Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paper Magic: Origami Basket & Balloon

O is a flower fanatic. She loves picking lawn bouquets and often tries to stretch into neighbourhood gardens!
When we're in the car or bus, she will pine out the window to stop for a special flower she has not seen before or a field of blooms that needs attention!
Most of these end up tossed into my bag as she has no other place to hold them until we get home.

We decided that the origami basket would be a decent solution; light, fold-able and easy to transport on the field. A book we found at the library called Origami for Children http://www.amazon.ca/Origami-Children-Book-Paper-Projects/dp/1906525803 had a tutorial for baskets. O doesn't like long stems, so this mini solution works.
Last year we made Fairy Necklaces http://mamadrool.blogspot.ca/2014/10/fairy-jewlery.html that still hang from our back door, but these are very tiny and can only hold the heads of a few flowers.

Baby C was waiting patiently for her present, once O received her Flower Basket.
After a good 20 minutes, I was able to 'whip up' this complicated Origami Balloon http://alombredumarronnier.blogspot.ca/2012/01/origami-les-ballons-fusen.html, which took Baby C about two seconds to return it to it's original flat sheet;)

Vegan Bites: Sticky Mango Rice

If you love all things island, this is the rice pudding for you!
Anytime we ate at 'Simply Thai' in Shanghai http://simplythai.com.cn/, I did dessert for dinner and dessert, with their 'Sago & Coconut Pudding'.
This 'Sticky Mango Rice' was the next best thing, but lacked the lovely crunch and pandan leaves!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fibonacci Art Dots

Recently, 'What We Do All Day' has become one of my go-to sites. Since her son is particularly fond of mathematics, she is in tune to making every lesson math (and often science) related. This 'Fibonacci Art Project' got my attention http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/01/fibonacci-art-project.html but I wanted to make it user-friendly for O & Baby C.
First I had to study a bit myself (another bonus of homeschooling is parent often becomes the student!)

Protractor Play

I re-introduced the protractor set, complete with sharp compass! O & Baby C got busy with some paper and triangles while I took a minute to work out the circle radii of the Fibonacci set. Fibonacci's basic concept is simple (and not actually his discovery). Begin the set with two consecutive 1's and then proceed by adding the last two numbers of the set.
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34.....

Fibonnacci Set's

Once I created the first circle set, O helped cut out two more for the art project.

Baby C didn't need any lesson on how to arrange her circles and set straight to work.

O already had something in mind when her circles hit the paper. She arranged them in sets of 'mommies and babies'; the mommies being the larger circles and the smaller circles reserved for the babes!

Lots of Dots

On a library run, I just happened to see this book on display and decided we could incorporate it into our Fibonacci Art Project. It's actually a really well done read, with a witty poem about finding circles all around us.

Fibonacci and Spirals. Over the weeks, I've been more attuned to finding Fibonacci in nature. Particularly in pineapples and pinecones! http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2012/05/math-fun-kids-mathematics-spirals/


Mysterious Patterns. This is a fabulous book for early learners.


Vegan Bites: Sweet Potato Brownies

I was pretty reluctant to believe that baking brownies without flour would be a success, but attempted this recipe despite my assumptions http://makethebestofeverything.com/2014/08/sweet-potato-grain-free-brownies.html 
Those pictures taken pretty much sold me to, at the very least, give it a try.
I had to nearly triple the baking time in order to firm up the texture enough to scoop out of the pan, but the flavour is very good and the tahini gives it a little nuttiness, which we all need more of;)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cucumber Wave

Hubby and I take turns watching 'The Kids Should See This' and I'm not sure who gets more excited to share the short films! He found this physics one http://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/how-to-build-your-own-wave-machine-physics-demo and let me have a look.
The next day I set to work recreating the experiment.

I love that the equipment is easily available and inexpensive. Our Wave Machine was not quite as long as Alom's original, but still had the same great effect. We re-inforced duct tape on both sides, to make it a re-useable tool.
The accuracy of kabob spacing was not as crucial as the weight balancing, so we spaced the kabob skewers by sight.

Then I got busy cutting chunks of cucumber, while O & Baby C thread them to each end of the skewers.
We made sure to pierce them through the skin, so they would not slide off.

Then we taped the machine to two chairs. It was heavier than expected with all those cucumber slices, so O & Baby C had to stay seated to weight down the mechanism!
We also had to adjust some of the cucumber slices, as they were not all of equal weight, so as Alom suggested, we simply moved them down their skewer until the machine was balanced.

The Wave!

Instantly, O got to work setting the wave in action!
Although many times when it reached Baby C, she would stop it from returning!
Until she got herself busy eating cucumbers off the skewers!

NOTE TO SELF: Prepare back-up cucumbers when working with toddler scientists, who are constantly conducting their own experiments!

Refrigerated Science!

