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February 10, 2018

Time sure does fly. Four years since I changed this part of the message.

Hope the New Year has been off to a good start. We are looking forward to an exciting and sad year, as we will be saying good bye to all the wonderful people we have come to know over the years. The time has come for us to fully retire. This will be our last year of conferencing. Our website may continue for a time after that.

If you know of any one who would like to take over, don't hesitate to get in touch with us!!!!!

I have updated the conference list and will do my best to keep it up.

We can't express how much we appreciate everyone's support and enthusiasm through the years. It has been an awesome and rewarding experience. Thank you.

Please keep doing what you do. The children need you.

Frank and Joy

Brain Food

Recipes for great play!

Home Made Sand: 4 cups dried, used coffee grounds, 2 cups cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt.

Knox Gelatin Mold: The ratio is 3/4 cup water to 1 packet Knox. Take the number of cups of water your container holds and divide by .75. This is how many packets of Knox you need. In a saucepan, heat the water over low heat, add the packets of gelatin. After it dissolves pour it into your container. Let set overnight. **Be sure to spray your container with Pam first! The kids can use pipettes and eyedroppers to inject the mold with colored water.

Ooblick with Shaving Cream: To the batch of Ooblick you will add shaving cream. You may use lots of cream. It's up to you and how it feels.

Film Canister Pop: Fill a clear film canister about 2/3 full with water. Drop in an alka-seltzer tablet and quickly put on the lid. It will take about 18 seconds for the top to EXPLODE off and shoot into the air. Always use safety glasses when doing science experiments!

Bubbling Eruption: In a pitcher mix1/2 cup of dish soap, 1 cup of water, 3/4 cup of vinegar and a squirt of liquid watercolor. In a clear bottle put 1/2 cup of baking soda. Using a funnel, slowly pour the vinegar liquid into the baking soda bottle. Thick lava!

Bouncing Bubble Solution: 1 cup distilled water, 2 Tbs. Of blue Dawn, 1 Tbs. Of glycerin. The water is the most important ingredient. Good quality water doesn't contain high levels of iron or minerals. Glycerin gives the solution the extra strength. You may substitute Karo syrup for the more expensive glycerin. Use a glove on your hand and you can hold a bubble and make it bounce.

Rainbow Stew: Ingredients needed: 1 cup corn starch, 1/3 cup sugar, 4 cups water, red, yellow and blue coloring, medium saucepan, mixing spoon and ziplock baggies. Mix the cornstarch, water and sugar together and put over medium heat. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. Divide mixture into thirds and add color.

Exploding Colors: You will need a pie tin, evaporated milk at room temp, color, toothpicks, dish soap and a can opener. Pour the milk into the pie tin to cover the bottom. Add 3-4 drops pf different colors but don't let the colors touch each other. Dip the end of the toothpick into the soap. Touch the tip to the droplets of color and watch the reaction. The colors should explode right before your eyes.

Recipes page 2

Seal Gum for Homemade Stickers: You will need 4 envelopes Knox gelatin, 2 cups of water, and 1 teas. Peppermint extract and a small saucepan. Mix the gelatin and water in the pan. Heat over medium heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the peppermint and let cool. Paint a thin layer on the back of any picture and let dry. Lick and stick!

Clean Mud: Grate 3-4 bars of Ivory soap. Tear up a roll of toilet paper into a large bowl. Add some warm water and start mixing. Slowly add more water if needed to form the consistency of mashed potatoes. Can be stored in an airtight container and be reconstituted with more water. It can be dried after sculpting.

Oil and Water Art: Place an inch of water in a shallow baking pan. Add some color, then using a squeeze bottle that has cooking oil in it, squeeze some oil in the pan of water. Give the children a coffee filter and 2 clothespins to clip on either side of the filter. Dip the filter into the water and slowly pull it out. Observe the filters as they dry.

Elephant Toothpaste: You will need 3-4 empty 20oz water bottles, 1&1/2 cups of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, color, 2 tsp. of yeast, a dish pan and approx. 3 Tbls of warm water. Put the bottle in the dish pan. Pour the peroxide into the bottle and add a few drops of dish soap. Add color and put a funnel in the bottle. In a separate bowl dissolve the the yeast in the water. Pour this mixture in the bottle and watch the reaction.

