Flubber Blunder

As I said I was going to do on Wednesday, yesterday the kids and I attempted to make flubber…. It could have ended better. Wednesday night I went out to the store to pick up the borax and glue. I found the glue but could not for the life of me find borax. I looked in the laundry isle, the dish washing isle and a few other random isles just in case. I even asked someone that worked there and they sent me back to the laundry isle saying if they had it that’s where it would be. It appeared that Wegmans did not carry borax, so I quickly ¬†looked up substitutes for borax. I found that corn starch and baking soda can be used as substitutes for borax. I knew there was a chance that the chemical reaction wouldn’t happen without the borax but I was willing to try.

All ready to start
All ready to start

Come Thursday morning I got everything for our project ready. Penny and Jude were so excited to make the flubber. Like I said I was going to do, I had Penny help me mix the first bowl of ingredients and Jude helped me with the second bowl. Then we poured the glue and food coloring mixture in the first bowl into the second bowl which had the baking soda and hot water in it. Nothing happened. No chemical reaction occurred and we were standing there mixing a bowl of pink watered down glue. It wasn’t my finest moment as a creative nanny.20140925_101634

Thinking on my feet I quickly said to the kids “Oh man it didn’t work! Oh well let’s put it in ziplock bags and squish it.” And so with a new plan in place I got the watery pink glue into double ziplocks as quickly as I could. I made a big deal out of how cool it was going to be to squish the stuff around in the bags. They played with the stuff for about ten minutes before Penny realized that it wasn’t really that fun. Luckily she had a great idea, playdough! I brought out the playdough and even pulled out some fall themed cookie cutters to enhance the fun, and they were off! They played with the playdough for almost an hour and I got my wish and had some time to do some homework!20140925_102126What did I learn from this experience? When you are trying to make flubber or anything similar to flubber you actually need to have the correct ingredients to cause the chemical reaction. I told my best friend who is also a nanny about my failed attempt and she simply laughed at me saying of course I couldn’t use baking soda instead of borax. I guess when it comes to the science side of nannying I don’t know everything yet. I am sorry I can’t say whether or not the flubber recipe that I linked in my last post is good or not. Perhaps the kids and I will try the recipe again sometime, when I actually can find borax.

Flubber?

This week I have decided I am going to make homemade flubber with Penny and Jude. Penny doesn’t have school tomorrow thanks the the Jewish holiday and so I thought it would be a good idea to do a craft that would both take a little while to make but would also encourage independent hands on playing for a long time. This is where the idea of flubber came in. I was looking through my pin board at all the crafts and activities I have been pinnying of late and came across this link to Schelastic Education Center’s blog on how to make flubber.

The recipe looks simple enough: water, glue, food coloring, and borax. The directions also look fairly straight forward. My guess is I will have one kid help me mix the first bowl of ingredients and have the second kid help me with the second bowl. And once the ingredients have all come together to make the flubber I am hoping that they will be playing with it for a long time! I’m hoping for an hour or more but I don’t want to get my hopes up they could just as easily get bored the second we are done making it and want to go outside and play with the little girl that lives next door, she is a year older than Penny and they love playing Anna and Elsa together. However my hope is they do love it and are able to play with it all morning so that (cross my fingers) I can get some reading done. The life of an English major is filled with things to read!

This plan is in no way fool proof! I have never made flubber with the kids before. The closest thing we have ever made to this was play dough. Like every other recipe or craft found online there is always the chance that it won’t work. The recipe could be flawed, missing a step or ingredient, Penny or Jude might by accident spill something or cause one of the bowls to fall onto the floor making a huge mess, a melt down could occur forcing discipline instead of fun, or the kids could be totally uninterested in making it. (Scenarios like these run through my head on a daily bases.) However bad it could turn out to be I am still willing to take the chance and if nothing else be able to tell you to find a different recipe!

Even though I am preparing for the worst I think this activity will go off well. It has all the elements that Penny and Jude love: hands on, cooking (in a way), colors, and a rewarding end result. As I said above I am hoping for a good hour of independent play time with the stuff. Who knows this could work out great, or terribly…. If you want to know what happens with this recipe stay tuned for the results, coming Friday afternoon (while the kids are napping.) I’ll give you all the messy/funny details. Until then you can imagine me knee deep in a green flubber explosion.

Forts and play time

Thursday night I went and saw one of my favorite bands, Rend Collective, play and so come Friday morning I was a little tired. The kids were super energetic and were craving something creative and a little destructive. Instead of giving into temptation and putting on a show I pulled out one of my old tricks, “Let’s build a fort!” Kids love everything about forts; they love the idea, the process of making one, the playing in it, and of course the destroying of the fort. All in all I thought it was a pretty good ¬†idea, and Penny and Jude did as well.

