Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Water Week Update #2


Lake Placid Trail Hike

This morning we headed over to the State Park near our house for a "hike" around the lake. We love this park because it is mostly shaded and has fairly short loop trails. We met up with several friends to walk around the lake. I love taking M out to actual parks (as opposed to playgrounds or more manicured parks) because there are so many learning opportunities in nature. For instance, check out this crazy insect we found on the water fountain as we were getting ready to start (which turns out to be a male stag beetle)!
We also watched the ducks and geese swim around the pond (and follow us hoping for a snack), found a centipede, several butterflies, an inch worm, spiders, and lots of mushrooms. We talked about how this lake was man-made, and had a dam at one side to control the water levels. She loved watching the water flow over the back side of the dam. We had a great time, and we even had an impromptu learning session about things that sink and float when she decided to throw rocks, sticks and leaves into the water.

 Sink or Float?

M had so much fun throwing things in the water at the lake, so I decided to fill up her baby pool and give her several toys to play with.

On Sunday we had cut up one of the large pool noodles into several pieces. M is really interested in measuring things lately, so I let her help me use the tape measure to figure out how big to cut the pieces.


I marked the measurements (I made several 1-inch and 2-inch pieces, a couple of 3-inch pieces, and left one long 24-inch piece) and cut them with a serrated kitchen knife.

We took all of the toys out to the pool (I set it up on the porch so we would be in the shade). The idea was to give M two toys at a time, one that would sink and one that would float, and see if she could guess which was which. She wasn't interested in that game, so I just went with it and watched her throw all of the items into the pool together.

We had a mini music lesson when she realized she could use the straws as drum sticks. She moved from item to item to see what made the best drum sound.

I showed her how she could use some of the containers as boats to fill them with objects that would normally sink. She thought it was fun to fill the "boats" with water until they sank.

Ice Painting

When she got tired of the pool, I brought out the paint ice cubes we made on Sunday. We made these last summer and she really enjoyed them, so I was excited to try them again. Last time I didn't put popsicle sticks in them and M's hands were cold and messy by the end, so I made sure to add them this time. I have seen the directions for this activity on several blogs. Some use paint to color the ice, others use food coloring or even Kool-Aid. We decided to try some with paint and some with food coloring to decide which we liked better.

  • Assemble your materials: ice cube tray, water, washable paint and/or food coloring, popsicle sticks, scissors (I cut each popsicle stick in half to make shorter "handles" for the paints)
  • Fill the ice cube tray with water, then add a small amount of paint or food coloring and mix until it is evenly distributed.
  • Place the ice cube tray in the freezer for about 30 minutes, then add half a popsicle stick for each color.
I used masking tape to secure a large coloring book page and a couple of collage boards to the ground. I asked M to put the ice paints back in the tray when she was finished with each one, but we made a pretty big mess anyway. The good news - everything cleaned up really easily with a quick spray of the hose.

M loved the bright colors, and had a lot of fun mixing the paints. It was very hot outside, so the paints were melting, but that actually made it easier to paint (and we got to talk about melting!). We liked the paints made with food coloring better than the actual paint - I think the food coloring stayed dissolved better in the water.

We definitely should have ended the afternoon with this activity, but I was feeling ambitious, so we tried to tackle one more...

Chalk Paint

I found directions to make sidewalk chalk paint, and since M loves chalk and paint, I thought this would be the perfect activity for her! We took the opportunity to practice measuring again - she loves to measure! We mixed 1/3 cup of cornstarch with some food coloring (neon pink and blue), and then added 1/3 cup of water. It was a little hard to mix, but it came out well. I should have gotten the foam brushes out, but the regular paintbrushes were more accessible, so we went with those instead. As I said, M was really done at this point, and she decided to paint her foot and leg instead of the ground. When I realized the food coloring was staining her skin, we pulled out the hose and packed it up for the day. M was very helpful with hosing everything down - again, this was very easy to clean up (everything except her skin, that is).

We cleaned up, went inside, and wrapped up the day by watching The Little Mermaid. M fell asleep on the couch until it was time for dinner.

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