Indoor game: “Clue” reimagined
While we spend most of our summer days enjoying the outdoors, sometimes we need an indoor escape from the heat or rain. Our family version of “Clue” isn’t a mystery board game, but a treasure hunt guided by self-made picture clues of objects or parts of objects around the house.
We each took a turn drawing several clues on small pieces of cut up printer paper, which led us on a hunt through the house that ended in finding a small reward (i.e., a lost toy). No need to spend a long time drawing—5 minutes should suffice. Part of the fun for my kids was offering me hints, while giggling with delight, as I tried to decipher which piece of furniture or toy the picture depicted. My favorite clue was my son’s third one–the unicorn horn of my daughter’s giant stuffed animal. When I recognized it, I was surprised by his creative choice.
This game, which kept us constantly moving around the house, engaged intense curiosity about how we can simply and quickly draw objects, how we string clues together on a path through the house, and how we all naturally focus on different objects around us. For older kids, write out clues instead of drawing pictures.
- Cut printer paper into quarters.
- Draw out 8-10 clues that move you from one part of house to the other.
- Place your clues and set a starting point near clue #1.
- Laugh and have fun as you hunt for all of the clues!
Making slime, whether you’re 50 or 5 years old, is always fun! Kids can make it with only a small amount of help from us adults. Slime is quick to prepare, easy to clean up, and fun for hours. My kids categorize it as “not a solid, but not a liquid”, “so stretchy,” and “super sticky.”
On a recent snowy day when school was canceled and we were worn out from playing outside, we had a blast making this borax-free version of slime with ingredients that are readily on-hand at home.
- Elmer’s glue (preferably the clear version, but can be white)
- food coloring
- baking soda
- saline solution (if you don’t have saline solution, add 1/2 tsp of fine salt into 1 c hot water, stir until dissolved, and cool)
- Add 4-8 oz of glue to a glass or plastic bowl
- Add a few drops of food coloring and mix with spoon
- Add 1 tsp of baking soda and mix
- Add 2-4 tbsp saline solution and mix until slime forms a ball that is slightly sticky, but won’t stay stuck to hands
- As slime is played with, add more saline solution as necessary to prevent it from getting too sticky
- Store slime in sealed plastic bag or container to preserve it
Observations and Experiments:
- How does slime feel before and after saline solution is added?
- How far can we stretch slime?
- What happens if we pull slime apart with force instead of slowly stretch slime?
- What shapes can we make with slime?
- What surfaces does slime stick to?
- Does slime bounce?
- What happens to the surface of slime when we mold it to our palm?
Enjoy cultivating your and your children’s curiosity making and exploring slime!
Project: Make it rain
“Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.” Miss Frizzle, the adventurous teacher from “The Magic School Bus,” said it best with these words. As a mom of two young children, I see firsthand how children naturally want to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy. It’s important for us adults to encourage their exploration and not caution against it because it might make a mess. These projects don’t have to be complicated—they only require our excitement, attention, and a good dose of curiosity.
All summer long, we’ve been reading “The Magic School Bus” books and enjoying some of the episodes on Netflix. These books, which are colorful and well-written explanations of topics ranging from how hurricanes form to how we fight infections, are an inspiration for simple at-home science projects. Below is a fun project that you can do with items you have readily available at home.
- Tin can (from canned food)
- Oven mitt
- Tea kettle
- Bowl to catch “rain”
- Boil water in tea kettle
- Add several ice cubes to tin can
- When water is boiling, hold tin can over steam that is coming from kettle with tongs and oven mitt
- Place bowl on counter under tin can
- As tin can heats and ice melts, watch rain droplets form on the bottom of tin can and catch them in the bowl
As the water in the kettle is heated, it evaporates into vapor. The vapor (steam) escapes from the kettle and hits the cold ice-filled tin can held above it. This cools the steam causing the vapor to condense into water droplets, which then drip off the can into the bowl.