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🎩Leprechaun 🍀Land DIY 🌀Hydro Gels 💚Colored Rice 🙌🏻 Sensory Bin

Happy ☘️St. Patrick's Day! Did any of your perfect traps work? Since children did not wish to catch a leprechaun, we decided to create a sensory Leprechaun Land. 


In preparing our 🎩 Leprechaun ☘️Land, we decided to use 🌀hydrogels~ 💦water-beads, since we have had the most amazing sensorial experience with them! ( At times, I'm not sure 🙈whom am I setting up these bins for? 👧🏻👦🏼or 🙋🏼?)

DSC_0012Hydrogels can be costly though, so I bought ⚪️clear  hydrogels in bulk ~ 1 lb makes 12 gallons😱for only $10~ and then added food coloring! And, the amazing thing is that once colored, the hydrogels do not stain hands or transfer color! For example, we placed DIY blue hydrogels in water, and the water remained clear while hydrogels remained vivid blue!


Inspired by the 💚Green book, we are also making shades of GREEN with this DIY rice! Just add a little bit vinegar (we are using a bulb baster for that) and desired food coloring to your dry rice (separate each color in an individual plastic ziplock bag) - mix well, air dry and it is ready to use! 

DSC_0012Most coloring we used (such as green, seafoam, and turquoise)  are from this liquid dye set for soap. We also used a neon green (with a pointy cap) from this food coloring pack, and last one: kiwi green was from this liquid soap set.

DSC_0027Did you know that 🇮🇪 Ireland's nickname is 💚 'Emerald Isle’ because of its verdant landscapes and lush 🌱 grass? Also, the color 💚green holds a deeper religious meaning of Catholicism. Green stands for fighting for independence and freedom from 🇬🇧England and to be able to exercise free religious choice. Gold, on the other hand, as seen on the 🇮🇪Irish flag, represents Protestant ruling under the 🇬🇧British Empire, and white stands for hope.

DSC_0027Did you know that the original color associated with St. Patrick was not green, but blue! Patrick is shown wearing blue vestments in several artworks. It was not until later that the green color became associated with Ireland due to the beautiful green countryside and the above mentioned religious content. 

DSC_0097-3We ended up mixing our DIY blue and green hydrogels to create a pond for a frog to sit on a four-leafed clover. We also use these tree, which I inserted into styrofoam packing rectangles. I thereafter covered everything with our rainbow green rice.

DSC_0093About 🎩Leprechauns: According to legend, the leprechaun is a tiny elf, found only in Ireland. Most leprechauns are shoemakers to the Fairies, who pay them gold for their work. The leprechauns, or “little people,” store their gold in pots and often bury one “at the end of the rainbow.” Since leprechauns love more than anything to play tricks, this may just be another one. The gold at the end of the rainbow has not been discovered yet! But if you find a leprechaun and pick him up, he must tell you where his gold is hidden. That is leprechaun law. So look for leprechauns in Ireland near clear springs of water, or close to large rock formations, or at the end of a rainbow. Listen for the sound of tiny hammers tapping, or elfin pipes piping, as soft voices to sing a fairy song. And maybe, just maybe, you will find the leprechauns’ pot of gold!

DSC_0100We also experimented with setting up a pond in a shallow dish.

DSC_0100Which set up do you like better?

DSC_0025 copyAnd, by the way, a Leprechaun ended up visiting us for a quick bite after all. Children were super 😜 excited to see that he ate all the nuts we left out for him and drank some of his favorite ❤️️dandelion 🍵tea ... though spilling most of the tea ...He also left gold dusted 👣 footprints all over and two gold coins. We did not catch him on camera though 😬 leprechauns are quick, shrewd and camera-shy❌📸.  Have you been 🍀 lucky catching a Leprechaun?

See here our entire unit round-up in a post ☘️St. Patrick's Day Inspired Unit Study.

🐦Birds 🌳Forest Habitat DIY ♻️Recycled 🚽Toilet Paper Craft with 🔢Math Twist

We are longing for Spring, so today, we are upcycling by making a DIY Bird forest habitat craft with recycled toilet and towel paper rolls. As a base, we are using a white iPad packing insert. 

DSC_0026We are also using marbles, stones, moss and other finds we have collected during our nature walks.

DSC_0031Use the exactor knife to cut the holes out.

