September 2011 - momgineer

stained glass jack-o-lanterns

My first idea for making these was to use crayon shavings and then heat them up between wax paper. It worked out okay but the colors ran a little too much - it's not really clear what we were going for! I think it would work for older kids, or kids who are more meticulous about placing the crayon shavings (read: not my kids!), or moms who had the time and patience to hang around with an iron for awhile. However, my second idea worked out much better for my kids, who like to color furiously and rarely stay inside any lines. The only trick to this is that you will be dealing with a warm plate, so you have to make sure it is hot enough to melt the crayon, but not so hot as to burn little hands.

I'll show the first method here anyway, though after doing some research, I am not the first to think of it! Check out The Artful Parent to see how she did her stained glass projects. Beautiful!

First method:
What you need:
  • crayons, shredded or cut, and separated into bowls
  • jack-o-lantern template
  • wax paper, twice as long as your template
  • plate (or other defined work area)
  • tape, to secure wax paper to plate
Place your template on the plate, and the wax paper on top. Tape the wax paper to the tape to keep it from moving around. Sprinkle the crayon shavings on top. Fold over wax paper and either iron on low or microwave on low for 30 seconds at a time until the shavings have melted enough. Let cool. Cut out to desired final shape.

Getting started.
Crayon bits placed.


    Second method, that worked better for us (way less messy, though not quite as pretty and vibrant):
    What you need:
    • warmed plate (I warmed mine in the microwave)
    • wax paper
    • jack-o-lantern template, if desired
    • crayons
    • tape
    Place your template and wax paper on the warmed plate. Tape the wax paper to the plate to keep it from moving around. Press crayon into plate and hold for a few seconds until it starts to melt, then color as you would color paper. Fold over wax paper. Let cool. Cut out to desired final shape.

    Easy peas-y!
    This was so much fun we ended up doing a bunch of them!

     stained "glass" jack-o-lanterns
      momgineer Meredith Anderson

      STEM education is my passion!

      quick light box

      I have always liked the light table at our local children's museum. Due to several recent posts exploring light at Play At Home Mom, I have really been coveting a light table. While I would love to have one, I can't justify the cost without knowing how much use it would get. For our purposes at this point in time, I decided to make a quick test model just to see how long a light table would hold interest.

      Playing with color.
      What you need:
      • Bin or box with a translucent lid
      • Aluminum foil
      • LED flashlights (regular, if that's all you have!) or holiday lights (a resourceful mom I know used these!)
      • Objects that allow light through!
        • marbles
        • stones
        • tissue paper
        • magna tiles(if you have them)
        • clear plastic bottle (optional) 
        • x-rays

      Line your box with aluminum foil. Turn on all the flashlights. Put the lid on.
      What it looks like inside.
      Turning the flashlights on end so they point toward the lid works well, but was too difficult to see in photos.
      Voila! Two minute light table!
      It's not perfect, but it definitely served its purpose. I will probably use a larger bin next time, but everything else worked well enough to do again. The tissue paper was great for making colors!
      momgineer Meredith Anderson

      STEM education is my passion!

      kefir bottle bowling

      This is a great activity for a rainy day, or a sick day, which is what we are having today! All you need is a ball and some saved containers. I've found that kefir bottles work really well for bowling, and 6 seem to be enough for the game. You can set them up in a 3-2-1 pattern or however your child would like - in a row, 2 by 2, etc.

      • Add some dried beans, corn, or rice into the bottles to help keep them from falling over too easily
      • Define your bowling area with something like a yoga mat
      • Keep score: We have a spare count as 10 points, and a strike as 15. Great math practice!
      Our bowling alley
      Filling the bottles
      In action!
      momgineer Meredith Anderson

      STEM education is my passion!

      quick dry erase board

      What you need:
      • piece of wood/plastic/cardboard the size of your dry erase board
      • plain white contact paper
      • dry erase markers and eraser 
      • general purpose spray adhesive (optional)
      This isn't a perfect dry erase board in that it doesn't really erase all the way. However, it erases better than the dry erase boards from the dollar store, and you can make it in whatever shape you'd like! I used spray adhesive to increase the likelihood it would stay attached to the wood.

      Materials to make the board.
      Testing it out.
      If you have any chalkboard paint lying around, it might be fun to paint the reverse side with it!
      momgineer Meredith Anderson

      STEM education is my passion!