Splashy Spelling

Get kids C-L-E-A-N with this simple alphabet activity for your bathtub. Rubber ducky not included, but you shoud T-O-T-A-L-L-Y get one!

You’ll need:

  • Cellophane
  • Scissors
  • Bathtub or tub of water

The concept of this project is simple. Cut a bunch of alpahbet letters out of cellophane, then float them in the tub during your next bathtime. Gently moving the different letters around, you can spell CAT, RAT, BAT, MAT or whatever combination you would like to try!

And if you try SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS, definitly send me a pic.

Cellophane is notoriously crinkly, so two hints: 1) Draw the letter template on a sheet of paper, lay the cellophane piece on top, then cut both; 2) If your desk scissors are tearing the cellophabe, use fabric scissors (seen below).

As you can see from the image that started this post, the cellophane floats easily on the water, sinking a bit as the bath progresses and the waters shift. However! I learned that not all cellophanes act like this!

I ordered some rainbow cello sheets from Amazon, wanting to use a fun assortment of colors for the letters. Well, I put them in tub and they just curled and melted like some sort of Wicked Witch of the West. And when I grabbed them, they stained the water AND my fingers pink! Noooooooooooo!

Luckily, I had another roll of blue cellophane in the house, purchased from Michael’s Craft store. Nervous, I laid the cellophane letters on the water…it worked! Floating, no curling, no staining! So if you want a pretty sure bet for this project, head to Michael’s to pick up some cellophane rolls. And test a sample of your cello before putting them in the tub with your child. This activity can also be done in a convinient dishtub or kiddie pool.

Happy splashing and spelling!

Sip n’ Spell

sip n spellWe’ve all eaten our words from time to time, but how taking a cool sip of your favorite beverage through them? Katie and her son tested this intriguing concept with Spell & Sip customizable straws by Spelly (Amazon, $15).

spell and sip straws by spellyThese BPA free straws are advertised for ages 4-99. The set contains 44 pieces. This includes an assortments of alphabet letters, 4 straw ends, and 2 sets of symbols.

spell and sip straws box contents

Our package had four A’s, no V’s and four emojis (2 hash tags and 2 hearts). We thought the letter selection to be bit strange, particularly when many names have multiple vowels or consonants. A child named Violet or Victor would be way disappointed receiving Spell & Sip as a gift.

As you can see, each letter and symbol is skewered with a hollow plastic tube connector. To make a custom straw, snap together your letters, add 2 straw ends, and you’re ready to go!

katie and dana straws

Katie’s son took the lead with testing. Water was first, followed by milk. Both were easy to drink, although there were some bubbles at mouth end of the straw at first. Turns out her son hadn’t attached that end of the straw tightly enough. Once fixed, the bubbles disappeared and there was absolutely no leaking (despite the fact that the connection was still somewhat semi-loose).

Next up, a chocolate milkshake from Mooyah, his favorite burger joint. Unfortunately, the thicker consistency of the liquid caused difficulties. With some effort, but he was eventually able to get the shake into his mouth. But the test straw was soon abandoned for the restaurant-provided wider straw (and faster consumption of the shake).

milkshake testNow the real test…cleaning! Katie put the used letters and pieces into the silverware basket of her dishwasher, closing the basket lid secretly praying the hot water wouldn’t melt anything. This was doubly risky because there was absolutely nothing on the product’s box that mentioned cleaning or being dishwasher-safe (only a statement that the company is “Not responsible for any damage caused by improper use or care”).

letters in dishwasher

However, success! The straw pieces emerged cleaned and not melted. They were still pretty wet, and required extra drying time on a paper towel.

Ultimately, the testing team felt Spelly’s Spell & Sip customizable straws were a fun and super clever way to reinforce letters and spelling (though younger kids may need help with taking the pieces apart). Given the difficulties with milkshake, they don’t suggest drinking thick liquids with this product. Another major issue: the missing letter V in the set. Finally, clean the used straws as soon as possible to avoid any residue drying inside the letter pieces – they tend to stay wet for awhile.

Recommended, with thin liquids like water and juice!

Tooth Sleuth

tooth sleuthLose a tooth? No problem! Our magnetic Tooth Finder 2000 will locate your missing teeth in a jiffy! We also added a little alphabetical deduction game to the mix, as well as a magnetic tooth fairy wand variation.

We recommend reading Cousin Ruth’s Tooth, written by Amy MacDonald, and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman (Houghton Mifflin, 1996). Cousin Ruth’s tooth has gone missing, and the entire Fister clan is on high alert. Uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparent, siblings, and various pets embark on a energetic search through the house, yard, and eventually, the town. In the meantime, cousin Ruth solves her own problem – a new tooth has appeared where the old one used to be!

You’ll need:

  • 1 small box (ours was 2″ x 4″ x 4″)
  • 1 mini button magnet (ours was .5″ in diameter)
  • Tin foil
  • String or mesh tubing
  • 1 drinking straw
  • White card stock
  • Paper clips
  • Pen
  • Tape

To make a “Tooth-Finder 2000,” cover a small box with tin foil, then add any other shiny stuff you have on hand (we used silver mirror board and a mini aluminum pie tin). Make a card stock handle for the machine, and a sparkle stem antennae if desired. The machine’s “hose” is a piece of mesh tubing, but a simple piece of string works too! The “wand” for picking up teeth is a half a drinking straw with a mini button magnet taped or hot glued to one end. The other end of the straw is inserted into the mesh tubing.

tooth finder 2000Cut several teeth from card stock, then tape paperclips to the back. Wave the machine’s wand over the tooth, and it will magnetically connect! We came up with a spelling game as well. To play, write different letters on the teeth, then see if kids can can pick out a particular word or their name from the pile.

letter teeth If you’d like to skip the tooth finding machine and go even simpler, cut a star out of card stock, decorate it with markers, then tape it to a drinking straw. Tape or hot glue a mini button magnet to the back of the star and you have your very own magnetic tooth fairy wand!

tooth fairy magnetic wand