To make our forest, we painted some trees with white poster paint to resemble birch trees. To make other types of deciduous trees, Adrian mixed the red and green washable finger paints to make the color brown. (He loved mixing colors ~ we ended up mixing many more others! Hooray to sensorial color exploration!)DSC_0039For our forest habitat, we are using backyard birds including a woodpecker, indigo bunting, red cardinal,  warbler, and a blue jay.DSC_0039 To finish the birch trees, I used a black Sharpie and then applied another coat of white paint to some parts.
DSC_0039Many birds migrate as the weather changes to access a greater variety of food and have an ideal habitat for nesting, but many backyard birds stay around all year long. They are often known as resident birds.DSC_0052We also talked about spring and birds' Nesting Cycle. More than 700 bird species breed in North America, and the variations in their behaviors are fascinatingly complex. Different species find mates, build nests, lay eggs, and raise their young chicks in incredibly different ways. Did you know that throughout the year, most birds use day length to tell what season it is? When the number of hours of daylight exceeds a certain critical level, physiological changes are triggered in birds which prepare them to breed. (Read more here.)DSC_0045  In forests, tree holes are created either by woodpeckers or more slowly as trees age and begin to decay. Birds like owls, songbirds, and parrots make homes in the holes of trees because they offer safe environments for sleeping, reproduction and raising young chicks.DSC_0035We commonly see red cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers in our backyard. We barely see Yellow Wabler though. Actually, Prothonotary Warbler, unlike other warblers, makes its nest in tree holes within the southern swamplands. This is probably because the normal warbler nesting spot of dense bushes is scarce.

DSC_0052Also, add a math twist and offer your child to add or subtract birds as they fly in or out the tree holes.
DSC_0052We also referred to these bird cards to discover the diversity of birds across North America.

For more on birds, see here our 🐦Bird Unit Study 📚Books and Materials.

🌈Rainbow Alphabet 🔡Lower to 🔠Upper Case Matching

To continue with our rainbow theme, I made this DIY Alphabet matching activity. First, I drew a rainbow using these pastels. Then I laminated the rainbow painting since the pastels do transfer to hands. 

DSC_0093I wrote with this Sharpie upper and lower case alphabet on these dot sticker sheets. 

I then arranged twenty-six of these self-adhesive magnets on the rainbow to represent the upper case letters, securing them to the rainbow by removing the backs.
DSC_0093To make sure that the upper and lower case magnets attack, stick the upper case dot sticker to the "face" of the magnet already secured to the rainbow.

DSC_0093With lower case letter magnets you will NOT be removing the backs, but rather placing a lower case letter sticker ON the back, which is white and will remain on the magnet. This will ensure that lower and upper case magnets will attack.
DSC_0100Offer your child to match the loose lower case magnets to the upper case magnets already adhered to the rainbow.
DSC_0100This language matching activity is also a great fine motor and hand-eye coordination exercise.

DSC_0100  In the process, the child also practices color recognition and rainbow color sequencing since the upper and lower case of the same letter will have matching colors.
DSC_0100Once the child completes the activity, offer to "run" on the rainbow singing the ABC song. 
DSC_0100Magnets are great since this assures you will not have tiny dot letters all around the house!.

For more on rainbows, see here our ☘️St Patrick's Day Kids Activities.

For some hands-on fun science experiments on "walking water" and capillary action, see links below:

DSC_0067See here 💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water).


IMG_0549Also, see here 🖌Markers ☕Coffee Filters 🌈Rainbow Walking 💦Water ⌛️Timelapse Kids ⚗️Science Capillary Action.

🖌Markers ☕Coffee Filters 🌈Rainbow Walking 💦Water ⌛️Timelapse Kids ⚗️Science Capillary Action

Today, we are using materials you probably have at your home such as ☕️coffee filters and markers to conduct this amazing chromatography tie-dye color mixing walking 🌈 rainbow experiment! 


What you will need:

  • white coffee filters,
  • little glass jars, shot glasses or small drinking cups,
  • markers in rainbow colors (do not use Sharpies, crayons, pencils, solid tempera paint ~ trust me, we tried it all! only these type worked for us),
  • water (see tips 👇🏻 below). 

DSC_0001Invite your child to draw a large circle at a base of a coffee filter. 
DSC_0001Do the tracing over scrap paper or a newspaper as the markers bleed through.
DSC_0001By tracing just the base-circle,  your marker will not bleed too fast otherwise turning the whole filter one color instead of tie-dye!   DSC_0017Fill glasses with a little bit of water (about an inch).
DSC_0017 The way you fold is important❗️Fold your coffee filters in half. 
DSC_0017Fold them in half again.
DSC_0017Fold each filter for the third time ~this will expose the white un-markered center at the point.DSC_0024Insert folded filters into jars/shot glasses.DSC_0028For tie-dye effect, make sure that only the tip of filters is touching the water ❗️DSC_0028
The water travels fast ~ within few minutes, you will be seeing the result of the process called capillary action!DSC_0028 
Capillary action is a process during which liquid, like water, moves up into a material with a lot of small holes (like paper ~ coffee filter).

DSC_0051Capillary action happens when three forces called cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension work together.


In other words, capillary action occurs because water molecules bond together due to forces of cohesion and adhesion as well as stick to other substances such as paper (coffee filters). 

