Category Archives: child’s play

Ridiculously Fun Colourful Bubble Foam

Colourful Bubble Foam | Mama Papa Bubba

Oh my word… I’m so glad we finally got around to trying this!  I pinned the idea over a year ago and I knew it was going to be fun, but I had no idea just how much Miss G would love it and how much play it would bring about (just wait until we get to those pictures!)  

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For our bubble foam, we used an eco-friendly dish soap (only because that’s what we use in our house – I’m sure the regularly variety would probably make even better, ‘stronger’ foam) and an assortment of gel and liquid food colouring (both worked well – we just used a little less of the gel because of its strength and a little more of the liquid).

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While Amanda of Dirt and Boogers put both her blender and food processor to use when making her foam, we got out our supplies, and decided to try using our Kitchen Aid mixer instead.  I wanted to make a lot of foam, and I figured its big bowl would allow us to do so in fewer batches, and I figured that it would be able to whip the foam just as well as, if not better, than a food processor or blender (I also think a hand blender would work well too!)

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To make our foam, Miss G added 2 tablespoons of dish washing liquid, 2/3 a cup of warm water, and 2 drops of gel food colouring (or 4 or 5 of liquid) to the machine’s bowl.  Then we fired up the mixer on its highest speed, and let it whip the mixture into foam for 2 solid minutes.  The result was this thick, luxurious foam that formed soft peaks when a spoon was lifted out of it.

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We continued the process with 4 other colours of Gracen’s choosing, working quickly so that the foam would maintain its thick texture.

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After completing all of the colours in about 10 minutes or so, you can see that the purple foam we made first was starting to ‘air up’, but Grae didn’t mind one bit.  She was just thrilled that it was time to dive in finally!

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While I did consider bringing some items to use while playing in the bin (I thought maybe cups to hold foamy drinks or cars to put through a foamy carwash), I ended up skipping that part and I’m glad I did.  Sometimes less is more, and in this case, the foam was plenty of fun on its own.  Gracen immediately started swirling the colours together which made me wonder if next time we should try just 3 colours – red, blue, and yellow – to see how well a little colour mixing experiment would turn out.  Either way, swirling the rainbow colours together was brilliant fun.

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With her hands and arms absolutely covered in foam, the clapping began…  And goodness gracious, did she ever find flying foam hilarious!

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Next up, this silly slippery hands position took form…

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And before long, a certain someone’s head was in the bin!

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She popped up with hair full of foam, and I knew exactly what was happening next.

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Please tell me I’m not the only one whose kid strips off their clothes and jumps into their sensory bins in order to get the full effect…

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And who am I to deny this sort of crazy, messy, foamy fun really?

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Fully covered in bubbles, Miss G told me that they felt ‘so soft and cozy on her bare skin’ and I don’t doubt it for a minute!  At this point I was sort of glad we’d used eco-friendly soap as her skin can sometimes be quite sensitive, which led me to wonder if the same sort of results could be reached with a baby shampoo, bath wash, or bubble bath instead?  Another experiment for another day, I guess. ☺  The good news is that this foam didn’t irritate her skin in the least, and they lasted for a ridiculously long time.

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One thing I hadn’t thought of when we put together this sensory activity was the possibility of bubbles… And boy, oh boy, were there ever bubbles!  Big, giant, huge ones that formed in the space between her two legs and between her arms and her body each time she’d stand up.  (It’s hard to see, but there’s a giant one coming from in between her shins in this photo.)

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Without a doubt, this has been one of our most fun and engaging sensory activities in a long time, and for a little bit of dish soap, some water, and some food colouring, I’d say that’s pretty amazing! 

Colourful Bubble Foam

  • 2 tablespoons of dish soap
  • 2/3 cup of warm water
  • 2 drops of gel food colouring (or 4 – 5 of liquid food colouring)

Place all ingredients in a bowl.  Using a kitchen mixer or a handheld mixer, mix the ingredients on the highest setting for 2 minutes (or until the foam forms stiff peaks).  Repeat with as many colours as desired.

Enjoy!

