Acorn Cap Jewels

Guest post from Jen at Paint Cut Paste

I love the natural art materials the earth provides this time of year! My 4 year old daughter and I have been having a great time making all sorts of things with acorn caps – such as tiny acorn cap candles, felted wool balls with acorn caps on them, and little fairies acorn caps for hats. This time we created acorn cap “jewels.”

I have seen this idea around the web lately, so I thought we’d give it a try at home. We had all of the materials on hand, and I’ll bet you do, too. You’ll need:

  • Acorn caps
  • Elmer’s school glue (or any school glue brand that dries clear.)
  • Markers (we used Mr. Sketch markers because we love the scents!)
  • Rice, beans, or play dough to hold your caps in place while they dry (We used some old play dough.)

First, my daughter had a great time coloring the insides of the acorn caps with each color marker, and placing them securely in the play dough.

Then she filled each acorn cap up with the school glue.

There were lots of “ooooohs” and “aaaaahs” right away, as the colors started to seep into the glue.

We set our acorn caps aside to dry for 48 hours. My daughter was very excited to check on them periodically over these days and watch the colors begin to show through the drying glue. Once they were all dry, they looked like vibrant, shining jewels! We’ve had lots of fun playing with them since they were made. They’ve become jewels for indoor and outdoor treasure hunts, “money” in my daughter’s store-related play, and tokens used in our own game of memory (flip them upside down and try to match the colors and remember where they were – if you want to play this, be sure to make two of each color.) The uses are as endless as your child’s imagination… and when you’re finished playing with these little gems, they bring such a autumnal decorative touch sitting out in a bowl in your home.


Make Your Own Slime!

My kids love cool (/ gross!) sensory activities, and so I’m always on the lookout for fun things to explore together.  We’ve explored oobleck here before, and when I saw this project for homemade slime on this awesome site, I knew we had to check it out during the Halloween season.

* Elmer’s glue
* 2 disposable cups
* Food coloring (any color) – note: this works just fine without food coloring – you just get white slime – and you don’t have to worry about staining clothes or fingers
* Water
* Borax Powder (available at most large grocery stores near the laundry detergent)
* A tablespoon (for measuring)

Start by filling one of your cups up with water, and stir one spoonful of Borax into the water.

Then, put about an inch of glue into the other cup.

Add three tablespoons of water to the glue and stir.

If you would like colored slime, add a few drops of food coloring to the glue mixture.  We added 8-10 drops to get a deep green.  BUT, if you would like to be able to play with the slime without the worry of food coloring stains, you can just skip the food coloring and stick to WHITE, GHOSTLY SLIME.

Then, add one tablespoon of the Borax mixture into the glue mixture.  Stir well and observe how the watery glue begins to solidify just a little and turn into slime.  Depending on how much glue you put into your cup, you may need to add a bit more Borax solution.  Go slowly on adding the Borax stuff — your glue mixture will go from slime to solid pretty quickly (as ours began to.)

Whoa – so cool!!

Let your slime sit for a minute or so, then you can pull it out and play with it!  Our fingers did get a little stained from the food coloring, so I would probably skip the food coloring next time.  Also, you can put the slime in a ziplock bag for storage — or as a mess-free way to play.
Want to understand / explain what’s going on?  From Science Bob: “Now for the SCIENCE part…. This POLYMER is unique because it has qualities of both a solid and a liquid. It can take the shape of its containers like a liquid does, yet you can hold it in your hand and pick it up like a solid. As you might know, solid molecules are tight together, liquid molecules spread out and break apart (drops) POLYMER molecules CHAIN themselves together (they can stretch and bend like chains) and that makes them special. Jell-O, rubber bands, plastic soda bottles, sneaker soles, even gum are all forms of polymers. The polymer you made should be kept in a sealed plastic bag when you aren’t playing with it. Also, be sure to keep it away from young kids or pets who might think it’s food.”




What are your favorite sensory activities?