DSC_0051The surface tension acts to hold the surface intact. Capillary action occurs when the adhesion to the surface material is stronger than the cohesive forces between the water molecules.  DSC_0069 Adhesion of water to the surface of the material (coffee filters) will cause an upward force on the liquid (water). Notice, that the remaining (non-absorbed) water in glass jars remains clear! 

DSC_0074   A voila! A beautiful 🌈rainbow! DSC_0074  ⌛️30 minutes later ~ do you see the tie-dye effect!
DSC_0074Purple was Julia's favorite, while blue was Adrian's choice! DSC_0074

Once the capillary action is completed (30-40 minutes), take the filters out of the water and let them dry.
DSC_0074I suggest air drying filters first until the colors settle (clothespins do the trick!). Otherwise, the color from filters will transfer to the drying surface. After about ten minutes, we had rainbow coffee filters to create a craft with!

DSC_0097What to do with these beautiful rainbow filters? What about a rainbow flower! Just fold each filter from the center, crinkle it individually and hold all the filters together!

DSC_0074Or, insert a green pipe cleaner at the center of a filter, threading it through, then thread the next filter, till all filters are on a pipe cleaner ~ tie the tip of the pipe cleaner in the center and crinkle the filters up.
Rainbow flower! This can make a perfect💐Mother's Day🎁Gift too!

DSC_0028 We did a similar flower craft when Adrian, as a tribute to Van Gogh's Birthday, made 12 🌻Sunflowers Tissue Paper Recycled Cardboard Roll Paper-Mache Craft (see 📽️ a video of him making it here).

For more on capillary action, see here 💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water).

For more on color-mixing, please see here "🎨Painting with 🌈Colored Vinegar on Baking Soda Science Experiment 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇," and here " 👔 Father's Day🎈Balloon Color-mixing DIY Craft (Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 Activities 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."

For more on science experiments, see here a video-post "Float or Sink❓Tangerine 🍊 Science Experiment (Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."

Also, see here "Walnut Shell ⛵Sailboats 💦Water Science Experiment (Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."

And here a video 🌋 Erupting Volcano Science Experiment 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇.

❤️Valentines ✨Glitter Sensory 🎁Bottle ~ Calming Jar

This glitter sensory calming bottle can make a perfect Valentine's 💝gift! It is sensorily therapeutical and can be used as a mindful meditational tool for children. This Valentine's DIY craft is super easy to make, and the best part is that children can personalize their Sensory ~ Discovery bottles with a certain glitter color combination or the objects they choose to place inside. 


What you need to make this ❤️Valentines ✨Glitter Sensory Bottle:

  • a  bottle ~ make sure it does not leak (ideally, you would want something tall),
  • clear glue (buy here),
  • glitter (buy here),
  • we are using plastic hearts from a craft store; 
  • a glue gun to secure the cap to the bottle.

DSC_0030Fill the bottle with clear glue about 3/4. Add glitter and hearts.
DSC_0030Make sure you leave space to add water, otherwise, the substance will be too thick.

Note: we originally filled the bottle 3/4 with glue, and although right after we made it, it worked fine, the next day, the substance was too thick. I suggest the best ratio is: fill 1/2 glue + 1/2 water.
DSC_0038Fill the rest of the bottle with hot water (hot will help dissolve the glue). The higher the water to glue ratio, the more freely would the objects/hearts float in the glue/water substance. 

DSC_0039Shake ~ observe ~foocus! "As the bottle clears, so does the mind."

A DIY Calm Down Sensory bottle can help children with sensory sensitivities or can help calm a child when the emotions become overwhelming. Focusing on the objects in the calm down jar helps a child focus the attention and calm down, being an excellent meditation technique for children. 

DSC_0039Besides this red ❤️Valentine's sensory bottle we made as a🎁gift for Daddy, we ended up with two more bottles: Adrian decided to make one for Julia (pink) and one for himself (blue) as Valentine's💝gifts.

DSC_0043I painted tops of jars: Adrian's in blue & Julia's in pink, sprinkling some glitter on top. 


Besides stimulating the child sensorily, these Glitter Jars are a great meditational tool to quiet the mind, gather thoughts, find peace and inner balance, while watching the glitter swirl around and around. 

DSC_0004These sensory bottles can also make a perfect ❤️Valentine 's🎁gift.

DSC_0043-3Using a glue gun, I secured ribbon & a bow to the top of the bottle, making it a complete gift.
DSC_0043-3Happy ❤️Valentine's Day! Let your days be filled with ❤️LOVE!

We made a similar jar ~ see here a post DIY ☮️ Mindful ✨Glitter Calming Jar •Meditation 📿Tool for Kids.

For more on Valentines Day activities, see here ❤️Valentine's Inspired Unit Study.