 

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Sweet & Stretchy {EDIBLE} Marshmallow Dough

Edible Marshmallow Dough | Mama Papa BubbaWhile Gracen napped this afternoon, I decided to finally put the bag of marshmallows I’ve been carting around for the last couple of weeks to good use.  And oh my word, am I ever glad I did!  

IMG 0527I originally came across this post via Pinterest and immediately fell in love with the idea of marshmallow dough. As insane as it sounds, I often find myself thinking, hmmm…. what can we mix with cornstarch today?  (Totally crazy, I know.) We’ve tried water, shampoo, and hair gel, but I had never thought of marshmallow goo before!  I filed the idea away and knew it would make for an extra special day one day soon.  Today, when it came time to make it, rather than retrieving my computer from the other end of the house and pulling up the recipe, I decided to wing it.  And I must say, it turned out really well.  Turns out that our dough is missing 2 of the ingredients in the original recipe, but I think it would turn out well either way. The finished product is soft to the touch, yet firm, tacky, but not so sticky that it makes a mess of your hands, and it smells absolutely amazing – like Rice Krispie treats or cotton candy.

IMG 0530With the dough made, I set out a few fun things to explore it with on Grae’s little picnic table outside.  Included were some sundae cups and spoons, a knife, some heart-shaped cookie cutters, some birthday candles, some sugar crystals, and some candy sprinkles.  Then it was time to wait for the little miss to wake up.

IMG 0540I was so anxious for her to discover the play invitation I’d set up that it was just my luck that she’d ask to stay in her room for quiet play time upon waking up, rather than coming out and getting her afternoon started like she normally does. ☺  When she did come out of her room though, she spotted the marshmallow dough station through the window almost immediately.  Her eyes lit up with excitement and curiosity and she was off to play.  

IMG 0542After a little bit of cutting and pulling, it was straight to the candy sprinkles – and who can blame her really? They’re just so darn colourful and fun-looking!

IMG 0550Of course, what pairs better with sprinkles than birthday candles?

IMG 0555I think she may be getting anxious for the birthday party that’s happening next weekend…

IMG 0552The really cool thing about marshmallow dough is that other than being soft and smooth and smelling {and tasting!} delicious, it has an incredible amount of stretch.  It can be pulled and pulled and pulled without breaking.  Even when you’re trying very hard, as Miss G clearly is in this photo. ☺

IMG 0556Though it’s quite a bit firmer and stickier than a regular play dough, it still cuts well with cookie cutters, which Grae was pleased about.

IMG 0566And the plus side to the slightly sticky nature of the dough is that candy sprinkles cling to it really well.

IMG 0561Next up was some cutting practice.  Gracen really enjoys cutting, and I really should have brought out a sharper knife for her to continue practicing with, but a butter knife did work.  Because the dough is quite heavy, it provides a good amount of resistance, which is great for building up those little hand muscles.

IMG 0564Gracen loved exploring marshmallow dough, and though I really don’t want her eating corn-syrup filled marshmallows just yet, the beauty of this play material is that it is fully edible, so you don’t have to worry about little ones who are inclined to put things in their mouths getting sick if they do sneak a taste.

IMG 0548One thing to keep in mind is that because marshmallow goo eventually does set, you’re really only guaranteed one day of supple, mouldable dough.  For us, this wasn’t a issue as Grae played with it for a good long time and I felt we got more than enough play out of it to be worth the cost of the ingredients and the effort that went into making it.

If you’d like to make your own batch (which you certainly should!), here’s our modified version…

Coloured {Edible} Marshmallow Dough (inspired by My Buddies & I)

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or other high temperature tolerant oil)
  • 1 one pound bag of large marshmallows
  • 3 – 4 cups of cornstarch
  • food colouring

Over medium heat, melt coconut oil in a pot.  Once liquid, add the entire bag of marshmallows.  Stir frequently until marshmallows are completely melted.  

Working quickly, divide the marshmallow mixture into four bowls (approximately 1 cup per bowl) and stir in 3 drops of liquid food colouring into each.  Add 3/4 of a cup of cornstarch to each bowl to start.  Using a spoon, stir vigorously until marshmallow goo and cornstarch begin to come together.  Use your hands to knead in the extra cornflour once the dough is cool enough to handle.  If needed, add an extra 1/4 of cornstarch to each bowl to firm up the dough, however, be careful not to add too much as the dough will become overly hard.

