Tuesday, October 23, 2012

bath crayons and leaf lanterns

Bath Crayons
We were inspired by the Tubtime Crayons recipe in The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions.  We started by grating a bar of Ivory soap and adding it to 1/4 cup of warm water.  After stirring it, we separated the slippery soap 'dough' into 4 parts and added about 5 drops of food coloring to each part.
  The food coloring was kneaded into the soap mixture and we pressed it into popsicle molds.  Ice cube trays or cookie cutters could also be used to shape the bath crayons. My sensitive-to-textures girl wanted nothing to do with it at this point, but one of these girls loves to squish, shape, knead, and squelch so she lucked out on the job :)

We popped the soap into the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up and then took them out of the molds to continue drying over night.

After two batches, one with double the amount of food coloring, we wondered if a natural castile soap would also work.  The bath crayons looked similar when made with the castile soap, but for some reason they didn't leave much of a mark behind on the shower walls.
 I think perhaps the process of making these was more exciting than drawing with the final product, but now we have very colorful soap to use :)

Leaf Lanterns
We were inspired to make these from the book, Earthways:  Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children, but mostly improvised the actual construction of them.
Even though the peak of the autumn leaf color is over, there was no shortage of "here, hold these ones, mama, while I look for more."

 We brought our leaves in and arranged them between sheets of wax paper.  After ironing both sides on a low iron setting, we were ready to shape our lanterns.  We used fresh leaves instead of pressed ones, but it seemed to work just fine.

 We cut out circles of cardboard for the base.  We cut a small (1/2" or so) snip every inch around the bottom of the wax paper and folded the resulting tabs under.  We used a glue stick to attach the waxpaper around in a cylinder and also to attach the cylinder to the base.
 So simple to make and so pretty when lit up.  I especially love seeing the details of the leaves' veins lit up.

Other Stuff
After watching Bill Nye, the Science Guy's episodes about Bones & Muscles and Blood & Circulation, Camille and Sylvia paid close attention to their pulse rate after resting and after exercising and were surprised at how much quicker their pulse rates were after activity.  

We've also been watching a documentary about pandas and playing Zoo Tycoon on the computer.  Sylvia has been enjoying having Caddie Woodlawn read aloud to her, and Camille has been listening to George's Secret Key to the Universe by Stephen and Lucy Hawking on audio book.  It is a very engaging story with  fascinating science facts mixed in.  Camille and I glanced at each other with our jaws open in surprise several times while driving in the car and listening to this book.  We also giggled over some of the character's antics.

Let's see, what else?  Legos and Pirates 101 and Skip to My Lou, oh my!  Throw in a visit to the library, our favorite Whitaker's Farm Fresh Market store for locally grown and produced foods, and two play rehearsals, and I'd call that a very satisfying two days.


  1. Beautiful lanterns! My mom just bought The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions for us and we've been anxious to try some of them. Looks like fun!

  2. Thanks, Debbie. I think we have checked that book out of the library at least 3 times! We have enjoyed the Super Sidewalk Paint, the Magic Bubble Paint, and the Applesauce Cinnamon Dough. Probably others too, that I'm not remembering right now. Happy concocting!!


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