Rocket Ride

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An EASY activity perfect for snow days and guaranteed to get many-a-giggle**!

What you need:

~ A balloon

~ A paperclip

~ An index card or other scrap of sturdy-ish paper

~ Some stickers or drawing supplies + your imagination

What to do:

~ Grab your index card and either slap your favorite character sticker or invent a new adventure ready character and draw her/him on there.

~ Take your paperclip and pierce it through the index card. Then feed the index card around until it’s at the skinny, far away end of the paperclip.

~ Next fetch that trusty balloon and pierce the character laden paperclip through the blowing up end of the balloon.

~ Inflate the balloon, have a crazy countdown and release!!!

Enjoy the giggles as your characters zooms around the room!

**note: guarantee ONLY valid for WhyNotters with a solid sense of whimsy and an appreciation of the little, silly things in life!

Wanna get Wackier? WhyNot!

~ Have races! Who’s character can go the furthest? Who’s can stay off the ground the longest?

~ What happens if instead of putting the character on a paperclip you stuff him/her inside?

Awesome Launcher

PREPARE TO LAUNCH**YOUR**AWESOME! Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.23.57 PM

With this mini, DIY, catapult you can launch most anything: mini-marshmallows, raisins, tiny toys, peas, your awesomeness… whatever your awesome self desires. Ready? Get to it!

What you need:

~ A cap or other small cup-shaped something to be your launch pad

~ Glue (Elmer’s worked)

~ 6 or more popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, or craft sticks (personally I think this is a great excuse to eat 6 or more popsicles)

~ 4 rubber bands

~ Things to launch (your call!)

& one wacky catapult operator

What to do:

~ Glue your water bottle cap to one stick near the end. Let that dry. This will be your launch pad stick.

~ Stack 4 sticks up and rubber band them together – the blue rubber bands in my photo.

~ Take your launch pad stick and one last stick and sandwich them around the 4 stick stack (say that 10 times fast!). Use a rubber band to crisscross the two sticks and the stacked sticks – see green rubber band in picture. Improvise here, just get it fairly tight and keep this joint down hear the bottom of your two sticks to get best leverage.

~ Use your final rubber band to secure the launch pad stick and the base stick together – tan rubber band.

~ Ready… set… LAUNCH!!!!

Want more?

– What happens if you add more sticks to the stack?

– What happens with longer sticks? Shorter sticks? Plastic sticks?

– Does the weight of the thing you are launching matter?

Make It Rain, Yo!

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April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, I dunno about where you live but weather in these parts has been downright wacky. So here’s a little weather inspired activity.

Note: Part of the way we all cope with life is by getting used to stuff that happens. What’s happening here is common, so it can feel kinda “meh,” but I challenge you, take a minute and notice the cool science-y, wonder-filled stuff that’s really happening. If you need to, pretend you’re a little kid. Let the everyday wonder in!

To make it rain in your house you will need:

– A glass jar (like a mason jar, but I bet other glass containers will work, try it!)

– Smokin’ hot water

– A plate that will totally cover the mouth of your jar

– A bunch of ice. (aside: what is a group of ice called? lettuce groups are heads of lettuce, grapes congregate in bunches… what about ice?)

& of course, some Wacky experimenters!

How to simulate rain:

~ Take your smoking’/steamin’ hot water and pour a few inches into your glass jar.

~ Pop the plate over the mouth of your jar and trap that heat in. Let it hang out in there for a few minutes.

~ Dump a pile of ice on top.

~ You will see the condensation form on the sides and the drips will slide down like RAIN!

Wanna know why this happens or what’s happening when those April showers start? The inspiration for this Wactivity and the science behind it can be found here!

Marshnana ChocoNutter

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It’s been a while since I did a tasty kitchen-based activity, so here you go WhyNotters. Enjoy.

What you need:

~ 1 Banana

~ Fixin’s: we used mini marshmallows, chocolate chunks, and peanut butter (hence the Marshnana ChocoNutter name, but you could use any combo that makes your tastebuds tango).

