Real Life Angry Birds

by Kim

My house has been taken over with Angry Bird fever (the app, that is). I have it on my iPod, my husband has it on his iPad and his smartphone. It was bound to happen that my son caught the fever, as well. He has many educational apps on my iPod that he plays, but he wondered over to Angry Birds and got stuck.

So I decided to make it come to life, sort of. I grabbed various manipulatives that we have at our house.

I also grabbed some farm animal toys (to take the place of the green pigs).

Then I grabbed a toy to use in place of the Angry Birds (Mr. Potato Head Spuds worked great).

We created a scene constructed of different building materials.

I talked with my son about the differences between them. We discussed “flimsy” and “sturdy”. We also talked about chain reactions.

My son let the birds potatoes fly. The target was annihilated.

He made his own structure all by himself. He told me all about why he put animals in certain places. Some got their spots to protect themselves, while others were put there to use a throw (to get only one animal, instead of multiples). He talked about spots he wanted to hit that could cause a chain reaction, too.

I was so happy! He was listening. He was learning. He used his logic to make a video game come to life. He now asks to play his real life version more often than the app version.

I have to admit, the app version is a lot easier to clean up. ;-)

Do you let your kids play on your iPod/iPad/smartphone?

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Snow Science!

We were actually snowed in a few weeks back but considering my Twitter stream was packed with tweets about snow days I thought I’d  better post this now while so many of you have snow ( It can also be done with ice if you are short on snow). My son loved this and it’s the type of activity that adjusts seamlessly to different ages and abilities.The goal is to answer the question : Where does snow melt the fastest in your house? And why?

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some small bowls or containers, a stop watch or clock,a measuring cup,  large piece of paper, and marker.
  2. Start by making a chart with 4 columns : Container #, Place, Prediction, Result. If your child can help write encourage them to.
  3. Number your containers, decide where you will place them and make your time predictions. I had my son go to each room and think about how long it would take the based on how warm each was.
  4. Go outside and gather some snow! Don’t forget to put about the same amount in each container .
  5. Put them in different spots around your house.
  6. Start the timer.
  7. Enter your results.
  8. Discuss the results. It was cold in our garage it wasn’t until bedtime that the snow was all water!  Since doing this a few weeks ago my son has made many mentions about our cold garage.

Have a little one not ready for this yet? Try ice cube painting .

Wrecking Ball Science!

by Kim

I don’t think it is a secret how much I love science. I love teaching my kids about science, without telling them it’s science. Preschoolers are so much fun to watch when they experiment and learn. We did this fun activity on a recent rainy day that taught my kids about spacial relations and physics, but it was disguised as a wrecking ball.

Here is what you will need: some yarn, an empty key ring, a ball, masking tape, and some blocks.

First, tape the key ring to a door frame using the masking tape. You want to only use masking tape because any other tape may damage paint or stained wood.

Next wrap the ball with the yarn. Any ball will do.

Have your child build a structure with the blocks. You do not have to use blocks. Empty yogurt or butter containers work great, so do food storage containers.

Thread the yarn through the key ring.

Have your child hold the end of the yarn in one hand and the ball in the other. Show them how they can adjust the height by pulling or letting go of the yarn. For the younger two kids I held the non-ball end for them.

Now your child can let loose and do some demolition!

We had a neat time talking about how we needed to pull it to make it higher and standing further back to make the ball hit the building harder. It was so exciting to hear my son point these things out. I would ask how we could hit the blocks at the very bottom and he would tell me how he thought it could be done. So I told him to test it out.

It was a good time for everyone. Nothing says fun like demolition. :-)

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Gumball Run!

by Kim

I saw this idea originally here on mumma made it and have been wanting to do it ever since. We have had thunderstorms for a few days so what a perfect opportunity to try it out.

All you will need are pool noodles, gumballs, and a serrated knife.

I cut the pool noodles into different lengths and then cut them in half. You can use scissors for this, but a serrated knife made it so easy (be careful, though).

I set up a system of the “slides” on the furniture. My kids were tickled pink.

I had them guess whether the gumball was going to make it to the bottom or not. This time it didn’t make it.

We played around with a few different ways of putting the slides and connecting them. I challenged Cole to make a system using at least 3 different colors. Here is what he very meticulously made.

He was hoping the gumball would shoot up at the end and into his mouth. You and I know that it didn’t do that, but didn’t understand why. So I had the opportunity to explain (in preschooler terms) about speed, force, and gravity.

We also set up slides next to each other to race. We wondered if certain colors would go faster than others. We had to test it out and talked about why they went equally fast.

We tested out whether the incline would make a difference on how fast it went. My son was really into trying all sorts of angles. I think we did this experiment at least 20 times on different pieces of furniture.

While my daughter didn’t really get into the hypothesis and explaining part, she loved participating in the testing. She would squeal as the gumballs went shooting down the slides.

This can easily be modified using a marble, but I know my toddler and I know she would put it in her mouth. So I opted for gumballs. If I know it is going in her mouth I might as well use something that is meant to be there.

While gumballs are a suitable choice for preschoolers with supervision, they are choking hazards for under 3 years of age. My house has gumballs often (thanks for the gumball machine Grandma) and my children are very familiar with them. I was very confident doing this activity with my daughter. You know your children and if you are not comfortable doing this with them, it is better not to.

This activity was a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of different science concepts with my preschooler. I took advantage of the different colors of pool noodles and gumballs and showed them to my toddler. Overall it was a great activity for both age levels. We had a lot of fun doing it.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Leaf Scrapbook

Leaf Scrapbook

Today’s post is from contributing writer Katy Bird, who reminds us just how simple it can be to explore science and  the natural world around us.  Get some fresh air, and explore with your child, even if your adventure goes no further than your own backyard.
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We were recently studying plants and so we decided to make a leaf scrapbook.  This activity was a huge hit and I think it could be adapted for children of almost any ability level.
First you take a walk–we just went around the yard, but you could go further if you need/want to.
Leaf Craft
Collect leaves–try to collect leaves from plants that you recognize.  This was pretty easy for us since my husband is a gardening nut, but you can always do a little online research if you needed.
Leaf Craft
Create a Leaf Scrapbook.  Paste a leaf on each page of your scrapbook and then label each with its name.
Leaf Scrapbook
Allow your child to do as much of the creating as they are capable. Take time to go over your scrapbook with your child–talk about color, size, and texture.
I ended up laminating Charlie’s cards because he LOVES to put things in his mouth and I was afraid he might eat one of the leaves!  This could work just as well with note cards or heavy paper.  I especially like this activity because it gets kids started on the basics of science in a way that is fun and interactive.

You could do this activity with flowers as well.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.