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Finding fun at home
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Finding fun at home

As students remain at home these next few weeks it is the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and have a little fun with them.

Central Middle School Teacher Juli Kline and her 3-year-old daughter Josie Hinkle took part in several fun, hands on, activities for all ages.

Juli and Josie

Safety first, Josie Hinkle washes her hands before she moves on to the next task. 

"The items needed can be found in most pantries and can provide hours of fun for all ages," Kline said. "Have fun, make a mess. It will all clean up easy enough. This is a perfect opportunity to make memories with your children."

The first activity is Kool-Aid play-dough. The recipe is 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1/2 cup salt, 1 pack of Kool-Aid powder, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and 1 cup hot water.

Josie demonstrated how easy it was to mix all the ingredients together as she made her pink play-dough. She said the mixture was a little warm and smelt like the Kool-Aid packet.

"This recipe can be combined over the stovetop or like we did you can mix it in a bowl," Kline said. "This activity is fun for all because no matter what age you are who doesn't love playing with play-dough?"

The next Juli and Josie project was Oobleck. Kline said this is from the Dr. Seuss book, "Bartholomew and the Oobleck."

The recipe for Oobleck is to combine 2 cups cornstarch, 1 cup water and food coloring of your choice.

"This one is particularly fun for all ages because Oobleck is a substance that can act as a liquid and a solid," Kline said. "When you squeeze a handful you can make a ball with it but when you let it sit on your hand it slowly begins to ooze off like slime."

Kline said Oobleck is fun for all age groups and is so easy to make.

The next Juli and Josie project was making salt crystals.

Kline said salt crystals are easy to set up but it takes a while for the crystal to form.

"Unlike the other projects this one will take a while for the kids to see a result," Kline said. "The play-dough and Oobleck is something they can play with right away."

The recipe is to dissolve as much salt as you can in water. Place your salt water mixture in a cup or jar. Next, tie a string to a stick and place the string hanging into the cup or jar. Food coloring can be added to your salt water mixture if you would like a colored crystal.

Kline said sugar could be substituted for the salt to make rock candy as well. She said once the water begins to dissolve the salt will stick to the string forming a beautiful crystal.

Next, in the Juli and Josie projects is a shaving cream printing press. Josie particularly had fun playing with the shaving cream during this project.

Juli and Josie

Josie Hinkle creates a masterpiece of colorful swirls in shaving cream as she prepares for her printing press alien art. 

The project instructions are to spread shaving cream in shallow pan. Then, use food coloring to drip color over the shaving cream. Next, use a tooth pick or stick to swirl the color. Once the colors look as desired, place a piece of paper on top of the shaving cream and peel back.

"This creates a printing press and the paper will keep the colors after you scrape off the shaving cream," Kline said. "You can also place a stencil on top of the cream, such as a heart, and then the paper would only pick up shaving cream inside the heart."

Josie chose to use a stencil of an alien for her shaving cream printing press.

Up next was a project so fun the duo each made their own. To make your own homemade lava lamp you will need an empty water bottle, vegetable oil, water, food coloring and Alka-Seltzer tablets.

Kline said she had her students do this experiment in class to teach the density of different liquids.

In order to make your lava lamp you will first need to fill the water bottle with 2:1 vegetable oil and water.

"You'll notice the oil floats on the surface because the water is heavier than the oil," Kline said. "Next, you place droplets of the food coloring into the bottle. Choosing a lighter color such as green or yellow will make it easier to shine a light through the bottom."

Kline showed Josie how the food coloring dropped straight to the bottom into the water without mixing with the oil. She then had Josie drop pieces of the Alka-Seltzer tablet into the mixture and they waited.

"As the tablets dissolve it forms a gas which rises to the top and take the colored water with it," Kline said. "If you place a light underneath the bottle you can see the colors travel up and down more clearly."

To finish off the day of fun Juli and Josie made Rice Krispies Treats.

"Who hasn't made Rice Krispies at some point in their life," Kline said. "This is a fun and easy treat that kids and adults of all ages love."

The recipe Juli and Josie used called for 3 tablespoons of butter, 4 cups of mini marshmallows, 6 cups of Rice Krispies and for fun a few Lucky Charms.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pot, then add the marshmallows. Once melted add the Rice Krispies and stir. Once combined press the mixture into a greased pan to cool.

"Rice Krispies can also be fun to play with," Kline said. "Once they cool I'll cut them into blocks and Josie and I can build with them."

Kline said there are many fun activities for all age groups you just have to look for them.

"I love to make these memories with Josie," Kline said. "She is having fun and she is learning. She doesn't understand why we are staying home so much but she does know that she gets to spend more time with us and she loves it."

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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