Science Sunday: Salt Lake

So, we read a book about Salt Lake, which I can’t type at all for some strange reason.  And we all wondered if we could add enough salt to make things that don’t normally float in water float, like they do in the Great Salt Lake.

001Hypothesis: If we add enough salt our toys that don’t float will float.

Supplies: two big bowls, water, salt (we probably added half a cup), some toys (they chose their Happy Meal toys)

Procedure:  First add the toys to the plain water and observe if they floated.  Then put them in the salt water.  In theory the salt should add enough buoyancy for something to float.

008  The reality: The same things that floated in the water floated in the salt water.  So, no real change in that aspect.

My theory: We weren’t able to add enough salt.  I tried to saturate it with as much salt as possible, but I didn’t heat it, which could have let me add more salt (as I recall from high school chemistry), but I didn’t want to then have to wait for it to cool.

So, the experiment didn’t turn out as I wanted, but it was interesting.

It sounds like in general that I’m not the only one who had a week of things not going quite as we wanted.  Sigh, some weeks are better than others.

stART: Wheat Doll

So, like I said we all liked this book.  And what do we do with a book we like?  Make an art project or two or three.

Project 1: Wooden spool and bead doll (I apparently did not take pictures of all the steps to make this, that will be remedied).

You can see Superman’s doll in the bottom left hand corner.  He’s busy making a trap out of pipe cleaners, beads, and yarn.

We make a lot of traps in this house.  A LOT.102

Project 2: pipe cleaner and bead doll (tutorial for this has the pictures and will be coming).  This was Princess’ favorite method, her brothers liked the other one more.

And Project 3 (the one this post is mainly about):
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Supplies: doll shaped cookie cutter, paint or stamp pad (I think paint would work better in retrospect), crayons, paper


1.  Fold your paper in half (this is to be able to the before and after).

On the outside stamp a doll outline, and then stamp a second on the inside.


2.  Color what happened to the doll at the beginning and the end of the story.  Sticking your tongue out helps you color better.

You might also need to draw an Iron Man or two to help rescue the doll.

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There you go, now they have a quick and simple summary of what happened to the doll.  If I told you exactly what the pictures mean that’d ruin the surprise of the story.  But it’s totally worth reading to find out.

Now, head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures to see the other great projects people did this week!

Utah and Nevada books

What do these states have in common?  Well, not much aside from both being lots of dry desert to my mind.  As to the reality of that, who knows.   But that’s how they are in my mind.  I have a lot of theories that don’t have much to do with reality.

The stars (to my mind):
The Wheat Doll– a cute story about loss and getting back.  The girl in this book loves her doll, but is forced to leave it behind when there is a bad storm.  She goes back to find it, but is unable to.  At the end there’s a fun surprise twist that we all enjoyed.

Snowshoe Thompson–  Cute story about a boy who’s father is on the other side of the mountains in Nevada, and how he’s sad because the mail can’t go through.  Snowshoe Thompson offers to cross the mountains and make sure the mail gets through.  I had visions of all sorts of cute activities to do with this, but I could just imagine how it would end, and we don’t need another ER visit, nor do I need to give my kids ideas about playing on the stairs.

Trout, Trout, Trout– cute rhyming book.

Coolies– I wrote about this earlier, but I thought it was a good way to talk about the railroad and the workers.  I will admit the kids weren’t as excited about this as I was, except the part where Iron Man came down and rescued the workers.  Recently in our house Iron Man has been involved in a lot of historical things I never knew he did.

Books we’re indifferent on:
Sierra– It’s a poem.  I’m not a big poem fan to start off, and then it’s rather long.  We didn’t really finish it.  I did figure out that I need to introduce the kids to more poetry, sigh, poor me.  Okay, I do like some poems, but not most.  I’m a horrible example.

stART: something about stars, I can’t remember right now

It’s one of THOSE days.  You know where somebody, and I’m not naming names but they’re about 3 feet high, zapped my brain.

So, we read this awesome book about the Navajo and how the stars were placed in the sky.  Hopefully by the end of this post I’ll remember the name.  Well, it seemed perfect for a craft I’d been thinking about.