~ some tinfoil, a knife, and an oven

& one or more wacky Why Not kinda cooks

What to do: Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.01.21 PM

~ Slice your unpeeled banana longwise without cutting all the way through & set it on your tinfoil

~ Slap those fixin’s in there however your heart desires

~ Pop the yumminess into the toaster oven (or regular oven on lowish heat – try 250) for about 3 minutes

~ Delight in the Deliciocity!

Please share what toppings you’d pick!

I’m always interested in new flavors of yum.

Note: the inspiration for this can be found on my Wactivities Pinterest Page – those brave folks did it on the grill! Fancy, right?

Pop Art

Here’s a way to get wacky with bubble season, WhyNotters. So easy! So fun! So messy! So surprising!

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What you need:

– Bubble solution

– Some small bowls/containers

– Paper

– Food coloring

& one, or more, wacky creators

What to do:

– Go outside. (I love me a good mess but this, my friends, is an outdoor wactivity for sure)

– Pour a little of your bubble solution into your containers

– Add food coloring to each lil pot* (it’s OK to be heavy handed here)Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.25.45 PM

– Blow bubbles onto your paper and watch the magic happen!

Wanna do more?

– What if you added glitter? Would that work?

– What if you did this on other colored paper?

– Would it work on an old T-shirt? Kind of an updated tie-dye?Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.25.32 PM

* If you are so inclined, this is a good time to work on some color theory!

** Inspiration on the Wactivity Pinterest page!

Solar S’mores

Summer is a perfect time for s’mores. If your house doesn’t lend itself to open flames, then harness the power of the sun. Why not!

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What you need:

~ an old pizza box

~ scissors or a knife

~ tinfoil

~ black paper

~ plastic wrap

~ tape

~ S’more fixin’s

~ a sunny day & one wacky WhyNotter!

What to do:

1) Draw 3 sides of a square on the top of your box about an inch in from the edge (using the hinged side as the 4th side of your square). Cut the three sides out so you have a new, smaller flip top.

2) Cover the new flip top with tinfoil, shiny side showing and line the bottom of the box too.

3) Slap that black construction paper in the bottom of the box to attract some heat

4) Lay out your delicious s’more ingredients as shown

5) Wrap the bottom of the box in the plastic wrap. Tape might come in handy here. The goal here is to trap heat and keep bugs out.

6) Sit it in a sunny spot and angle the lid** so that the sun is reflected down onto your s’more halves.

7) Wait for the sun to create some delicious melty-ness then eat & enjoy!

**Depending on the angle you need, you might need to prop the box open with a stick, fork, or something.

(We found this idea on Pinterest and we changed it up mostly by using less tape and precision. You can find the link on the Wactivity Pinterest Page!

Ghoulishly Good Green Smoothies

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What you need:

~ A blender for smoothies

~ Milk or almond milk, banana, spinach/kale (I know, I know – I swear you won’t taste it and neither will your kids), peanut butter (or almond or soy butter), ice

~ eyeball sprinkles (found at a grocery store this time of year!)

~ optional: halloween-ish sprinkles & straws

~ required: One (or more) Wacky WhyNotter(s)

What to do:

Toss all those ingredients into your blender and mercilessly blend away. Pour your creepy concoction into your glass, float an eyeball or two (sprinkle away) and enjoy your devilishly delicious (and super healthy) smoothie!

Add in chia or flax seed!

Note: my two year old gobbled these up like the goblin he is!

Find more wacktivities and the source for this idea on my Wactivity Pinterest Page!

Wacky Lava Lamp

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Create some wacky water patterns in a water bottle or jar in this Lava Lamp creation! What you’ll need:

• 1 Used Water Bottle or Jar (or something clear)

• Water

• Food Coloring

• Vegetable Oil

• Salt

• 1 Flashlight

• Glitter (optional)

• And of course, 1 Wacky Experimenter

Step 1: Make sure the bottle or jar is EMPTY, and you’re clearly able to see into the bottle.

Step 2: Fill the empty bottle or jar THREE-QUARTERS (3/4) FULL with water.

Step 3: Add just a few drops of the food coloring of your choice. (Also add glitter if you’re using it).