Lava Lamp: You need a 16 oz. plastic soda bottle with cap, vegetable oil, cheap is good! Food coloring an alka-seltzer tablet and water. Fill the bottle 3/4 full of oil and fill the rest of the way with water. Add about 10 drops of coloring. Be sure to make the water dark. Divide the tablet into 8 pieces. Drop 1 piece into the bottle. Watch what happens. When the bubbling stops add another piece. It's a lava lamp!

Recycled Markers: Don't throw away those dried up markers. Instead, use them as paint pens! The kids can dip them in water and "paint" on the paper.

Ivory Soap Science: You need a bar of Ivory soap, paper towels and a microwave oven. Place the bar of soap in the middle of a piece of paper towel in the center of the microwave. Cook the bar of soap on high for no longer than 2 minutes; Don't take your eyes off the action! The soap will begin to expand and erupt into puffy clouds. Be careful not to overcook it. Allow the soap to cool for a minute before touching it. Pipette liquid watercolor over the "mountain" and see what happens. Udate: start small--use 1/4 bar and nuke for 30 seconds.

Lip Balm: 2 Tbls. Shortening, 1 Tbls. Non-sweetened kool-aide. Melt shortening in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir in the kool-aide. Melt for 30 more seconds. Poor into small container. Put in fridge until cool and hard.

Lava Lights: You will need a plastic cup for each child, bowls of salt, water, oil and color. Fill the cups 1/3 of the way up with water. Add about 1 inch of the oil. Slowly drip 3-5 drops of color on the top. Next pour a little salt into the mixture and watch the show!

Whip It Up: Grate 5-10 bars of Ivory soap into a tub. Add water to just cover the grated soap. Using an egg beater just whip it up!


Have fun with this mysterious substance at home!
What happens to Flubber when...
it is stretched?
it is rolled into a ball and bounced?
it is stretched over the opening of a jar?
an object (golf ball, etc.) is rolled on it?
Put into a collander?
What else can you do with flubber?
...make it and find out!

What you need:

3 cups Warm Water
2 cups Elmer's White Glue (we prefer Elmers Glue-All)
Liquid Water Color (food coloring stains)
20 Mule Team Borax, available in the grocery store laundry section.
Glitter (optional)
White Vinegar (for cleaning)

What to do:
In a large container combine and mix:

1&1/2 cups very warm water
2 cups Elmers Glue-All
A few drops of water color and glitter (if used)
Make sure this combination is completely mixed.

In a small container combine and mix:
1 1/3 cups very warm water
2 level tsp 20 Mule Team Borax.
Make sure the Borax is completely dissolved.

Combine the glue and borax mixtures. Mix well using your hands until all the liquid is absorbed. You may need to squish, mix, and break up the flubber to get it fully combined. Store the flubber in a plastic, air-tight container at room temperature.
For best results, measure precisely and mix well as noted above.


SAFETY for BORAX: Basically, it's soap. Adults, please keep the box of powdered borax out of the reach of children. There are no extreme hazards but avoid prolonged exposure to skin. Avoid creating and breathing dust. In case of contact with eyes, rinse thoroughly for five minutes and consult a physician.

If kept in an airtight container, the Flubber will keep for a very long time. Vinegar dissolves Flubber from carpet, hair, furniture, clothes, and pets.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Albert Einstein

Six Essentials Children need to be creative:

TIME-----long periods of uninterrupted free time, with few transitions during the day-----move at their pace

OPPORTUNITY-------invitations for learning

SPACE---lots of outdoor time. Think of the outdoors as an extra classroom. Children grow from the neck down and the trunk out. They must move.

FREEDOM-------to explore with few restrictions

EXPERIENCES------that are real, using real materials

THE MATERIALS-----think real and fun.

Adults are the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage. We are facilitators, not keepers of the stuff. Always asking what can I get for you?

Always ask a child if she wants her name on the picture. If they do, ask where? If they want to write it, let them! If they don't want it, Don't! And don't sneak back to write it later!

Resist the urge to say "what is it?" or try to guess. You don't have to say anything. If they come running and say Look, Look, Look, do just that! They did not say look and comment.

