Monday, July 27, 2015

Life-Saving Bubbles {Part 2}

Fresh off our bubble disappointment, I was on a mission.  I was going to find a great bubble recipe that would allow my boys to make giant bubbles.


Title pic with bubbles

One suggestion from many was to replace the dish soap I'd been using with blue Dawn, the liquid soap often recommended for its magic.  I'm not sure what's in there, but it's saved my day before, so I was willing to give it a try.

I also found an intriguing recipe that called for cornstarch and baking powder that seemed fun to try.

In a giant bubble
Then, just for good measure, I picked the brain of our daycare's STEM teacher.  Every summer she does a giant bubble day with the kids....I'm talking putting kids inside the bubble giant!  I knew she must have a great recipe, and I hoped she'd be willing to share her secret!

And then it rained.....and rained.....and rained.  It's been one rainy summer here in Northeast Ohio, so our project had to be put on the back burner for a while.

Finally, we had a sunny Sunday afternoon, so I got the ingredients together for our two experiments and headed outside.  The boys were excited to help measure and stir!

Glycerin - Take Two

We started with our recipe from the first go-round but replaced the dish soap we'd used with blue Dawn.  Knowing I couldn't guarantee the results, we started with a quarter sized recipe again. This batch was definitely pretty to look at in the pan, but would they work?

 No one wanted to wait all night to test them out (who knew if we'd get another dry day!) so we started playing with them immediately.  (We'd also been tipped off by our "favorite science girl" - AKA Ms. Mandy the STEM teacher, that letting them rest doesn't really do anything for them.)

One possible bubble recipe

It was a moderate success.  Using bubble wands that had come with bubbles we'd purchased, both boys were able to easily form plenty of  regular-sized bubbles
boy popping bubble with arm

toddler mixing bubble ingredients

When we tried our giant bubble makers, though, it was more hit and miss.  We were able to actually form a couple this time, but they popped immediately.


Dad attempting to make a giant bubble

Still, we decided this was a great recipe to keep on hand for regular bubble blowing, so we made another half-sized batch to keep on hand.

Cornstarch and Baking Powder

Still hoping to find a GIANT success, we tried the other recipe I'd come across.  I was pretty skeptical, but had the ingredients on hand, so I figured we'd never know if we didn't try.  

Third version of a bubble recipe


Same deal as the prior batches, we made a small test batch first.




Bubble ingredients



This recipe didn't work well for us at all.  It was difficult to mix gently and yet forcefully enough to dissolve all of the cornstarch and baking powder.  Once we got it all mixed up, it didn't do much for us.  (Disclaimer:We didn't allow this one to sit based on the looming grey clouds and advice from our STEM guru.) Blowing regular bubbles was hit and miss, and it wouldn't even stick to the giant bubble maker. 

We ditched this recipe pretty quickly.  And then, it started to rain....AGAIN.  We packed our supplies up for the day and headed in.  I had one more suggestion up my sleeve from Ms. Mandy who did generously share her secret.  It sounded strange to me though, so I'd held off on getting the secret ingredient.  On the way back into the house, I decided that, strange as it sounded, we'd have to give it a shot.  

So far, the corn syrup recipe we'd previously tested has been our favorite, but check back soon to see what Ms. Mandy suggesti and how it worked for us!


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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Celebrating National Dance Day - With Sign (Detective Eyes #9)

As described by  calendar.com, "National Dance Day is observed each year on the last Saturday in July.  Created as a day to raise awareness about and encourage Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and combat obesity."


In our house, any bit of music is usually met with dance.  It doesn't matter if it's the radio, a TV commercial or a song we've chosen to play.  The dance might be just a little wiggle or an all out, full family room performance. While I'm treated to these feats on a daily basis, rarely am I lucky enough to catch them on video.

Today, as the US celebrates National Dance Day, I was lucky enough to catch my 2 year old, Mr. L. signing his celebration, though!  Do you see it?!


video

Even tiny infants sometimes bless us with their own dances.  What do your little ones love to dance to? What about you?


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Life-Saving Bubbles {Part 1}

OK, maybe not literally life saving...but it sure seems like it some days!

Each group of families I've worked with has been quite different from the last.  Some really enjoy music and will turn lots of different props in to drums, trumpets, or other creative instruments.  Other groups would have been happy playing with nothing but rubber ducks for the whole session.


There is one thing that is always a hit, though.  It doesn't matter the age of the little ones in the class - 2 months, 20 months, all of two years - they are all equally enthralled.   It doesn't matter how many older siblings are also in attendance.  It doesn't matter who's starting to get grumpy or even who's upset that we've put away the fun toys we'd been playing with.  Any time I start blowing bubbles, I have a group of engaged, positive participants.  Some like to try to catch the bubbles, others enjoy using just their pointer finger to pop the little spheres of joy, still others just enjoy watching them float by.

Drive around on any warm (or even almost warm) day, and you'll see plenty of kids - of all ages - having a blast with bubbles.  There's just something about bubbles that draws everyone in.

Bubbles are a Life Saver!

I have even pulled bubbles out in a department store in order to entertain both of my kids.  Shopping with Mommy and Daddy is fun for only a short time.  Especially when Daddy needs new shoes. They need to be found, tried on, compared - it takes time, and it gets boring pretty quickly.