Enjoy!

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Moving Fun for Miss G

Simple Ways to Keep Kids Happily Engaged During a Move | Mama Papa BubbaIn order to get through our move, Miss G spent a lot of time playing independently, which is difficult when the majority of your things are packed and life as you know it is being turned upside-down in front of your eyes.  In order to make things a little bit easier for her, each day that we spent packing, I’d set out a couple of very simple invitations to play with whatever was around at the time.  I have to say, she handled the situation very well and even created a few fun activities of her own.  Here’s some of what our little lady did last week…

BubblesAdd a few taped-together straws to some homemade bubble solution!

Sink playThere are endless possibilities when it comes to sink play.  See some of our favourites here.

Box fortsFlip a large box on its side, add a pillow and blanket, and you’ve got a cozy little space to curl up in.  Miss G also brought markers and chalk inside of hers and decorated the walls.

Pool noodle blocksSlice up a pool noodle and you’ve got fun, inexpensive, and *silent* building blocks.  See some other ways to use them here.

Straw beadsChop up some straws, find a piece of string, and you’ve got an engaging beading station.

Drawing on butcher paperA large piece of brown paper taped onto the ground is the perfect canvas for all sorts of artwork.

Fresh mint playIf you’ve got some fresh herbs growing in the yard, this is a breeze to set up.  Add some scissors, bowls, and water, and scented ‘soup’ will be rolling out of the herb kitchen in no time.

BathsWho says you have to be dirty to have a bath?  Pop your babe in the bathtub and you can get all kinds of work done in the bathroom.

Peek a booA cardboard box + tissue paper = ridiculous amounts of fun.

Cloud dough8 parts white flour, 1 part oil (baby oil and vegetable oil both work great), and a whole lot of fun

Popcorn shopAll that’s needed is a bowl of popcorn and some paper bags!  {See more here.}

Play dough and silicon mouldsWhether it’s  with play dough (in this case gingerbread play dough), coloured rice, water beads, or another sensory material, silicon moulds are always a huge hit in our house.

Packing peanutsPacking peanuts in a bin… That’s all.  Gracen created this sensory bin, then took off her dress and dove in. 

StickersStickers and a big piece of brown paper.  Simple fun.

PhotoSimple matching games made with dot stickers.  We’ve done this forever with doodles, shapes, numbers, and letters and Miss G never gets enough.

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Fresh Mint Sensory Play

Fresh Mint Sensory Play | Mama Papa BubbaThe last few days have been hectic.  With only 5 days to pack up our entire house and prepare for our first of two upcoming moves, Brad and I have been working at full steam sorting through things, preparing boxes of items we’ll need for August, boxes that will go straight to Kuwait, and boxes that will go into storage until we return home to Canada in a few years.  Sort of sadly, that leaves our little lady to play independently almost all day long most days.  As a result, I’ve been pulling together all kinds of random, super simple activities with whichever everyday materials are nearby at the moment.  Luckily for me, this morning as I popped on the internet for a brief moment, there was a discussion on different ways to use fresh mint going on in one of the awesome blogger networks I belong to (if you’re not already one of the 68 000 people that follow our Pinterest board, you certainly should be!)  We have loads of mint growing in our backyard, so I took a bunch of the suggestions, mashed them together and created this fresh mint soup station for Miss G to explore.

IMG 0428To start out, I set out a big bunch of fresh mint, a pair of Gracen’s scissors, and few plastic bowls and spoons.  Grae began smelling and cutting and ripping the mint and the amazing scent of fresh mint filled our house.  She dished out bowls of ‘salad’ and delivered them to us as we worked.

IMG 0438Before long, I sensed that something would have to be added to the mix in order to keep Grae engaged in her play, so I grabbed a small container of green glitter and a jug filled with water and a couple drops of green food colouring and quietly added them to the bin.  (Slowly adding elements to sensory bins as play progresses is one of my favourite tips for keeping munchkins engaged in their play.)

IMG 0430In no time at all, bowls of sparkly green soup were rolling out of Gracen’s fresh mint kitchen.

IMG 0437Looks delicious, right?

