Mixing Colors with Water Balloons

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This was a super fun art activity for a hot summer day!  We had a great time mixing colors with water balloons!  We used water colored with liquid watercolors within each balloon to create secondary colors once they were popped and mixed!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  liquid watercolors (you can use food coloring, but it might stain clothes/hands), water balloon pumper, primary colored water balloons, water, and a dish tub or plastic container.  

 

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This is the type of liquid watercolors that we use.

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 1.  Inflate the water balloons using each individual color inside the coordinating color of water balloon.  We have this water balloon pumping station and love it because of the tie-not feature (it totally saves our hands from having to tie a million water balloons).  :)

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 2.  Find a place (outside) to begin the color-mixing fun!

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 3.  Have your child choose two colors of balloons…

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 …and pop them in whatever way he/she would like.  Stomp, squeeze, or throw!

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 4.  Swish the water around to see what color the two balloons create.

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 Little Brother thought that this activity was pretty cool.  :)

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5.  Dump out the contents each time into a larger container…

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 …and see what happens when all the colors are mixed together!

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 Be sure to check out our Sum Splat learning activity also featuring water balloons!  

Show-and-Share Saturday Link Up!

Happy Saturday!  My site has been down off-and-on for the last few days as I was transferring hosting companies.  But things should be back to normal now (or at least I hope so).  In case you missed it, here is a fun post I shared earlier in the week.

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There were lots of great ideas shared last week.  Here are just a few:

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Check out this Star Gazing Telescope Craft (with free printable constellation cards) from Kids Activities Blog.

 

 

 

Race to Twenty 500x333 Show and Share Saturday Link Up!

This Race to 20 LEGO Game from Playdough to Plato is great for reinforcing place value!

 

 

 

 

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Need a last-minute idea for Father’s Day tomorrow?  Moms and Munchkins shares these free printable Father’s Day coupons.

 

 

 

 

Have an idea or activity to share???  Just link up below!

Next week I’ll be sharing my favorites from the ones you submit!   *By linking up, you are granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs from your blog.


 

Can’t see the link-up?  Go .
 

X-Ray Playdough

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We are having a blast learning about the human body!  As we have been learning about the various systems, the boys were especially intrigued with the skeletal system.  We came up with this fun and interactive way to learn about the body system responsible for supporting our bodies, giving us our shape, and protecting our major organs!

 

We can feel our bones, but we can’t see them unless we are looking at a special picture called an X-Ray.  In this activity, the Q-Tips act as bones to create our own X-Ray pictures!  This would also be a great activity when learning about the letter X.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  black play dough (you can make your own with black food coloring), Q-Tips, Skulls (laminated), and outlet covers.  

 

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1.  Gather your black playdough or make your own.

 

 

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2.  Print off the skulls and laminate them.  Use a hot glue gun to attach them to the outlet covers.  (Note:  If you think the skull might scare your child, feel free to use a cotton ball or even a picture of his/her face).  

 

 

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3.  Cut your Q-Tips into various lengths.

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4.  Let your child get started playing!  Show him/her some photographs of the skeletal system and try to reproduce the major bones using the Q-Tips and play dough!

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This was Little Brother’s skeleton!

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Big Brother and I created this skeleton together!

 

 

 

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Be sure to check out more fun ways to learn about the human body!

 

Sum Splat: Learning with Water Balloons

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Water balloons are so much fun for the summer!  But besides being a great way to burn off some energy, they can also be a surprisingly good learning tool!  We used water balloons to create this sum splat game to practice some simple addition.

 

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  Water balloons, chalk, a permanent marker, and a water balloon pump.

 

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1.  Fill your water balloons with water.  We use this water balloon pump that has a tying feature (no more sore fingers!).

 

 

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 2.  Write your numerals on the balloons with a permanent marker (we did 1-5).

 

 

 

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3.  Write all of the possible sums on the pavement using sidewalk chalk.

 

 

 

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 4.  Get your balloons (and kiddos) ready.

 

 

 

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 5.  Have your child choose two balloons and add them together.

 

 

 

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 6.  Splat the sum with the water balloons!

 

 

 

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 Splat!

 

 

 

What is your favorite thing to do with water balloons?  

 

 

The iPad is stealing my son’s childhood

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I’ve recently come to a startling realization:  The iPad has been stealing my son’s childhood.

 

I know what you are thinking…either something truly traumatic happened to this child or this is one of those crazy parents who thinks technology is from the devil.  I can assure you that neither of these assumptions are true.

 

Our three children (6, 4, and 3 months) are happy and well protected from the “evils” of technology such as pornography and cyber-bullying.  That has not (yet) been an issue in our household, although I am sure we will confront one or more of these issues at some point in our parenting journey.

 

And as for me, I love technology.  I am a “digital native” who has wholeheartedly embraced every new technological advancement over the last few decades…from the time that I first began using AOL instant messenger in my middle school years to this past Christmas when I received my second iPhone.  Back when I was teaching, I was the first to volunteer to implement technology in my classroom.  And, although I am careful not to allow our boys too much screen time, I have found technology to be beneficial for them as well (especially the learning apps like thesethese, and these).  I am quite certain I would have a difficult time living without all the technology I’ve come to know and love.

