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Christmas in July

(A throwback blog post from last holiday season
to get you in the spirit for Christmas in July!)

By Guest Blogger: Becky A., A Place To Nest

Since it’s November now, I don’t have to hide the fact that I’ve secretly been listening to Christmas music since before Halloween, right? Given that my brain is centered towards all things Christmas, it is only appropriate (and fun) for me to share what goodies I picked up from MindWare.com this year to give to my daughters as gifts and fun winter-day activities.

Dig It Up! 

I’ll start with a favorite from last year… Dig It Up! Last year I got the Dig it Up! Fossils & Minerals set that I divided in half so each girl could get six mystery fossils to excavate.  Those ended up being one of their favorite gifts once my youngest daughter realized that we hadn’t given her a lump of coal in her stocking!

Given that that set was such a hit, this year I decided to pick up the Dig it Up! Discoveries: Sea Life and Dig it Up! Discoveries: Wild Animals sets for my youngest daughter.  She won’t have to share this year so I foresee many hours of dedicated excavating in her future and I have a feeling that the Dig it Up! Discoveries series is going to be a Christmas tradition in our household.

Unbored Traditions 

Speaking of traditions, I’m planning to start a new one this New Year’s Eve with the help of MindWare.

I picked up the Unbored Time Capsule and we plan to complete the activities inside, as well as adding our own pictures and moments, to commemorate and preserve who our family was in 2017. I’m not sure how long we will wait to re-open our time capsule (mostly because I’m impatient and I’m not sure I can wait too many years to peek inside again) but whenever we decide to open it, I know it’s going to be fun to look back and remember this special New Year’s Eve.

Once the excitement and anticipation of Christmas and New Year’s is over, we still have many months of cold, dark, yucky, icy and snowy weather ahead. Can you tell that I don’t like winter? I hate being cold and I hate not being able to go anywhere because the weather doesn’t allow us to get out of the house as I like to do every day. With that in mind, I’m preparing myself with some fun indoor activities to keep the girls busy and having fun!

Even though I hate snow outside, I’m perfectly fine with creating it inside with MindWare’s Make Your Own Snow Globe kits. I picked up the Make Your Own Glitter Snow Globes and the Make Your Own Glitter Photo Snow Globes sets.  I know both girls will love creating these adorable little snow globes and displaying them in their rooms!

Educational Gift Giving 

Did you think I was going to share some MindWare products and NOT mention some things that are educational? As a homeschool Mom, I’m all about things that are fun and sneakily educational! The girls will never know that they’re learning a thing! (Evil Chuckle!)

The Logic Links Puzzle Box and Noodlers Puzzle Box fit that category perfectly and aren’t so easy that my oldest daughter, or even my husband and I, couldn’t be challenged by them! I’m also a sucker for a good dot-to-dot for number practice and plain old entertainment but MindWare doesn’t do anything typical. Even their dot-to-dot books are unique like this Extreme Dot to Dot Stickers: Book 4 with STICKERS! Stickers make everything more fun and I can’t wait to give this book to my youngest daughter to play with! It’s the perfect amount of dots for her level (they have other dot-to-dot books with WAYYYY more dots) and will keep her entertained for a long time!

MindWare is such a unique company so when you find yourself tiring of all the typical gifts that are out there in the stores… take a peek at MindWare.com and you are sure to find toys, games, gifts and activities that you’ve never seen before!

About Becky:

Becky is a busy stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom of 2 girls.  Her passion is helping other women to care for their homes, their families and themselves! She loves sharing all of that and more on her YouTube channel, A Place to Nest.  www.youtube.com/aplacetonest

How are you celebrating Christmas in July? Share with us in the comments below, and at @MindWareToys on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

The post Christmas in July appeared first on MindWare Blog - Brainy Toys for Kids of All Ages.

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#MakeItMonday – Watch for DIY content Mondays throughout the summer!

(Safe!) Fireworks in a Jar

You will need:
  • 2 small plastic cups
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fork
  • Blue and red food coloring (we used leftover coloring from Science Academy: Bath Bomb Lab!)
  • Large clear container

How to make:

Step 1: Pour a small amount of oil into the individual cups.

Step 2: Add food coloring to each cup.

We started with 10 drops but eventually added 30 to each cup. (This was probably too much since our water turned blue right away!)

Step 3: Mix the oil and food coloring as much as possible using the fork.

Look at all the little dots of the coloring!

Step 4: Add the oil and food coloring mixture to the water.

