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.

Ocean Sensory Tub

Pretend play is a great way to teach and learn about all sorts of things. This started out as an activity to keep him busy while I answered emails and needed a few minutes , water always keeps him busy and happy. I was so pleased when he started asking questions about what the animals ate. I got a few emails answered but I ended up googling all the specifics about what each of the animals ate and on the floor playing in no time. It was more fun than answering emails anyway!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large shallow plastic container, some sea animals, some decorative pebbles, a few towels for your floor, a pitcher and some water.
  2. Start by laying out our towels and putting your container on top.
  3. Put some water in your pitcher and pour it in.
  4. Add some pebbles, you can use sand too but if you want easy clean up stick to glass pebbles.
  5. Add your animals.
  6. Let the learning happen! Have some scoops on hand if they just want to scoop and pour the water.

Books

“Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea” by Jan Peck is about a little boy swimming in the “deep” looking for treasure. Along the way he encounters different sea animals and greets and says good bye to each before swimming away on his treasure hunt. The cute kicker is that all along the little boy is really in his bath tub and the animals are just toys. I liked the twist and so did my son who then requested a laundry basket to play bath, funny how he didn’t actually want a bath… a mom can dream!

” Baby Beluga” by Raffi is a classic children’s song cleverly illustrated into a beautiful book. I grew up on Raffi and am still shocked when moms don’t know who he is, if he is new to you go to your library and check out one of his cds! My son loves this book, there are so many sea creatures to point out, it’s great for toddlers!

“Beach Party” by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback reminds me of “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle , and that comparison is a compliment. This large board book is a fun and cute way to introduce toddlers to movement as well as animals you find or want to avoid at the beach. The reader is asked how they want to walk today then they see how each animal moves. This would be a fun read for a circle time where kids could get up and move!