Coffee Dough Fossils
Mix 1 cup used coffee grounds, ½ cup water, ½ cup salt, 1 cup flour in a bowl. Scoop the mixture onto a piece of wax paper and flatten it out. This is your fake mud! Now you can press objects like leaves, sticks, and shells and pull them away to see what impression they leave. Let it dry overnight and you’ll have a pretend trace fossil.
In toy shops or gift shops you may have seen “Dino Dig Kits” where children can dig out a dinosaur fossil toy from a rock-like material. It’s easy to make your own version of this kit at home. Simply mix one part plaster of Paris, one part sand and one part water in a small disposable dish. Put a small plastic dinosaur toy in the mixture and let it dry overnight. The next day your child will be able to dig out their dinosaur surprise using toothpicks, plastic spoons or craft sticks.
Wrap a tablespoon of baking soda in a napkin or paper towel. Put vinegar and warm water in a sealable plastic sandwich bag. Hold the bundle of baking soda in the bag over the vinegar as you seal the bag tightly. Then drop the baking soda into the vinegar. A chemical reaction will occur and fill the bag up! Can you find the right amount of vinegar to get the bag to pop? Google “Bubble Bomb Experiment” for more information.
Wrecking Ball Fun
Children love to knock things down almost as much as they like to build them! Create a small wrecking ball by wrapping string around a tennis ball so that it can be hung. Hang the “wrecking” ball between heavier chairs and have your child get building! Can they build a structure strong enough to withstand a drop of the wrecking ball?
Use Real Tools
If properly supervised, preschool children can have great fun using tools and developing fine motor skills! One idea is to get wood golf tees and let your child pound them into a piece of foam (or maybe even a pumpkin!) with a small hammer. Another idea is to replace the bit on a drill with a paint brush and allow the kids (with supervision and safety goggles of course!) to create amazing art work with the spinning brush and paint.
You may not think of it, but there is a lot of chemistry happening in the normal baking of bread or cookies. You can turn your home recipe into a science experiment! Bake one batch using your normal recipe and then bake another batch with one significant change to your ingredients, maybe leave the yeast out of the bread or the eggs out of the cookies. Your experiment may ruin a batch but your child will have great fun seeing the results and learning about the importance of the ingredients.
Veggie Face Pizza
Spread tomato sauce on whole wheat English muffins. Add low-fat cheese and then arrange vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms or tomato slices into a fun face on the pizza. Heat in a toaster oven.
Creamy Salsa Dip
Combine salsa with fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese. Cut up carrot or celery sticks. Dip and enjoy!
Orange-Strawberry Ice Pops
Make your own ice pops using an ice cube tray or small disposable cups and wooden sticks. Fill with water and add fresh squeezed oranges and mashed strawberries. Cover with aluminum foil and poke the sticks through the foil to hold them in place. Put in your freezer and wait until they are frozen.