Step 4: Add the vegetable oil (almost to the top, but leave some space), and let the oil rise to the top.

Step 5: Now add about a spoonful of salt at a time to create the LAVA! Hold the flashlight behind or (carefully) underneath to make the lava more noticeable.

Try This!

Add salt again to make more lava! Add some glitter for more sparkle! Enjoy!

Side Notes:

How does the water act like lava? It’s science! The water is more dense than the oil (it’s heavier), so the oil floats to the top. When the salt is added, the oil attaches to the grains of salt creating blobs (lava). Since salt is denser than water, it sinks to the bottom and takes the blobs of oil with it! It rises back to the top after the salt dissolves because the oil has nothing to latch onto anymore. COOL!

What color did you try?

Frozen Fourth of July Wactivity

It’s the eve of the eve of the big freedom fest and you are frantically fumbling through Pinterest looking for that Holiday activity that will make you look like you’ve got it all together, right? (Oh, just me? Anyways…) A fourth of July activity to the rescue! WhyNotters, you are saved.

Frozen 4th

What you need:

~ an ice cube tray + freezer

~ red + blue fruit of your choice**

~ fruit + water

What to do – No rocket science here folks (perhaps next week):

1) Plop your blueberries or cherries or raspberries or whatever into your ice cube tray.

2) Top off the cubes with water.

3) Slip that beauty into the freezer

4) Wait

5) Pop those festive cuties into a glass and ice down some bubbly of your choice!

Happy 4th of July all!

Find more wacktivities on my Wactivity Pinterest Page!

Wearable Paint

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Need something fresh and jazzy for the start of school?

Or want an activity to get you through those last long days of summer? Either way, this is for you!

What you need:

– Fabric paint (or puffy paint)

– Wax paper

– Ribbon, string, twisty ties, or other closure mechanisms.

– One wacky Whynotter willing to try stuff out!

What to do:

– Get to doodling with your fabric paint! Make designs and lines, swoops and swirls on your wax paper. If you want it to be a functional bracelet or necklace, remember to create little circles or loops at the end of each design.

– Wait and wait and wait for it to dry ALL the way.

– Carefully peel back your creations, add your closure of choice, and rock your new fashions!

The link to this inspiration is on the Wacktivity Pinterest page! Enjoy!

Super Surprising Spring

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If you live on the East Coast, you are experiencing winter and spring battle it out. Winter won’t give up, but spring won’t either (I promise)! Here’s a wactivity that proves the power of spring (& life & mother nature & all sorts of cool stuff).

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What you need:

~ Some seeds (we used broccoli seeds and chia seeds)

~ Sponges (we used new ones, but I wonder if old ones would work too)

~ a Dish to set them in and some water in a spray bottle

~ a Sunny window

~ one excited and patient Wactivity-er!

What to do:

~ Dampen your sponges (not soaking, not dry, somewhere in between) and put them in your dish. We used a glass baking dish.

~ Put one kind of seed on each sponge (if you are using chia seeds, get them wet in a little bowl first, then spread the chia/water/seed goo on the sponge)

~ Use a spray bottle to give the little seeds a shower that soaks ’em pretty well.

~ Set the dish in a sunny window.

~ Every day, be sure to keep those seeds & sponges damp. Every night, consider covering the dish to create a cozy, greenhouse effect.

~ Watch, wait and be AMAZED! Those seeds will sprout without soil!Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.01.12 PM

If spring can come to a sponge, surely it will come to all of us too. Why Not?!

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Find more wacktivities on my Wactivity Pinterest Page!

Oobleck

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A Solid and Liquid at the same time?! This mysterious chemical reaction is called Oobleck. This experiment is a hands on, messy one, but so cool! The concoction appears to be liquid when you pick it up, but feels solid! It slowly sort of melts into a liquid, but as soon as you touch it, it turns back into a solid!?

To make Oobleck you’ll need:

• Cornstarch

• 1 container (an old yogurt container will do)

• Water

• And of course, 1 Wacky Creator

Step 1: Pour a handful of cornstarch into your container.

Step 2: Slowly add water to the container, stirring until it looks like syrup.Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 4.46.40 PM

Step 3: Now try squeezing some in your hands and try making solid shapes! Is it a solid? A liquid? BOTH?! Cool.

