Marcus can now reach things off of the middle of counter. Nothing is safe!)

On another day Sophia and I had on our giant sunglasses together.


Sophia cracks herself up!
Sophia thought she was very funny holding the fork in her mouth like this! She was just laughing and laughing at herself. (Which of course made us laugh!)


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