IMG 0454This was such a simple set-up, but Grae enjoyed it so much that I just tidied it up to make it look inviting again, and I’m leaving it out overnight for Miss G to enjoy again tomorrow. We’ll see how the mint lasts!

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A {Pretend Play} Popcorn Shop

Pretend Play Popcorn Shop | Mama Papa BubbaOur makeshift puppet theatre got LOTs of play and it was {well past} time to switch things up in our little Ikea SKYLTA Market Stand.  Because we’re amidst our 5 days dedicated to packing our entire house, it had to be something super quick and easy to set-up, but highly engaging in order to keep Miss G happily {and independently} playing for as long as possible.

IMG 0406To get things started, I made a little ‘Popcorn Shop’ sign that took less than a minute to make, and popped it into the structure’s sign slot.

IMG 0407Then Grae and I made a big bowl of plain stove-top popcorn (in coconut oil of course) and she grabbed a measuring cup to act as her scoop while I grabbed an old salt shaker that works terribly (it barely lets anything out, and in this case that’s perfect) and put a little sea salt inside.

IMG 0409While I’ve seen really cute old-fashioned popcorn bags at our local dollar store, I’m a big fan of using what you have on hand if you can, so I grabbed some paper bags I’d used at a recent craft market and quickly wrote ‘POPCORN’ across the front of each one.  Together we decided that the small white ones would be the shop’s personal size and the bigger brown ones would be family-sized.  

IMG 0412After retrieving an apron, Miss G opened her popcorn shop for business.

IMG 0405She took orders, asking us about our size and salt preferences, and carefully scooped popcorn into bags.  When an order was ready, she’d deliver it to us wherever we were working in the house, then check back in a few minutes later to see if we needed a free refill… Now that’s what I call service!

IMG 0404Our popcorn shop was a total hit with Grae and my guess is that she’d continue dishing out bags of popcorn as long as I’d continue filling the bowl.  

This inexpensive cardboard contraption has brought us a ton of fun already and I fully plan to take advantage of it for the last few weeks before we move.  ☺

To see the other ways we’ve used our cardboard market stand, click here.

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Floating Flowers… Fun for Pools, Baths, & Sensory Bins

Floating Flowers for Water PlayWhen we went to pick up a pool noodle for Gracen’s marble run water slide, she originally fell in love with a flower-shaped noodle.  While I knew it wouldn’t be the best fit for our marble run, at $1.25, I knew we would eventually figure out a way to put it to good use.  

IMG 0351It was my first time seeing this sort of pool noodle, and all I knew was that I wanted to slice it up to create tons of little individual flower shapes.  

IMG 0349So that’s just what I did.  Just like when slicing a pool noodle in half vertically, I found that using a sharp, serrated knife and a sawing motion worked best.  I sliced ours about an inch thick, but you could do them any thickness you like – even varying thicknesses would be fun!

IMG 0353As I chopped, Miss G ran the ready flowers over to her blow up pool and tossed them in!  

IMG 0375It’s such a simple thing, but they looked so pretty and inviting dancing around on the water’s surface.  (I’m already picturing them in bath tubs and sensory bins too!)

IMG 0367I think Miss G agreed, because she immediately jumped in {despite the freezing cold water} and started splashing around like mad!

IMG 0361When the splashing had subsided a little bit, Grandma Charlotte showed Grae how the flowers could be used as building blocks.  

IMG 0458It’s definitely easier in still-ish water, but it’s equally fun when in or out of the pool.  Towers can be built…

IMG 0460Pyramids can be built…

IMG 0466And ‘trains’ can be built too!  Of course, the possibilities are really endless when it comes to building structures – even when they’re floating ones. 

IMG 0358Now the only question is how I’m going to convince Brad that heaps of pool noodle flowers are a Kuwait necessity…  I mean with the heat and the amount of time we spend in and around water there, they are, aren’t they? ☺ 

Building Structures With Floating Flowers | Mama Papa Bubba

♥ 

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Frozen SCENTED Sidewalk Chalk Popsicles

Vibrant Scented Frozen Sidewalk Chalk Pops | Mama Papa BubbaWhen I saw this post from Reading Confetti, I immediately fell in love.  We’ve made our own sidewalk chalk paint for a long while now and I’d seen many frozen versions, but never had I seen them made in popsicle moulds before!  After sharing the idea on our Facebook page and pinning it on several Pinterest boards, I made a mental note to pick up some more cornstarch the next time I was out so we could get the project under way.