Try This!

Add a few drops of food coloring to make colorful Oobleck!

Side Notes

Maybe put down some newspaper or a towel to make clean up faster! ENJOY!

Scavenger Hunt

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End of summer got you down?

Here’s some fun to have around town!

Your weekly Wactivity is a treat:

A scavenger hunt you can complete!

Just make a list and off you go,

Fun and smiles are sure to flow!

Additional ideas:

– for little kids: photos of things to look for

– for repeat use: laminate it and use it over and over

– for rainy days: make a list of things to find in your house

(Message me if you want me to send you this typed up as a word document!)

Back To School Sculpture

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a fine-motor-activity-that’s-so-artsy-and-fun-no-one-will-notice!

School’s around the corner and getting fingers ready for writing again is key.

What you need:

– Pipe cleaners

– Practice Golf balls (easily ordered online, thank you AmazonPrime), Wiffle balls will work for the younger set.

What to do:

Take your “ingredient” list and GO TO TOWN!! Make artsy sculptures or have races to see who can fill all the holes first. Whatever sounds good to you!

Oil & Water(colors)

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.38.35 PMSimple, fun, and science, this lil Wactivity might just make you look at watercolors with more wonder.

What you need:

~ Oil + a Qtip, small paint brush, or dropper. I used canola oil, olive will work too.

~ Water

~ Watercolors (if you have liquid ones it will look even cooler, more vibrant, etc – we were fresh out, so we used the old, patty pan kind)

~ A tray or mess-safe table to work on

~ Paper

& one or more wacky WhyNotters!

What to do:

~ Paint, smear, or drip your oil onto your paper! Have fun with it.

~ Let it soak in and dry for a bit.

~ Get your paint on & enjoy! Watch how the watercolors resist the oil.

Other things to try:

~ Again, if you’ve got liquid watercolors, give that a go. It’s even cooler.

~ Try painting first then dropping the oil on. What happens?

The inspiration for this is on my Pinterest page.

Leprechaun Catching Goo

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Idea by the first ever Guest Wactivity Poster Lyssa Horvath – teacher extraordinaire!! Welcome, Lyssa, and thank you for your awesome, timely Wactivity!


Hey there WhyNotters, have you ever tried to catch a leprechaun? I’ve tried setting traps using boxes and snares, but those sneaky leprechauns are always getting away. This St. Patrick’s Day when the leprechauns come out to cause mischief I’m going use gold coins as bait and try to catch one in some sticky leprechaun goo – how would you catch a leprechaun?

What you need:

~Elmer’s glue

~Borax

~Food coloring or liquid watercolor

~Warm water

-Optional-

Ziploc gallon bags

Directions:

In a bowl (or Ziploc gallon bag as I prefer) mix together one cup of Elmer’s glue and one cup of warm water until well mixed. Mix in a few drops of favorite food coloring or liquid watercolor (or mix colors!) – we mixed yellow and blue (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day).

In a separate cup (or bowl), dissolve 1 teaspoon of Borax in ½ cup of warm water (you can substitute Borax mixture for liquid starch).

Slowly add the Borax mixture to the water, glue, color mixture and stir (or shake and mix if you opted to use a gallon bag). Immediately you’ll feel the long strands of molecules starting to connect, and the mixture firming up. You can add more Borax solution to make your Gak more sticky, or add less for it to be more stringy. Hey, you’re the head slime mixologist – do it your way!

When you’re finished making your Gak, seal it up in a Ziploc bag for safekeeping, or until you are ready to use it to catch a leprechaun!

Variations of Gak include using clear glue and glitter!

Here are some Whynotters at Arch Street Preschool making their gak! We’re going to put it out with some pots of gold and hope a leprechaun gets his feet stuck! Happy hunting!

4th of July Whoopie Pies

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Last year, I posted this delicious 4th of July Wactivity on July 3rd. At the time, there were only about 150 followers of this page. I’m guessing that exactly 0 of them rushed out and got to baking before the big holiday. So now, one year wiser, I’m giving the nearly 425 of you a little lead time with this holiday-sensitive Wactivity.

