Learning Monkeys: Experimentation

Yay, it’s Thursday – kiddo fun!

I saw this cool post in parenting magazine about adding vinegar to baking soda & watching the reaction.  I thought this would be the perfect activity for little miss V, and when better than “experiment week” to try out? :)  Oh, & the article is misleading in the sense that it starts off saying, “you may want to take this outside.”  So, with that in mind, I had V wearing a smock and standing far back, expecting some big explosion or such….yeah….NOT!  Don’t get me wrong, V LOVED, I mean L.O.V.E.D. this activity!  But, in my opinion, yeah, it is not really necessary to move this one out to the porch.  It fizzles, like soda fizzles…no need to go outside, I guess, unless your baking soda haul is filling a dump truck – LOL!

One of the main things I try to do is make most of my posts using everyday things, things you might already have around the house.  For the original post it says to use medicine droppers of different sizes to squirt the vinegar into the baking soda.  Well, I don’t have random droppers just lying around my house, do you?  So, let the mama♥miss brainstorming session begin!  What about balloons?  Huh, you say?  Well, let me show you :)

So, here’s my brainstorming success!!  Like I mentioned above – balloons!

Not any kind of special balloons, just your normal, everyday, lying around the house, blow-up birthday balloons.

Awesome, right?

This makes it better for little miss V and her chubby little toddler hands, too.

Wahoo!  Everything that is part of this activity you WILL most likely already have – no running to the store (that’s a plus in my book!)  So without further blah, blah, blah… ;)


  • box of baking soda
  • food coloring
  • white distilled vinegar
  • balloons (however many colors you wish to use will determine how many you will need)


  • sharp object (wider than a pin needle) to pierce balloon (I used a corn holder-see pic)
  • funnel
  • 9×12 pan or baking tray
  • protective floor mat
  • smock
  • kitchen tools (optional for later play)


  1. Dump out entire baking soda box into the 9×12 pan.
  2. Using a funnel, fill a balloon with vinegar up to the stem of the balloon. Be careful not to fill it too far or you will not be able to tie it off.
  3. Drop in desired food coloring into balloon.
  4. Tie off balloon.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for each balloon, for each color.
  6. Pierce a hole on top of the balloon ball.
  7. Give to the younging & let them have fun :)



After our initial balloon depletion, there was fork-swirling fun, hand-swirling fun, and then…wait for it…we whipped out the big guns – FUN KITCHEN TOOLS ;)


dinosaur dig sensory bin

My love for sensory bins is bringing you more ♥ today!

What we have here is an archeological dig site for dinosaurs…or simply a dinosaur dig sensory bin ;)

To make one for your little ones, be sure to include some of these tools.

More specifically, here’s the lowdown on what I used to make this super cool dinosaur dig sensory bin for little Miss V:

  1. assorted dry beans: I used black-eyed peas, large lima beans, split peas, & pinto beans (these are the rocks)
  2. brown glass beads (more rocks – different texture)
  3. plastic dinosaurs
  4. popsicle sticks (digger & excavator)
  5. rake (digger & excavator)
  6. plastic soap holder (sorter)
  7. egg carton (sorter)
  8. sifter
  9. measuring cup (sorter & measurer)
  10. cardboard plant pot (sorter)
  11. plastic container (specimen jar)

and voilà – it’s a Dinosaur Dig Sensory Bin! :)

sea life sensory bin

I love sensory bins with all my heart – I mean ♥!  They are such cool cheap activities for the little ones, that usually for little miss V provide her at least an hour of entertainment.  Sensory bins, ever since I introduced V to them, are really the only regular thing besides her Little People that can captivate her attention for more than 15 minutes – wink wink – can you see why I ♥ them oh so much?!  I usually do them indoors and keep them in a separate area from her toys, so it’s a special thing to do.  She will sit in the sunroom, on the floor, separating and sorting colors, rocks, rice, and beads throughout the day entertained by  it.  In the sensory bins I make for V, I always include some spoon or bowl to scoop and sort, that is her favorite thing to do.  So today I have for you a Sea Life Sensory bin.  This is another project for which you can utilize all that Kool-Aid dyed pasta!  I mixed it up a little bit in this one and used the blue & green dyed ziti from the original pasta batch I did, and to add some texture I dyed some rigatoni using the same dyeing method with a packet of blue Kool-Aid.

