Ice cream sandwiches aren't just a warm-weather treat; they're a lesson in
Ask your child to point out the top, middle, and bottom of an ice cream
sandwich. (Here's a tricky one: Flip the sandwich over. Has the top and bottom
changed?) Make other kinds of "sandwiches," using blocks, Play-Doh®, fabric,
sponges, or real bread and food fillings, and direct your child to add the top,
middle, or bottom layer.
Create multi-decker sandwiches and count each layer. Identify all the sandwich
ingredients by color, size, and shape. Whether they're cold or hot, real or
not, when you turn sandwiches into a learning tool, they become great brain
Watermelon is a refreshing summertime treat, but this year don't buy the
seedless variety! Instead, save the seeds, then wash and dry them. Place the
dried seeds on a white paper plate, top with another plate, and staple the two
together around the rim. Now create a watermelon design on the plates using
non-toxic green, pink, and black paint. When the paint is dry, give your
watermelon tambourine a shake and enjoy the musical "fruit" of your labor!
Children are fascinated by imaginary creatures, so imagine how excited they
will be to "grow" a sea serpent of their very own. It takes a little patience
to see the full results of this project, but the magical results are worth it!
Give your little one a plastic cup and have him or her decorate it like the
head of a sea serpent, using paint, feathers, glue, or any craft materials you
have around. Fill the cup with moistened cotton balls, then sprinkle the cotton
balls with grass seeds. In a few days, the grass will sprout, creating a grassy
head of green spikes.
It is believed that the polka was invented in Eastern Bohemia (now part of
Czechoslovakia) in the early 1800s. The polka is a lively couple dance in 2/4
time using eight measure phrases in two parts, each repeated. The name "polka"
comes from the Czech word "pulka," which means half-step. This name refers to
the rapid shifting of weight (similar to a hop) that one uses when dancing to
polka music, which is almost always fast and exhilarating.
Polka music soon expanded beyond Bohemia and into Poland, Germany, Yugoslavia,
and the United States. Over the years, the polka has even become a popular
Country and Western dance.
Just move to the music and make up the steps as you go along. Even the youngest
of your children will enjoy being picked up and swayed to the tempo.
Collect some smooth, medium sized rocks with your child. Be sure to wash the
dirt off the rocks and dry them before you start decorating. Give your pet rock
personality by adorning it with paint, feathers, ribbons, novelty eyes, felt,
and other craft items. Now choose a name and your no-maintenance pet is
Make a "friendship circle" (both kids and moms) in which each person takes a
turn saying something nice about someone else in the circle. Take a group photo
of the children with a Polaroid or digital camera so that each friend can have
a picture to take home. Ask each child to complete the phrase 'A friend is
someone who...' and inscribe what he says on his copy of the photo. Frame and
display proudly in his or her room.
You can make your own hula skirts out of green trash bags.
Use the bottom of the bag as the waistband and cut the bags in strips stopping
an inch below the waistband. You can also use butcher block paper for the table
cloth and decorate it by painting Hawaiian icons such as palm trees, flowers,
Dance the hula, do the limbo, top drinks with tiny festive paper umbrellas, and
serve lots of tropical fruit such as coconuts, papaya, pineapple, mangoes and
bananas. And don't forget to welcome your guests with a big "Aloha!"
Did you know that there are band instruments hidden all over your kitchen? Use
an empty roll of paper towel for a horn; put some dried beans in an empty
coffee can (make sure to secure the lid!) to make a maraca; gather pots and
pans, wooden spoons, and measuring cups to assemble an impromptu drum set. Now
instruct your child to make the craziest, loudest music he can. This activity
is best enjoyed once all the neighbors are awake.