We folded and placed the Wave Machine in the fridge for Daddy to try out later in the day. 
This helped prevent the cucumbers from drying out and falling off the skewers.
Daddy often has to ask before eating/drinking something stored here, since half of the fridge contents tend to be a science experiment!

Alom Shaha. I love the no-nonsense, interest driven experiment, so looked up Mr. Shaha on You Tube. Not surprisingly, he is connected to Ri (ExperiMental) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_6x7OS_Nlg
..and catch him at whyscience.co.uk http://whyscience.co.uk/contributors/alom-shaha/index.php

Lemon Volcano's

Mixing acid and baking soda never gets old! http://babbledabbledo.com/science-activity-kids-lemon-volcano/

O and Baby C were both completely enthralled with this mini chemistry lesson, involving a lemon, dish washing soap, food colouring and baking soda. They especially liked pounding the juice out of the lemon to continue the explosion!

After they pulverized the lemon, I offered a baking tray of soda and eye droppers with coloured vinegar.
The scientists continued their experimentation for another half an hour!

This is a fantastic beginners experiment that includes quick results, observation and hands-on participation.

Time-Lapse from Chile. http://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/time-lapse-eruption-videos-of-chiles-calbuco-volcano I admit, we were banking on seeing some lava, but instead an amazing display of volcanic clouds http://www.geo.mtu.edu/volcanoes/vc_web/overview/o_volcanic_clouds.html

Monday, June 22, 2015

Solar Dehydrator

Dehydrating food is an age-old practice that still occurs, but often with much fancier equipment!
We've owned and loved food dehydrator's in the past, a his & her's set; the former for beef jerky and the latter for fruits and veg. This time we opted to try solar dehydration and take advantage of summer sunshine!

This Runner Duck design is fantastic http://www.runnerduck.com/dehydrator/dehydrator.htm but until we can build it, we tried out a bamboo steamer. I was at a loss for finding dried daikon radish for a Japanese recipe, so we made our own. It seems kind of frivolous to take fresh food, dry it then re-hydrate it, but it's not all for none. The flavour is much more concentrated and in the case of daikon, stinkier!

In old alley's in Shanghai, you can count on finding families drying anything from tea to fish, including vegetables of every shape and sort. They use circular woven bamboo trays with a lip around the edge, or simply an old wooden table! Just slice and sun-dry!

We also purchased bamboo shoots to dissect (and eat!)
Bamboo is such a diverse grass, used for food, fabric and wood and replenishing itself at a rate of 35 inches in 24 hours makes it an eco-friendly option!

When sliced super thin with a veggie peeler, the daikon dried in the afternoon sun over a period of 5 hours.

Summer Solstice


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Vegan Bites: Pumpkin Streusel

Pumpkin Streusel

O has been asking for...pumpkin.
Poor kid has been deprived of the winter squash that dominates our kitchen in the colder months!
I had saved some pureed pumpkin in the freezer, just enough to try out this recipe.

Mine looked nothing like the gorgeous pictures turned out in her link, but was quickly gobbled up by O & Baby C!

Lost Eggs

 Jay Egg
Our back garden hosted a little lost blue jay egg, likely picked up by a predator and already being invaded by an ant. O was quite keen to examine it. Later in the day while we were reading 'A Nest is Noisy',  we learned that these gray spotted eggs belong to blue jay's.

Robin's Egg
The next morning, I found half of a robin's egg, which was nearly twice the size of the jay egg.
We're thinking this one got out alive (and will join the other neighbourhood wildlife on our front porch soon!)

Basic Animation: Thaumatrope


We used this Thaumatrope project to continue with our bird theme, adding some animation interest.  http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2015/06/thaumatrope.html?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Old+School+Fun%3A+How+to+Make+a+Thaumatrope&utm_campaign=20150606_m126096847_Old+School+Fun%3A+How+to+Make+a+Thaumatrope&utm_term=thaumatrope_taping_jpg_3F1433585575

O prepped the circles on a stick (what she nicknamed, 'the lollipop') and both her and Baby C went to town drawing.

Initially, I drew both the bird and the nest in the center, which doesn't allow you to see both as the Thaumatrope spins. So I added a few birds up higher, to soar over the nest.
I'm guessing this is why the classic 'fish in a fish bowl' works well, as both can be centered with great results.

After a few rounds of motion picture presenting, O coloured her's green on one side, red on the other and played a game of red light/green light!

Animation Science. This inexpensive kit allows you to create a short vignette of 'film'.

Kiwi Crate Zoetrope. Kiwi Crate is a company that delivers tinker crates to your doorstep on a monthly basis. This one is animation based! http://tinker.kiwicrate.com/zoetrope

Flip Book. Long ago we took a series of pictures with O on Adam's lap, where Adam's facial expression changed, but everything else in the picture remained the same. This works well as a flip book of sorts.