IMG 0263Well luckily for me, not only did I remember to pick up cornstarch during our next grocery shop, but I also ran into these Duncan Hines Frosting Creations packets for the first time ever.  Immediately, I knew our frozen chalk pops would be scented.  A few days later, Miss G and I gathered up our materials and got to work.

Using our tried and true sidewalk chalk paint method, we mixed 2 cups of warm water with 1 cup of cornstarch in our blender for a minute or so. Then we collected our popsicle moulds, our Frosting Creation packets, some gel food colouring (liquid will work too, but the colours won’t be nearly as intense), and several popsicle sticks.

IMG 0265Next up, I used the popsicle sticks to scoop a small amount of gel food colouring into each popsicle mould, and Miss G selected a Frostings Creation packet to coordinate with each colour before we added a small amount (maybe 1/8th of the packet) to each slot. (If you’re making this at home and can’t find the frosting flavour packets, you could always use unsweetened Kool-Aid or Jell-O powder instead.)

IMG 0267With our food colouring and powdered scent ready, we filled each popsicle mould about 2/3rds full of our cornstarch/water combo and Gracen stirred them well.

IMG 0268Then we topped them up with a little bit more cornstarch/water and Grae gently stirred them a little more.

IMG 0270At that point, all that was left to do was put our plastic handles in and freeze the chalk pops overnight.

IMG 0315The next day, they looked like this.  The colours were vibrant, the texture was smooth and creamy, and they smelled absolutely delicious.

Vibrant Scented Frozen Sidewalk Chalk Pop Scents | Mama Papa BubbaThe blue one smelled like cotton candy, the green one was mint chocolate, the red was strawberry shortcake, and the orange was orange creme…  YUM.  The only potentially bad news is that because they do look so real and smell so wonderfully, some munchkins may be tempted to try eating them (yuck!)  That being said, because they’re made strictly of kitchen ingredients, they are technically safe to consume. So though they may taste chalky and gross, they certainly wouldn’t harm a curious little monkey who snuck a lick.

IMG 0328With our fun new chalk pops in hand, we headed into the backyard to test them out.  The verdict?  They’re really awesome!

IMG 0329When they’re melting and drippy, they go on much like their liquid counterpart does, only via a wand of sorts instead of a paintbrush.  When they’re not melting, they go on much like regular sidewalk chalk does – dry and colourful with a little bit of pressure.  When dry, the colours are super vibrant and to me, they look very much like they’ve been made with regular sidewalk chalk. 

IMG 0344By the time our chalk pops had melted, our cement pad was fully covered in bright swirls, drawings, drips, and letters.  And the great news is that it all washed away really easily without any fuss – much easier than our sidewalk chalk paint normally does for some reason.

I can’t wait to pull this activity out again in Kuwait where the temperatures soar and our courtyard is made completely of cement.

♥ 

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{Simple Fun} Sink Play

Simple Fun Sink Play | Mama Papa BubbaI forgot how trying and time consuming this whole Kuwait documentation process is… We’re currently in the throws of police clearances, medical tests,  notarizations, and phone calls, which isn’t all that fun.  Add in a very busy, wanting-to-be-on-the-go toddler, and it’s that much more difficult.   Today, between Embassy calls and trips to the police station and medical lab, I pulled out one of my favourite tried and true ways to keep Miss G happily engaged while we got a few things done – a sink full of water.  It’s a super simple invitation to play and is a hit every single time.  Today it involved a couple of drops of blue/green food colouring, a couple of rocks, some glass gems, and a bowl of plastic creepy crawlies.  That’s it.  We set it up together, she pulled her little Ikea stool up to the bathroom sink, and the play began.  

IMG 0262The best part is that it’s not at all limited to a bug swamp.  In fact, the possibilities are endless!  Here are a few of our favourite sink play ideas…

1.  Baby bath – Grab a plastic doll, a wash cloth and/or sponge, some watered down shampoo or bubble bath,and a small towel and the baby doll will be cleaner than ever.  For extra fun, add in a toothbrush and hairbrush for when bath time is done.

