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discovery time! 3, 2, 1... GRAND summer fun!

Thursday, June 20, 2024


Here in Minnesota, we’ve been flirting with summer for a few weeks now,

but today marks its official arrival!

Of course, here at Our Grand Lives we’ve already been busy 

celebrating the summer season

with our posts focused on SUMMER FUN and SUMMER FAVES! 

And today, we have 3 new activities to share

as we discover a brand new topic!

Providing opportunities to explore the world around them,

to question how things work

and to wonder and experiment

is one of the best gifts we can offer our Littles!

Today’s activities will intrigue your Littles

- your grandkids (like us), your own children or those you care for daily - 

and might even get them thinking in new ways!

Our activities this week rely on the engineering process and are best suited 

for preschoolers and older Littles

as they brainstorm, plan, create, test, question and improve 

as they… PLAY!

Don’t worry though… check out our Toddler Tips along the way!

One more important reminder before we share this week’s ideas…

Let your Little guide you as they explore and discover!

Patience may be required on your part!

Your role can be to encourage your Littles’ curiosity and support their ideas

by asking open ended questions and following their lead!

Check out the easy balance scale Laurie and her Little D made recently 

as they explored the question,

Which is heavier?

Littles of all ages will find lots to discover!


• A skirt/pants hanger (or a regular hanger*)

• 2 paper or plastic cups

• String or yarn

• Scissors and tape (any kind)

NOTE:  You can use a regular clothes hanger, but you might need to tape the string from the plastic cups to the edges of the hanger so the weight is better distributed.


1.  Cut 2 fairly long pieces of string/yarn and tape it to the cup so it can loop around the clip on the hanger.  This creates the scale.  If you are using paper cups you can punch a hole in the cup and tie the string.

2.  Find a spot where the “scale” can hang freely.  (For example - a knob or latch on a door or cupboard.)

3.  Go around your home and collect items that will fit in the cups on your scale.  Your Little may have fun helping you hunt for items!

4.  Allow your Little to gently place items in the cups and compare their weight.

Older preschoolers and school age Littles 

should be encouraged to make predictions 

before they weigh their objects!

A Toddler Tip!

Toddlers and young preschoolers will enjoy

placing items in the scale and watching to see

which way it tips!

This is a great time to introduce the concept of “heavier” and “lighter”.

When Laura taught enrichment Summer School classes,

this activity quickly became a fan favorite! 

Play dough and marbles can provide hours of discovery for older Littles!

I know my great nephew and niece will love it,

so I’ll be bringing the supplies with me to the lake 

for some 4th of July fun!

In fact, I know some Middles (namely dads and Grands)

who will be equally intrigued!

CAUTION! Keep marbles away from young Littles!


• Play dough  (homemade or 3-4 store bought containers)

• Marbles

• A cookie sheet or the lid of a cardboard box


1. Roll play dough into snakes.  Make some long snakes and some shorter snakes.

2. Place the snakes on the sheet pan (or cookie sheet).  You can also use the lid of a box.  Push each snake gently into the pan/lid so that each adheres.  Create a path for the marbles to run down (similar to a pinball path), using multiple snakes to do so, as shown below.  

Prop up one end of your pan/lid (we used a few books to do so).  You can do this on the floor or on a table top.

3. It’s time to test your track!  Starting at the top of the track, roll one marble down at a time!  At this point your Little may want to make snake adjustments so the marbles move more successfully or faster through the route!

A Toddler Tip!

Your toddler Littles will love making snakes with play dough!

And here’s a simple AND safe alternative!

Last year, Little L had fun sending popsicle sticks down

toilet paper tubes we’d taped to the wall!

Are you ready to have a blast with your Littles!

If so, give this activity - another favorite from our Kindergarten archives - a try!

It’s a great indoor activity for a rainy day or on a super hot day  

It could even be a fun craft/favor to make at a birthday party!

A Pom Pom Launcher combines fun and discovery for Littles of all ages

and by using soft launching object, safety is insured!

We’ve provided two options for making your own

- one using a paper cup and the other a toilet paper roll - 

with decorating ideas that would work with either version!!