 

But over the last several months, I have become slowly convicted that all this technology isn’t a good thing.

 

It’s one of those nagging feelings that you just wish would go away…but it doesn’t.
You see, I’ve been observing the behavior of my boys over the last several months.  One child is especially drawn to electronics and his behavior began to worry me.  Although he was only engaged in technology for 1-2 hours a day (max), he talked about video games all the time to anyone who would listen.  He started sneaking around to play his VTech tablet that he got for his birthday and hiding it under his pillow (he would much rather have done this with the family iPad, but it is passcode protected).  And after he played with the iPad or Wii for any length of time, he began to be withdrawn when he was back in the “real world’.

 

My husband and I began to wonder whether our son was addicted to technology.  Not the type of nonchalant “I’m addicted to chocolate” kind of addiction… but the type of addiction that was changing his behavior and his personality.  The possibility scared the be-jeebers out of me.

 

This fascination with technology, this draw to be immersed in a digital world rather than the real one, was intense.  There for a while, he would rather play on the iPad or wii than do just about anything else.  And when he wasn’t playing a video game, he was either talking about it or sulking.  Gone were the days when my happy-go-lucky boy got excited to do just about anything.

 

He was no longer content to go outside and have stick “sword” fights with his brother.

 

He didn’t want to paint or draw.

 

He stopped asking for me to read to him (which used to be one of his favorite things).

 

If given the option to play at a friend’s house or play with the iPad, he would have chosen the iPad.

 

I am not exaggerating when I saw that the iPad was stealing his childhood.  It was robbing him of the quintessential elements that make up a magical childhood:  the wonder and excitement of playing outside, engaging in play with friends, and having time to simply be creative.

 

My husband and I both agreed that something needed to change.  It all came to a head when I listened to a Focus on the Family broadcast from the writers of The Digital Invasion.  After listening, I immediately wanted to learn more.  So, naturally, I ordered the book!  This book was eye-opening and, to be honest, downright scary.

 

The Digital Invasion (Hart and Frejd, 2013) provided research on how technology is changing our relationships and even how our brains process information.  In addition to interfering with real-life relationships and overdosing the pleasure system of our brains, technology (even educational games) can actually reduce both learning and creativity.

 

“When people (and this includes our children) keep their brains busy with digital input, they forfeit downtime.  Downtime is what the brain needs between learning tasks so that it can process and consolidate the information it is learning” (p. 67)…”We are only really thinking when our brains are idle.  It can’t do much thinking when other demands take precedence” (p. 72).

 

Technology has changed life as we knew it in an incredibly short amount of time, yet it has been wholeheartedly embraced by the majority of society (including parents and educators) without fully understanding the long-term effects.

 

We decided that our family’s time engaged with technology should be monitored on a daily basis to ensure that we are giving our brains and our relationships the rest that they need (and I’m not just talking about the kids).  My husband and I have come up with some ways to help keep our lives digitally balanced.

 

Here are the steps we have taken to create a healthy technology diet in our home:  

 

1.  We are limiting our own usage on mobile devices.  I have realized that I am a pretty bad role model when it comes to technology usage.  This is tricky for both my husband and me because both of our jobs rely heavily on the use of technology.  Because there are times when we must still use our iPhones or computer, we have cut back on much of the “social” aspects of technology.  I recently removed the Facebook app from my phone and only get on once or twice a day now when I have a few spare moments while on the laptop.  We changed the settings on our iPhones where we must manually retrieve our e-mails rather than having them pushed to our phones (and dinging every few minutes).  We also are doing our best to eliminate all phone usage during meals so that we are giving each other our undivided attention.

 

2.  We no longer allow the boys to play the iPad or the Wii during the week (not even educational games).  They can still watch television (one minute for every minute that they read), but they are only allowed to play the iPad or Wii on the weekends.  We have been doing this for a couple months now and it has made a HUGE difference, especially for our child who is most influenced by video games.  I firmly believe in the old adage “all things in moderation” which is why we decided to allow it on a very limited basis.  Now that it isn’t a part of our everyday routine, it has eliminated the majority of the negative behaviors.

 

3.  We try to spend time outside every day.  The fresh air and exercise is good for everyone!

 

 

4.  We give our kids time to be bored.  This is something that is lacking in our society.  With all of the entertainment options available and the temptation to hyper schedule our kids in a variety of different extracurricular activities, there is no time for kids to just be kids.  If a child has a structured activity every minute of the day, there is no time to use his/her creativity.  I truly believe that children who are occasionally bored end up being better problem-solvers and more creative thinkers.

 

In conclusion, we all want what is best for our kids.  Technology is here to stay and will be a part of our lives, whether we like it or not.   We can, however, do our very best to ensure that our children are not negatively impacted by its accessibility and frequent intrusiveness.  After all, our kids deserve to have a childhood full of stick sword fights, playdates, and grass-stained feet.

 

 

 

What are your thoughts?  Has technology positively or negatively influenced your children?