Supplies: black or blue construction paper (I cut it into fourths and let them have fun with that much, fits better in the lapbook); those foil stars (you know, the GOLD star for being good)


1.  And only step.  Let your kids have a blast putting on star stickers however they like.


Princess’ summary of story: The coyote threw the stars away, while the woman was trying to put them in the sky.
Finally found the book:

I love this book, it’s probably my favorite of the different ones from this region.

To see more great book activities head on over to
A Mommy’s Adventures.  Sigh, I always have this problem with the button, it keeps making the next few sentences after it a link, I don’t know the details of why, now you know my secret reason for having it at the bottom.

And, I’ve decided to make a category called dinner time crafts.  To my mind these are crafts you can set your kids doing and not have to supervise.

stART: Coolies

I have to admit I checked this book out with some trepidation.  Books like this tend to fall one of two ways.  They either totally whitewash what happened or they blame the white men and make it look like we were trying to kill everyone.  I was worried this was going to be one of the latter.

But, quite thankfully  it wasn’t.  It did a really good job talking about building the transcontinental railroad and how the white men were unfair to the Chinese who came over.  They talked about the challenges the workers faced and how hard it was.  It wasn’t whitewashed, but it also wasn’t done to put blame, just done factually in a good story.

So, what’d we do to follow this up?

First they drew pictures of what happened in the story.

That’s when I discovered that Iron Man went back in time to protect the workers on the railroad.  Little known fact.


Then we cut out little triangles to glue on the people’s heads for their coolie hats.

Here’s their summaries:
Batman: Iron Man came back and fought the monsters that caused the avalanche and then he dug the guy out of the snow so he wouldn’t freeze.  Then they built a train.  (This is my best recall because he wouldn’t let me write it down because he said he already had, see the letters on the top left). 

Superman: There was a monster biting the boy when he was covered in the snow.  Then a big monster came and bit the guys up on top.  Another guy tried to look for him, but the monster kept eating him.  They were trying to build snow piles.  (Superman’s is the one with the blue railroad and brown dirt)
Princess: They were building a tent and a train. A monster came and stole the little boy.

Princess’ is the one on the right in the middle picture.  Hers is the big tall pink one.  Next to this you can see the other side of Batman’s.  They had a lot of fun creating these.  It really cracked me up.

So, as you can tell they were much more interested in the stories they’d created than in necessarily retelling what happened in the story.  But I wrote it down because someday I want to be able to tell them how all the stories they made up had monsters.

For more great art and story ideas head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures to see what everyone else is doing this week.

Oh, and if you’re so inclined say a prayer for my family and Tara today.  This is Sam’s birthday, and it will be the first one since he died.  We’re “celebrating” by watching Star Wars in his honor (Return of the Jedi, probably the most kid friendly of the original movies).

stART: Cactus Hotel

I can’t remember if anyone else has done this, but we read Cactus Hotel last week.  It’s a great nonfiction story of how a cactus is a home to many creatures in the desert.  The kids loved reading it and we talked a lot about the different animals.  I had all sorts of ideas about how I could make this into a complicated project, but then I finally realized go for simple, and you get it done.

Supplies: card stock (just to make sure the paper is sturdy enough, you could use copy paper); sand paper, crayons; glue, scissors, print out (below)
cactus hotel.doc
(anyone know how to do those cool little mini pictures that Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations does?)

0111.  Cut cardstock in half (not necessary, but that’s the size we wanted).
2.  Cut out a cactus shape from the sandpaper.

3.  Color the cactus with crayon (it makes a cool texture).


4.  Start cutting out pictures galore.  Seriously, you haven’t seen the finished product yet.  They went nuts with the pictures.


5.  Glue like it’s about to go out of style.  Have you noticed the 20 cent bottles of glue right now?  Now you know why I buy them like a crazy woman.

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Honest it takes two pages of pictures to cover up half a page of artwork.  Right?

Can you guess which one is mine?

In order: Batman, Princess, mine, Princess (her second), Superman (he drew in a second cactus).

We had a blast doing this, and it’s going in the lapbook for four states (all of them desert states).

Head on over to
A Mommy’s Adventures to see what other story related projects people are doing.