• Paper cups or empty toilet paper rolls

Exacto knife (if using paper cups)

• 12” balloons

• Duct tape or clear packing tape

• Scissors

• Pom poms - ½ - 1 inch works best (see below for other options)

• Craft materials to decorate launcher  (craft/scrapbook/wrapping paper, stickers, etc)


1. If you are using a paper cup for your launcher, have a grown up cut the bottom out of the cup with an Exacto knife (or scissors).  If you are using toilet paper rolls, you can skip this step.

2. This step is completely optional!  For Littles who like to do crafts, they can decorate the cups/toilet paper rolls with fun paper, stickers, foam shapes, markers and more!  (NOTE: Some paper cups have a thin plastic covering so washable markers/crayons don't always work... we suggest testing ahead of time.). Provide tape, glue and scissors, as needed.

3. Choose a balloon and knot the end (about ¼ inch from the end).  Then, using scissors,  cut off the very top of the balloon (at the opposite end from the tied end).

Stretch the balloon over the bottom end of the cup )or on one end of the toilet paper roll).  Center the knot over the opening.

4. Wrap duct tape/packing tape around the cup or toilet paper roll, sealing the balloon as shown in both examples.

Perhaps you noticed that, once I'd applied the duct tape, I added a few more decorations (stickers) to the launcher I made from the paper cup. Your Little could certainly do the same.

Now, you and your Little(s) are ready for some fun!


Load the pom pom launcher with one or more pom poms,

aim upward or outward, pull the knotted end of the balloon and…LET GO!

A Toddler Tip!

Since pom poms are soft, they are safe to use with toddlers!

Your young Littles will love it when you

launch pom poms in the air above them!

And they will love helping to pick them up, too!

May the Discovery Time activities we shared today

inspire you to find joy with your own Littles

as you explore and experiment together!

As always, we’d love to hear from you, too!

Do you have one or more Discovery Time activities to share?

If so, please comment at the end of this post!

We love learning from each other!

As another option, you can always reach out to us 

at if you prefer!

Don’t forget to check us out on our social media sites…

You can find us on  InstagramFacebook and Pinterest, too!!

(You'll find our social media links at the top of each post!)

New content can always be found there!

Look for us to return next week with two new posts…

A SUMMER FAVE - Fireworks in a Jar!


3, 2, 1… SUMMER FUN - Creation Station! 

❤️ We are delighted to join the following link up parties and blog hops! ❤️









10 commenti

27 giu

These are wonderful learning activities for children. Thank you for sharing them with us at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #43.

Steph@CrazyLittleLovebirds ♡

Mi piace
Our Grand Lives
27 giu
Risposta a

Thanks for providing the opportunity for us to share, Steph! Have a great week!

- 💕 Laura

Mi piace

23 giu

All great activities for kids...Thanks so much for stopping by!! I hope you are having a great weekend!!


Deb Debbie-Dabble Blog

Mi piace
Our Grand Lives
24 giu
Risposta a

Thank you, Deb! I always love seeing what you are up to! Happy week ahead!

- 💕 Laura

Mi piace

22 giu

Oh, my husband would be entertained with the marble/play dough AND the pompom launcher, hahahah.

Take care and best wishes

Debra | Gma’sPhoto

Mi piace
Our Grand Lives
24 giu
Risposta a

I was certainly entertained and I was having so much fun! I can't wait to bring this activity to the lake next week... we'll see who loves it more (the Littles or the Grands)! Wishing you a great week ahead! - 💕 Laura

Mi piace

Doris Arthur
Doris Arthur
22 giu

Great ideas to keep kids entertained and learning while indoors! The activities like making marble tracks and crafting pom pom launchers looks like loads of fun and educational too. Perfect for summer days inside!

Doris/ <a href="">Pure Life Gem</a>

Mi piace
Our Grand Lives
24 giu
Risposta a

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Doris! We are always looking for fun and easy ways to keep our Littles entertained - especially during the hot days of summer! - 💕 Laura

Mi piace

20 giu

I love these ideas! We made those pom pom launchers when my boys were in middle school but we used them outside and I think they shot mini marshmallows at one another.

Mi piace
Our Grand Lives
24 giu
Risposta a

I can't wait to bring the supplies for this project to the lake next weekend... with the mini marshmallows, of course! Thanks, as always, Joanne, for stopping by! - 💕 Laura

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