Watch as willow-type fireworks break out!

What we learned:

Oil and water don’t mix.

Water molecules are polar – they have a small positive charge at one end, a small negative charge at the other end, and they stick to each other. Oil molecules are non-polar which means they have no charge. Because of this, oil molecules are more attracted to each other than to water molecules, and water molecules are more attracted to each other than to oil molecules, so oil and water don’t mix!

Oil and food coloring don’t mix.

Food coloring is mostly made of water!

Oil floats on top of water.

Oil is less dense than water (a spoonful of oil weighs less than a spoonful of water), so it is lighter and it floats to the top. Water is denser, so it’s heavier and it sinks to the bottom.

Do you have an idea for a #MakeItMonday post? Tell us in the comments, and share with us @MindWareToys on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

The post #MakeItMonday: Fireworks in a Jar appeared first on MindWare Blog - Brainy Toys for Kids of All Ages.

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#MakeItMonday – Watch for DIY content Mondays throughout the summer!

Shadow Science
(using Q-BA-MAZE!) You will need:
  • Q-BA-MAZE cubes
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Sidewalk/Driveway/flat space to place your build and use the chalk
  • Sunny day!
How to make it:

Step 1: Build your Q-BA-MAZE tower. Our build did not function as a Q-BA-MAZE marble run (functionality isn’t part of this experiment), but yours sure could!

Step 2: Put your build in the sun and trace it with sidewalk chalk.

Step 3: Leave your build in the sun and check to see how the shadow has changed! (Ours fell over in the wind – oops! – so our rebuild looks slightly different from the original, but you can still tell how much the shadow has changed.)

10 a.m.

12:30 p.m.

3 p.m.

Why do the shadows change?

Shadows are created when an object blocks some of the Sun’s light. The length of the shadow created depends on how high or low the Sun is in the sky.
The sun is highest around 12 p.m., and changes in respect to the horizon. If the Sun is low to the horizon the shadow will be long; if the Sun is high overhead the shadow will be short.

Bonus Step 4: Try to rebuild the Q-BA-MAZE cubes to recreate the new shadows!

Do you have an idea for a #MakeItMonday post? Tell us in the comments, and share with us @MindWareToys on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

The post #MakeItMonday: Shadow Science appeared first on MindWare Blog - Brainy Toys for Kids of All Ages.

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#MakeItMonday – Watch for DIY content Mondays throughout the summer!

Paint Your Own Wood Pallet Sign

You will need: How to make it:

Step 1: Prep your space – we used a brown paper shopping bag.

Step 2: Plan your design

Step 3: Paint your pallet

Design #1 – Blue-tinted white wash background with provided stencil design on top

Step 4: Paint background (and allow time to dry fully!)

To make a white wash:

On a disposable plate, mix together white paint and a small dab of the color of your choosing. Use more or less white paint to adjust the tint of
the white wash. Wet your paintbrush so it is damp but not soaking wet. With the wet paintbrush, pick up some of your white wash mixture and apply to the pallet.

Don’t add too much water! And, mix a lot – the wood is porous so it will require more paint than the Paint Your Own Porcelain kits.

Step 5: After the background has dried, paint your final design.

Using the stencil: 

While using the provided stencil, press down on the stencil as you paint. Use small amounts of paint at a time to fill in the letter so that the paint does not bleed underneath your stencil, and let each letter to dry before painting the next.

Design #2 – Sponge Painted Background with DIY stencil design on top

Step 4: Paint background and allow time to dry fully

To sponge paint:

Create a unique textured look for your pallet background with the sponge brush. Gently dip the moistened sponge brush* into a small
pool of paint. Dab the sponge over the surface of the pallet until you are satisfied with the effect. Colors can be layered for a unique look.

*The sponge holds more water than you think!

Step 5: Plan and create your DIY stencil.

Make Your DIY Stencil:

Print a black and white image on computer paper sized to fit the 10” pallet. On the back side (white side) of the printed paper, liberally apply a layer of chalk. Flip the printed paper over and carefully place on you pallet where you would like to leave the chalk imprint. Using a sharpened pencil, trace all of the details of the design.

Step 5: Paint over your stenciled design.

Chalk can easily be painted over, and excess chalk is easily removed with a wet paintbrush.

Do you have an idea for a #MakeItMonday post? Tell us in the comments, and share with us @MindWareToys on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

The post #MakeItMonday: Paint Your Own Pallet appeared first on MindWare Blog - Brainy Toys for Kids of All Ages.

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