Today's fort, big enough for two.
Today’s fort, big enough for two.

In the past we have made elaborate forts that have encompassed the whole living and/or playroom, but today they wanted to make a simple small fort out of the couch cushions. They ripped off the couch cushions and commenced building the fort. They were feeling independent today and only wanted my help when it came to putting the roof on their new imagination castle. Once I placed the roof on the games began! With the cushions in use I sat on the ground and enjoyed the scene unfolding before me. Penny started bringing supplies for their new home while Jude simply giggled inside the new abode. Penny brought dolls, wooden food, extra pillows, blankets, and any other toy she thought was needed in the fort. Once they had successfully filled the fort with all the necessary things the inevitable happened, it came tumbling down. Jude may or may not have been the main cause of the collapse. Penny was disappointed but quickly got over it discovering rolling around in the debris was fun as well. The fort served its purpose, the kids were entertained for over an hour from the building to destruction.

As I mentioned before I have made a lot of forts, some more elaborate than others. One of my favorite forts I ever made I found the idea for on Pinterest. It is a truly simple design. All you need is a duvet cover and a fan. Secure the cover to the fan and then turn it on. It creates an air bubble in which you can play in. It is tons of fun! If you want to see what that one looks like click here. When I made this one with Penny and Jude it was a raining day and so I needed something that would be entertaining for a long time, we literally played in it all morning. I recommend it to anyone who needs to entertain kids. Of course there are other more classic designs for forts, such as the chairs and blankets one, the blankets and couch one, or the blankets and every other thing in the room design. All forms are fun and usually can take up a decent amount of time. I know not everyone is as well versed in the art of fort making and so if you need any help you can click here, or if you want other ideas on how to spend time with kids you can follow my nannying pin board. Each week I will be taking an idea from this board and trying it out with the kids and letting you know how it goes.

The Kids

Before I get started telling you all about the funny and crazy things that happen with the kids I nanny I thought I should introduce you guys to them, in a way. I take care of two kids who for the purpose of discretion I will refer to on this blog as Penelope, Penny for short, and Jude. I have known them their whole lives and love taking care of them. They are incredibly close to each other, only being 360 days apart, and could happily play some imaginary game with each other for hours. However close they are they are incredibly different and so I will break them down for you a little bit.

Penny is the older of the two. She is 4 1/2 and has just started going to preschool for a couple hours a day, which is an adventure in and of itself. She is tall for her age, and athletic! I honestly have never been able to say about any other child that she has had visible abs since birth. She loves all things girly, if it is covered in pink, purple, sparkles, flowers, disney princesses, or is for some other reason defined as being specifically girly she loves it. Her room oozes girl, pink comforter, tinkerbell pillow, a pink castle in the corner, a closet full of dresses and little sparkly shoes, hair accessories and dolls cover the top of her dresser, and the clothes in the dresser are all in hues of pink, purple, bright green, a little navy blue (thanks to mom), and yellow. She is an extremely loud child, I am not only referring to her voice which can be heard throughout the house but even when she walks you can hear her coming because of the booming noise that she makes as she confidently slaps each foot onto the floor. She sings her favorite songs, I can’t tell you how many time I have heard “Let it go,” and plays out all her favorite characters from her books, shows, and movies with fervor. She loves being my helper in the kitchen whether it’s setting the table for lunch, or baking with me after nap. And though for the most part she is very loud and at times bossy with her brother she is also a very tender child. She loves cuddling before and after nap, takes care of her brother, and I love watching her quietly play by herself making different voices for all her toys.

Jude is 3 1/2 and is a little charmer, already every little girl loves him. He loves wearing what he calls “handsome clothes.” Like his sister, he is tall but only within the past year or so did he lose his baby roundness. He is an animal lover, he has a large fish tank in his room full of fish with names like, beautiful, kissy, silly, and colorful. While his sister’s room is full of dolls and pink, Jude prefers stuffed animals, his fish tank, and a blue book shelf filled with books like “Where the Wild Things are” “How to talk like a Wookey” and “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” His floor is also covered with a rug that looks like a little city on which he regularly drives his cars and has his dinosaurs attack. He loves clothes in hues of blue, but not because it is a boy color but because they make his blue eyes look handsome. Jude is the quieter of the two, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t yell as loud as his sister when provoked. He sings as well taking on all the male roles in every game they play, he is my little prince charming. However do not underestimate him because of his more subdued nature, he is mischievous! He will get a little smile and a twinkle in his eye and then watch out cause something is coming! Like Penny he loves cuddling, he snuggles in, puts his thumb in his mouth, and with his other hand slowly curls a piece of his hair around his finger.