If they ask if you like it, turn it around and ask them the same thing. Turn the paper and ask it they like it this way.

What process art isn't!
* not having pumpkins all look the same but saying they could put the eyes anywhere they wanted
* no more dittos or precut shapes
* looking like something
* making models
* always in the art area
* making kids do art
* small paper or gobs of glue, too much is sometimes not enough
* spending more time preparing the project then it takes the kids to do it!
* A finished product

We must be able to articulate what is happening when children play. Link "learning" words to the activities and projects. Talk about what children are doing.

Absorption Friction Weight
Force Magnetic Questioning
Patterning Vibration Reaction
Propulsion Measurements Suspension
Balance Inflate Temperature
Buoyant Experimenting Vibration
Evaporation Investigating Action

Children "show" us what they want and need to know. We then enhance their environment by using that information and our knowledge about how vital play is to a child.

Joy's Latest and Greatest...

Ideas from Joy Knight (and maybe Frank, too)

Thanks to everyone for all the great support and friendship since we bought the business. We hope we meet your expectations.

For those of you who may have seen this page more than once, you may have noticed that it hasn't changed much. You all know the saying about "the road to (you know where) is paved with good intentions." The idea is great and the information good, but..... Joy simply doesn't have time to keep up with another project on top of her "real" job, presenting, studying, reading, doing the doting Grandma thing, and the odd Holiday Dinner. I will try to add or subtract things here occasionally.

Do you know any of these people?

Scratch Builders, Geo-Cachers, Game Enthusiasts? We always have containers and some bright shiny metal things for the odd diesel tank or alien spire.

Design students in need of unusual, inexpensive project materials? You really should see our large selection of architectural samples.

While many of our things aren't on line, we still have a lot of the unusual stuff we had in the store. Give us a call and if we don't have exactly what you are looking for, we may have a viable substitute.
I hope to keep this space more current and useful!


Please Catch Us At A Conference Near You

We are happy to bring material to you if we are coming to a conference in your area.
Give us a call a week or two in advance to make arrangements to meet you. A good way to get products without paying shipping!

Conference Display

February 24, 2018
Eastern Washington Association for the Education of Young Children
Spokane Falls Community College. Spokane WA

March 3, 2018 P.R.O. Clackamas Community College, Clackamas Oregon

March 10, 2018 EKCFCCA (Family Child Care) St Luke's Lutheran Church Bellevue, WA

March 17, 2018 Olympic Peninsula Chapter of WAEYC. Peninsula College Port Angeles WA

April 19-21,2018 California AEYC
Pasadena Convention Center Sacramento CA

May 2,3,4,2018 IECC Infant and Early Childhood Conference. Tacoma Convention Center. Tacoma WA

Check This Out


Explore the science of sound and vibrations.
Tie a long string or two short strings to a piece of metal. Tie a loop in each end. Try grates, rods, pipes, flat pieces of different types, metal clothes hangers, and my personal favorite, a metal slinky.
Put a finger through the loop at each end of the string. Put your fingers firmly in your ears. Lean forward so that the gong is not touching your clothing and bump the metal against something solid. A chair back or table edge works well. Have someone tap the metal with a firm object. Try both. Is there a difference?

Using this with children can lead to discussions of sound, vibrations, diameters, length and force. Very sciencey!!

Many types and shapes of metal work, but not all. Explore various kinds and determine what doesn’t work and why.
Why does it sound the way it does?
Why does it sound different with the string and your fingers in your ears than it does just tapping it against something?
Why do some metal objects sound nearly the same with or without the string and finger trick?
Does it sound different if a different amount of force is used?
Does it matter where the string is tied? Or how long it (string) is?
Does the diameter of the metal rod make a difference? Why?
Does the length of the metal rod make a difference if it is the same diameter?
Does the shape make a difference?
Does a different type of string make a difference? Will fish line work?
Does it sound the same if you swing it against a chair or someone taps it with a wooden object? A metal object? A plastic object?
Does it matter if the metal is warm or cold?

You (or the kids) may think of other things to ask and experiment with.

Happy Gonging.
And no, you don’t look a bit crazy!