World Play Day - 28 May - Activity 7

Okay guys, Monday is behind us and it is on to better and brighter things :)  We are calling today 'Maker Day" and as the title says, it is all about making.  After all of the sensory play activities, I thought a post involving calming activities would be in order.

Remember that playing for children can take many guises, it can mean physical activity, arts and crafts, sensory play, imitative play, board games, organised play, sports, etc. Play is all about making sense of the world, learning and practicing new skills, and having fun, so children can help make the following objects, (which will help boost their feelings of self esteem), as well as play with the objects (fun).  Having mom and dad involved in making and playing with the objects is an extra bonus.

Using recyclable goods - inexpensive; making a new toy - bonus; spending time with your child - priceless!  Cheesy, I know.

I have 3 activities for today - all the much cheaper versions of store bought toys, and all involving recycling - so you can all feel good about doing your bit for the economy AND for the planet.

1. SNOW GLOBES

Snow Globe

What you need:

  • A small jar (think purity jars)
  • Some glitter, or crushed egg shells if you really want it to look like snow
  • A small toy to put in your snow globe, (think fairies, monopoly houses, plastic animals, Christmas decorations, etc)
  • Water
  • Glycerin or baby oil
  • Super glue
  • A small laminated photo of your child (optional)
  • Snow Globe 2

What to do:

  • Glue your object/s to the lid of the jar in any way you want
  • Fill the jar just over half way with water
  • Add glycerin until nearly full (you need to leave some space for the air bubble)
  • Add your glitter or crushed egg shells
  • Screw the lid on tightly and turn upside down
  • Shake to see the snow fall

2. LAVA LAMPS

Lava Lamp

What you need:

  • Clear jar with lid
  • Water
  • Food coloring - (This can be an experiment all in it's own as your child figures out how many drops of each coloring to get the right hues. You can also try setting up several jars and do a different color in each, creating a rainbow symphony of lava lamps - fun)
  • Glitter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Coarse salt (the bigger the granules the better)

What to do:

  • Fill the jar three-quarters full of water. 
  • Add drops of food coloring until you like the color you see. A few drops go a long way! 
  • Sprinkle in glitter for extra sparkle. 
  • Fill the jar almost to the top with vegetable oil and let the mixture separate. 
  • Pour salt into the jar until you see the cool lava lamp effect. 
  • When the bubbles stop, add more salt to see it again. 
  • Shine a torch behind the jar, or place in a sunny windowsill to watch your lava lamp really glow!

What happens:

  • To make your amazing lava bubbles, sprinkle your coarse salt over the surface of the oil. It will magically begin to sink in great blobs and hang at the bottom for a moment before wobbling back up. To keep your lava roiling, you'll need to sprinkle more salt when the bubbles are diminishing.
  • So, what's going on here? The salt makes the oil heavy and drags it to the bottom of the jar of water. There, the salt dissolves and the oil is released to make its way back to the top again! You'll notice a layer of salt after a while on the bottom of the jar. If you want your lava lamp to last for a while, you'll need to sprinkle just enough salt to make the oil sink, not throw in great handfuls, since this can fill your jar up fast. Not to mention you'll run out of salt.
  • To make your lava lamp really shine, set it in a sunny window or in front of a lamp or flashlight. The light will catch on the moving oil for a fun effect. Kids will love playing with this novel experiment for quite some time, but be careful to do this activity in a waterproof area, such as the kitchen, since oil can be hard to get out of fabric and carpets.
  • Talk about concepts like solubility, density, and colour.

3. GLITTER BOTTLE

Glitter Jar

What you need:

  • An empty plastic bottle or glass jar (the size and shape and material is completely up to you, and depending on who you are making it for)
  • A tube or two of glitter glue
  • Some glitter (different colour to the glitter glue)
  • Water

What to do:

  • Fill the bottle with water
  • Squeeze out the tube of glitter glue into it and shake vigorously until it is all dissolved
  • Add a little extra glitter 
  • Glue the lid onto your bottle to prevent spills
  • Shake really well to mix completely

What happens:

  • Now shake your bottle and watch the glitter sink slowly to the bottom, it is very relaxing.
  • Shake and place on a sunny windowsill or in front of a lamp or torch for added effect.

All three of these objects are wonderful for calming kids down.  There is something mesmerizing about watching the glitter float, or the oil bubbles move up and down.  The glitter bottle works well for babies to stimulate crawling, (roll it around the floor), and to encourage crawling. Toddlers also enjoy watching the movement and it works well as part of a calming routine before bed time or nap time.

Enjoy the calm and quiet of this blog post, because tomorrow we get messy again. So until then, have fun playing.

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