My sensory bin (I believe was meant for an outdoor drink bin) is perfect for sensory bins because it is clear (it won’t distract from what she is working with), it is really deep (which I’d like to think would provide less spills – but right now it’s just about the thinking ;).  It also has handles which I find are great for V because she likes to pick it up and carry it to the chair, carry it to the table, carry it to the floor, carry it to the couch, okay, I think you get the picture – she’s a toddler – she likes to rearrange things CONSTANTLY! :)  The smaller plastic sea creatures I got at Walmart in the party favors aisle, the shells & blue glass beads are from the Dollar Store, and the larger Finding Nemo characters I got at a kids consignment sale (knowing I wanted to make an ocean/sea life sensory bin in the future!).  I always, at all times, am looking for cool little things to add to sensory bins on the cheap (you don’t want to see my hoarded stash – HA! – it’s the whole Monica’s closet thing – my house may look put together, but don’t open my sewing room door because your jaw will fall to the floor – no joke – one of these days I may post a picture of this atrocity – NOT! ;)

So to summarize, to make this bin, you will need:

  1. a plastic bin/tub, preferably deep with handles
  2. Kool-Aid Dyed Pasta – ziti in blue and green & rigatoni in blue
  3. sea life creatures
  4. shells
  5. blue glass beads
  6. (not pictured) but I feel is necessary, at least for our bins – a scooper, sorter, bowl, spoons, etc..

and voilà – it’s a Sea Life Sensory Bin! :)


tutorial: kool-aid dyed pasta

Like the rice, dyeing pasta with Kool-Aid is quite similar.  If I haven’t convinced you by now in using Kool-Aid as a dyeing technique, here’s another tutorial to sway you ;)  (you can also check out these tutorials on making Kool-Aid dyed rice & Kool-Aid dyed play-doh).

As noted in the Kool-Aid dyed rice tutorial, make sure when you are determining which color to dye the pasta, look at the picture on the front of the envelope (of the liquid in the cup that Mr. Kool-Aid is holding, NOT the color of the envelope – the color of the drink in the cup is the dye color).

So here’s the process & what you will need to dye pasta with Kool-Aid:


  • Gallon-Size Freezer Bags (use the freezer ones, they are thicker & easier to shake the mixture with)
  • Tray (for drying overnight)
  • Foil (for the drying tray – so it stains the foil, not your tray!)

For each color/freezer bag of pasta, you will need:

  • 1 cup of white pasta, any shape (just the basic, cheap 99 cents box is perfect…the fancy pasta, like zucchini, tomato, or whole wheat flavors won’t dye the same way)
  • 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol
  • 1 packet of Kool-Aid

Here’s how it all goes together:

  1. Open your freezer bag nice & wide, and stand it up.
  2. First, add the cup of pasta.
  3. Next, add the packet of Kool-Aid .
  4. Lastly, add the tablespoon of rubbing alcohol .
  5. Seal the bag shut and shake, shake, shake it up (this can be a fun part in the process for the kids to do, too!)
  6. Let it sit for a good 15-20 minutes so the color gets nice & strong.
  7. Pour it out onto a tray & get it as flat as it will go so that you can dry it overnight (or for at least 6-8 hours).
  8. I usually make little tin foil boats (like the pic below) in the tray to separate the colors & it looks soooo pretty, too!
  9. When it is dry it will be all clumped together; separate the pasta (note – more drying time may be needed if after separating it there are still wet sections).

(NOTE – this pasta is NOT edible – it is for crafting purposes only!)

Next on the docket…activities for your beautiful brightly dyed pasta…stay tuned :)

spring sensory bin

Ever since the whole Pinterest thing started…I’ve been in L (dot) O (dot) V (dot) E (dot) with sensory bins!!!!  I try to make a new one for V every month, and usually there is a holiday rolling around that you can coincide with bins, most of the months.  My favorite sensory bin I’ve made so far, for her, has to be this one, the “spring sensory bin”.  The colors are amazing (YAY for kool-aid!)!  I gave her little flowers and a watering can (for planting :), along with some plastic eggs leftover from Easter (she likes to fill them up & shake them – mini maracas – YAY!! :) , and some shovels I borrowed from her sand toys.  All the items I usually get for sensory bins I usually find at the dollar store or similar.

Most everything I dye, kid related; rice, pasta, playdoh, it is all with kool-aid.  I came up with the measurements after some experimenting in what worked (I’m still trying to fine tune the pasta kool-aid dyeing, but the rice & the playdoh I have down to a science!)  See here on how to dye the rice with kool-aid.

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and here’s what it looked like after a morning of play… (oh rice, you are my mortal enemy!)

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