Weekly Wednesday WhyNot Wactivity: 4th of July Whoopie Pies!

Normally, I am a bake from scratch kinda gal, but when something is this easy, this fun, this kid & adult-friendly, and this good – I say, WhyNot!?!

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 Here’s whatcha do:

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees

 Line baking sheets with parchment paper (if you can, do 4…  you’ll need that many – and if you’re working with lil bakers it’s  good cutting practice!)

 1 Box Cake Mix, your favorite kind (we did white and also red  velvet for 4th of July effect)

 1 egg

 1/4 cup oil

 1/4 cup buttermilk

Do the appropriate pouring, cracking, and dumping to get all the above into a bowl.

Use an electric mixer to beat those ingredients together (NOTE: do not follow the directions on the box – just add this one egg, oil + buttermilk). It’ll be pretty thick when you are done.

Now use an actual teaspoon measuring spoon to spoon out small rounded teaspoons. I know, I know, sounds a bit tedious and precise, but you’ll wanna do this to get evenly sized cookies — perfect for tops and bottoms!

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 1.44.28 PMBake for 8-10 minutes until they are NEARLY done (still soft).

Cool completely (this takes patience but it really matters otherwise your frosting gets so melty it squooges right out of your pie…).

Assemble with frosting in the middle.

They are delicious and amazing right now! But to really add some fireworks and 4th of July fantabulousness, roll the outsides in red and blue sprinkles!

Eat and Enjoy! Please let us know what you think – and share pics if you got ’em.

Happy 4th of July, WhyNotters!

Bubble Printing

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Here’s a fun way to show your artistic skills and decorate plain old paper! All you need is some Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 5.06.08 PMpaint, bubble solution, a plate of some sort, a straw, and a piece of paper! And of course, an artist.

Step 1: Fill the plate or bowl with bubble solution and paint.

Step 2: Have the artist blow bubbles in the solution until the bubbles take over the top of the plate.Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 5.04.48 PM

Step 3: Gently put the paper on top of the bubbles and POOF! No more plain paper!

What will you use your bubble print for?? Let us know! Enjoy!

Try This:

Use different colors for a colorful variety on your paper. Be careful not to get the paper too wet…then it gets kind of soggy and hard to use.

Candy Cane Sunset

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It may not get easier than this WhyNotters, so grab your candy cane, a shallow dish or plate and some water, ’cause it’s Candy Cane Sunset Experiment time!

What to do:

– Unwrap that Candy Cane and place it on your plate.

– Pour some water over it…

Then watch in WONDER!

If I knew how to do a time elapsed video, this one would be worth it! If you know how, please share!

Cold Rocks

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Hello WhyNotters! Welcome back to your weekly, Wednesday Wactivities.

Most of you Willa and the Whynots fans are somewhere in the US where it is shockingly cold. This week’s Wactivity is one I heard of ages ago but was waiting for just this kind of weather to do it. See, the Polar Vortex is good for something!

What you need:

– Balloons

– Water

– Food coloring (optional)

– REALLY cold weather

& One or more Wacky WhyNotters

What to do:

– Put a drop or twelve of food coloring (if you choose) into your balloon, then fill it with water and tie it shut.

– Repeat to your heart’s delight!

– Set those colorful water balloons out in that frigid weather and wait.

– When they are solid, pierce the balloon itself and peel it off. You are left with some awesome COLD ROCKS.

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Take it further??? WhyNot!

– Try adding glitter or other teensy objects to the balloon and the water!

– What happens if you use those twisting animal-makin’ balloons?

– What if you use juice or soda?

– What happens if you nestle your balloons on the ground vs. if you leave them on the pavement?

Interesting Notes:

1. We had some trouble with filling the balloons because the water coming out of our taps was SO cold that it was making the balloons contract, resulting in water spurting out all over the place! We had more success with warm water.

2. See those cool crystal structures in our balloons? We put ours on the ground and the part that was touching the earth was warmer. Some of it was even still liquid, despite the 12 degree weather! Mother Nature is so cool!!!