2. Ocean – Add a couple of drops of blue food colouring to the water, then add some rocks, seashells, driftwood pieces and plastic ocean creatures.  Instant fun!

3. Floating building station – Place several pool noodle pieces (sliced about an inch thick) in the sink and let your little one experiment with building floating structures – towers, pyramids, ‘trains’ – anything goes!

♥ 

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Building Sugar Cube Structures

Sugar Cube Structures | Mama Papa BubbaIMG 0236Upon returning from my first ever weekend (and overnight, actually) away from Miss G, she immediately asked if we could open the last of her activity bags.  She explained that she had already opened all of the other bags, but had saved the ‘bonus bag’ to do with me once I returned home.

IMG 0237She pulled the items out one by one and this is what we found inside… A box of sugar cubes, some white glue, and several pieces of thick cardboard.  The note inside explained that the materials were for building structures, and Gracen wasted no time getting started.

IMG 0242First up, she told me she was going to build ‘biiiiig’ towers. ‘Big, big, big, big, biiiiiig ones’. And that she did.  Layering a little squeeze of glue between each sugar cube allowed her to create several tall towers.

IMG 0245When her towers reached the height that satisfied her expectations, she asked for help with making a ‘rectangle’.  I squeezed the glue out onto the cardboard in a rectangular shape, and she place the cubes along the path.  We continued this pattern several times and finished off with a top layer that made the structure look castle-like.

IMG 0249With our sugar cube box running low, we decided we had enough left for one last structure.  Grae decided on a pyramid with a fence around it (the fence was very important) and so that’s what we did.

IMG 0253I really love this activity because it can be very open-ended – the possibilities are endless!  Grae loved it so much that she was quite disappointed when the sugar cubes were gone, so we’ll definitely be trying it again soon! 

♥ 

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Marble Run Water Slide

Marble Run Water Slide | Mama Papa BubbaIMG 9866When I found this huge jar of marbles sitting in the closet of Brad’s childhood bedroom, I knew they had to be used for something fun.  I immediately thought of these two posts and knew that Miss G would love exploring a marble run.

IMG 9951While Grandma Charlotte’s pool noodles didn’t have holes down the centres and every shop in the village she lives in appeared to be anxiously waiting the same pool noodle shipment, my hometown not far away had pool noodles aplenty!  In fact, one of the local dollar stores had huge bins full for $1.25 a piece!  With a pool noodle in hand, I began building our marble run during G’s nap.  The first step was saw the noodle in half vertically with a serrated knife.  Slow and steady was the key to this one.

IMG 9952It was a bit tricky to cut perfectly down the centre of the noodle the entire time, but it really doesn’t have to be perfect.

Building a Marble Run Water SlideNext up, I inserted several toothpicks along the side of one of the noodle halves, then carefully connected the other half.

IMG 9970IMG 9955With the main structure built and plenty of nap time to spare, I decided to focus on the details.  While I’m sure the usual race track theme would have gone over wonderfully, I decided to switch things up a little and gear the activity to one of Gracen’s recent interests… water slides!  Using some bamboo skewers I shortened a little, I threw together a ‘WATER SLIDE’ sign and a few buntings and stuck them onto the slide structure.  Then I propped the top of the slide up on a couple of vintage apple crates and put a small bin filled with sparkly blue water at the bottom.  Gracen was delighted to wake up from her nap and see it!

IMG 9957IMG 9960The activity really needed no explanation.  She recruited Grandma Charlotte, they each selected a marble, and on ‘ready, set, go!’ they released them.

IMG 9962It was a close one!

IMG 9986I kind of wondered if she’d always want someone playing with her during this activity, but that wasn’t the case.  She just as happily played on her own.

IMG 9968And after doing several races, things got a little creative…  She tried putting multiple marbles in a track before releasing them, raced small marbles against large marbles, and tried sending Nerfuls down too.

IMG 9991Our little pool noodle water slide has already brought a ton of fun and I can’t wait for us experiment with it some more in the coming weeks… I’m thinking ping pong balls would be neat because they’d float in the pool at the bottom and maybe we’ll try racing water itself?

♥ 

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