Instead of chasing toddlers in different directions between racks of shoes - that gets old for Mommy pretty quickly - I pull out the bubbles from my purse.  I have bought myself 10 minutes or more of happy children as we giggle and pop.  Now, I do this as discretely and as politely as possible - avoiding any merchandise or other customers, but at the same time unapologetically.  I'm doing the best I can to keep my kids happily contained for the better of everyone in the store.  On the days I let my self get overwhelmed and forget I have bubbles, the results are less than fabulous.

That's the reason I hand out little vials of bubbles with my business cards.  I like being able to pass along something that - just like early communication skills - can save the day!

Let's Make Our Own!

(This post was sponsored by Whole Foods Market who provided the ingredients used to make these bubbles to me free of cost. All opinions and wording are my own.)

With all the fun bubbles bring, I thought it would be fun to make some of our own - big ones that don't break immediately.

I found two recipes at pbs.org, gathered the needed supplies, and set to work.


Corn Syrup Recipe

We started with the recipe this recipe - I made our recipe 1/4 the size since this was a test batch.


We measured, poured and mixed very carefully.  (I totally forgot about microwaving, as we were all excited to try it out....we'll warm it up next time and see if the results change at all.)




















I fashioned a couple of quick bubble wands out of pipe cleaners we had on hand, and we set to testing our concoction.


SUCCESS!


These bubbles were very easy to form, and, though they easily popped as soon as they hit the driveway, we did manage to "catch" a few.  As a bonus, our corn syrup happened be vanilla flavored, so our bubbles smelled yummy too!



Once we played with those for a little while, we mixed up the second recipe, which was supposed to make BIG bubbles.

Glycerin Recipe

Again, I made a 1/4 sized test batch.


Since this version suggested an overnight rest, we mixed it up and set it aside before heading in for dinner.

The next day, we brought our supplies over to Grandpa's house to try out during our visit. My husband and I fashioned the bubble makers out of straws and some cotton twine we had on hand, and set out to make some giant bubbles.



We delicately poured the solution from the canning jar we used for transportation  into a baking pan.
I could tell immediately that we were going to have to quickly figure out what "Plan B" was going to be.

With two excited kiddos wanting bubbles, we gave it a shot anyway with more parental involvement than we'd planned on.  Being as careful as possible, almost every bubble I tried to form broke before I even got the bubble maker out of the solution.  (I even tried doubling the glycerin, but to no avail.)

We did finally get to see one short-lived, not as giant as we'd hoped, bubble!



It was going to take more research and materials than I could offer immediately to get to see our giant bubbles.  Slightly disappointed, but distracted by getting to feed Grandpa's chickens, we put our bubble supplies away.

Luckily, I knew the perfect person to ask for advice!  Stop back soon to see how we finally got to see big bubbles!

Life-Saving Bubbles {Part 2}

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

7 Sensational Reasons Your Family Needs Signing Smart

There are a litany of reasons I would encourage any family to sign with their children, especially with the Signing Smart program.  Families who supplement spoken language interactions with their children using American Sign Language (ASL) signs meaningful to them are enhancing both early communication and long term learning. Below is a list of my favorite reasons for choosing to sign with little ones using the Signing Smart program.




(Want to start signing with your own child?  Check out www.signingsmart.com for a workshop or play class near you!  Are you in the Northeast Ohio area? Please contact me directly so we can start your communication journey right away!)



1. Reduced Frustration and Tantrums

 - Children as young a 7 months (even younger on occasion) can express their wants and needs
 - Toddlers can clarify their speech
 - Did you know that many tantrums stem from frustration over not being understood?

2. 100% American Sign Language

 - Many infant and toddler sign language programs actually use made up gestures instead of REAL Sign Language
     - If you're going to put out the effort to learn a language, learn one that others can understand too!
     - Language facilitates language - the brain favors organized language units
 - Consistency
     - No need to try to remember all the invented gestures you've developed
     - Is your gesture for CAR different than another caregiver in your child's life?  Keep everyone on            the same page!
 - Limitless Vocabulary
     - Want to use a sign that isn't part of the program?  There's lots of places you can discover new signs
 - Expand your learning to communicate with other ASL users
     - Signing Smart gives you the perfect base to grow into learning a whole new language
     - Create connections in the brains now to facilitate bilingualism later
     - Communicate with deaf children and adults

3. Better Understand Your Child's Linguistic and Cognitive Milestones

 - What counts as a word?  How many words does your child have in his/her vocabulary?
 - When can you expect your child to start signing back and how many signs can you expect when?
 - When will your child start speaking?
 - Learn the answers to all of these and more!
 - Signing Smart was developed by two mothers who happen to be developmental psychologists, Dr. Michelle Anthony and Dr. Reyna Lindert

4. Enhanced feeling of Empowerment for Your Child

 - Children can initiate conversation
 - Children can share what they wonder about, remember, and find interesting
 - Children can let you know when they're hurt, sick, or what they like or dislike

5. Research-Proven Strategies Make Signing Fun, Easy, and Successful

 - Anyone can learn to sign with their child because Signing Smart gives you the tools and strategies to make it happen
 - Any child can learn to sign - many signs, especially early ones, use natural movements and hand shapes for baby

6. Open a Window into Your Child's Mind

 - Get to know their likes and dislikes
 - Even though the muscles needed for speech aren't fully developed until well after 1 year, babies are ready to communicate long before that!

7. Advanced Linguistic and Cognitive Abilities

 - Learning is triggered via multiple senses
 - Research has shown children who sign have stronger linguistic abilities and higher IQs through the elementary years


What are your favorite reasons for signing with your little one?  Comment below!