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  • Writer's pictureEmma Gordon

Top 8 'One Things' We Still Play With

When Mid-March hit and NYC shut down, like many of us I found myself inside with my kids

for very long days & no end insight. I started to do ONE doable, creative activity each day with them. Sometimes that 'One Thing' is a giggle walk around the block but when it's STEM focused I've shared it.

Keep reading for the 8 activities that we STILL repeat, play with, talk about & add to.

Not surprisingly it's the simplest ones that stood the test of (this very strange) time.

I hope you find them helpful too.

1. Pinwheel Garland

We made pin-less pinwheels, which were safer for the toddler and we loved exploring them inside and outside but they didn't live too long. We had already hacked our paper wind spinner into a plastic one for our fire escape so I applied the same material, a used plastic file folder to make 4 pinwheels. I secured them along a piece of string with some cork pieces and I tied the garland between two little posts. No storm or squirrel has destroyed it yet. It catches the wind all day long. This is was a good one.

2. Foam Party

When I see boredom leading to naughtiness, I do this 'One Thing'. Whisk up a little soap, water, liquid water color in a mixing bowl until it's nice and fluffy then pour the foam it into containers with spoons, ladles, brushes, cups, whatever. I add an evil 'mwahahahaha' laugh and it seems to redirected their naughtiness into something creative and they scoop, pour, mix for a good chunk of time. Definitely use a floor covering and their hands may get a little stained even with liquid water color (as opposed food coloring) but that's what baths are for!

3. Making Butter

This was such a hit we don't buy butter anymore, we throw cream in a jar, put on a dance song and 'shake it to make it'.

4. Blooming Flowers

This 'One Thing' is designed to repeat. Once you've colored and cut out your flowers and watched them 'bloom' in the water be sure to place them somewhere they can dry out. A window is perfect. When they fall off just fold them up again and keep going or store for another time. Sure, the colors may run and they get a bit crunched but it's a good lesson in absorption, evaporation AND recycling! We took our used ones on a walk and placed them on wet leaves after a rain. Magic!

5. Foaming Rainbow

For us having baking soda and vinegar in the house during quarantine has been as crucial loo paper. And like loo paper, a little can go a long way. Well, kind of. Be sure to add a squeeze of dish soap to the vinegar so it foams up and use spoons or gloves if your kids have cuts (or eczema) on their hands. I learned that one the hard way. Your kids and your kitchen will smell like a salad but nothing a drop or two peppermint oil (in the vinegar) can't fix. This experiment never gets old.

6. Ramps & Slides

We don't have an outside space so our home is our playground these days. The couch moonlights as a couch but during the day is mostly a fort or a slide. Every set up is an experiment in friction and inevitably we need something more "swipery". We use books, container lids, paper towel rolls and tubes to down send balls and cars. They love it but boy do we miss playgrounds.

7. Paper Planes

Once you get your favorite template down pat, with any folds and tweaks for swooping, gliding and speed, this one will live forever. Well not the planes, those get crumpled pretty quick but a quick fold and they're back. I had no idea these would be intriguing for so long.

8. Ice Melt

Freezing small toys in colored water in whatever containers you have lying around is the gift that keeps on giving. I now make sure I have one good-to-go, especially if I know a rainy day is coming. Oh and I now use food coloring and only little because the toddler 100% eat the ice.

I'll be working to move my One Things over to here but in the meantime you can see them on either my Instagram or Facebook pages. Hang in there!


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