Oct 09

Egg Carton Leis

by Hannah Holt »


We’ve been working too hard this past week. Sometimes it’s time to PARTY!

Here’s a craft that’s a party all by itself.

egg carton leis craft

We cut up a few empty egg cartons. I used a skewer to punch a hole in the middle of each “egg cup.” I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.


We painted the cups and let them dry. (You might need to re-hole some of the cups after painting.) Then we strung them on a shoestring.

painting egg cartonspaintingpainted egg cartonsstringing the egg carton necklace


If you wanted to make this a Halloween craft, you could paint the cartons orange and black:

egg carton leis craft2




Sep 26

Carrot Canoes and Archimedes’ Principle

by Hannah Holt »


I’m working on a new picture book about buoyancy, so I’ve had boats on the brain lately. Like, could you turn a carrot into a boat?

carrot boat 1

Carrots don’t float. Well, I supposed if you found a dried out carrot it might float, but for the most part carrots sink.

carrot boat 2

{See, I cut off the end of a carrot and put it in water… Thunk! It sunk.}

But what if we took a carrot peeler and hollowed out the inside of a carrot?

carrot boat 3

Ta da! It floats…

carrot boat 4

Now why does the first carrot sink while the second carrot floats? They are both carrots, right?

Let’s talk about buoyancy. Buoyancy is the lift water gives you. You might have noticed you feel lighter jumping in water than on land. That’s because the water pushes you up.


How much does water push you up?

water weight

It pushes you up… the weight of the water you just replaced? Or as Archimedes Principle states:

Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.

Wow, that was a lot of words! Let’s go back to our carrot. Before we hollowed out our carrot, water still pushed up on the carrot. But the carrot was heavier than the amount of water it moved. In other words, it was too dense. So it sank.

carrot before and after2

In the second case, the carrot was lighter. The water could hold it up and it floated. You can make a carrot into a boat!

A few activities by grade-level:

Kindergarten-1st Grade: Take a potato, an apple, a carrot, and a pea. What ones float? What ones sink? Make a hypothesis: What else do you think will float? Now test it.

2nd -3rd Grade: I started with 2 cups of water (about 500 mL). The carrot and the water together have a volume of 2 ¼cups (about 525 mL). How big (in volume) is the carrot? Answer: ¼ cups big (or about 25 mL in volume)

4th – 5th Grade: One milliliter of water (volume) has a mass of one gram. The carrot took up 25 milliliters of water. How many grams of water did the carrot replace? Answer: 25 grams {You might have to walk them through this.}

6th Grade: Archimedes’ Principle says that the buoyant force on our carrot can be found like this:

The Volume of the Water (displaced by the carrot) x The Density of the Water x Gravity

If the Volume of the Water = 25 (cm³)

and the Density of the Water = 1 (g/cm³)

and Gravity = 10 (m/s²… I rounded for calculating ease.)

What is the buoyant force on the carrot?

{Answer: 25 x 1 x 10 = 250 g• m/s²} Advanced students might be interested in the units, but the main goal here is to try and plug the values into the equation.

Sep 11

Dry-erase Chore Chart

by Hannah Holt »


As you might have noticed, I’m on a dry-erase kick. But this is my easiest dry-erase project yet.

Did you know packaging tape works as a dry-erase surface? I didn’t until I tried it out the other day.

I simply printed out a chore chart for my kids and placed a piece of packaging tape over the areas they needed to check off:

chore chart

I made one for each of my boys. If they get all their chores checked off for the week, we have a special treat on Monday night.

We’ve been doing this for three weeks, and they are now in the “chore routine.” During the first couple of weeks, they forgot a chore once or twice. I let them do double chores the next day to make up for it. Hey, they wanted the treat and I want chores done. Win-win. So far this is working for us.

How do chores work at your house?

Jul 16

Clown Cups

by Hannah Holt »


It’s summer and my kids are obsessed with water play. And that’s just fine with me because it’s been HOT.

Here’s a simple water craft they can do inside (on rainy days) or outside (on days like today)…

clown cups5

You will need:

  • a paper cup
  • crayons (or markers)
  • scissors

What to do:

clown cups2

  1. Color a clown face on the paper cup and cut out the mouth (adults will probably need to help with this part).
  2. Hold the cup under running water.

clown cups3

That’s it. Easy-peasy and tons of fun.



Jul 11

UNICEF Paper Dolls

by Hannah Holt »


When I was a kid, I loved comic books. What’s not to like about epic battles between good and evil? Also I might have had a crush on Batman.

But then I got older and realized you don’t need a Lycra outfit or a mask to be a hero. Real heroes simply stand up for the things they believe in, and real heroes show their faces. I still have a soft spot for do-gooders.

So when I received an email from Kate Moore at UNICEF asking if I would make a UNICEF worker for my paper doll series, I jumped at her request.

UNICEF workers help children and their mothers in almost every country.

The hardest part of this project was deciding what UNICEF project to highlight.

Should I cover infant nutrition in Bolivia?

UNICEF Bolivia paper doll

Or increasing vaccination rates in Canada?

Canada paper doll

Or malaria prevention in Nigeria?

UNICEF Nigeria paper doll2

I only had 191 countries to choose from. In the end, UNICEF’s School-in-a-Box project appealed to the teacher in me. It’s an innovative solution to a wide-reaching problem. Here’s the purpose of School-in-a-Box from the UNICEF website:

School-in-a-Box is a portable way to keep kids learning… [and]… education going during times of crisis and conflict, or in the hardest to reach areas.
I love the idea of a portable school for children in need.
Here are the UNICEF worker paper dolls (pdf copies below):

UNICEF School-in-a-Box Paper Dolls Page 1 (pdf file)

Many thanks to Kate for all her help researching this project.
Note: This post is my way of saying thanks to UNICEF. If you feel like saying thanks to UNICEF, you can do so here or here.