Thursday, June 21, 2012

If You Can't Beat It, Utilize It!

It's been hot around here.  As I type this, it is 9pm and still around 108 degrees F outside...

Of course this has meant that outdoor time, aside from being in a pool, is not as compelling as it usually is.  But we've decided to make the best of it and braved the 'heat of the day' to conduct two experiments.

Experiment #1 ~ Making Block Crayons

Over the years I've seen others using bits of broken crayons and muffin molds to make new multi-colored crayons. So we decided to take our baggie of broken crayons and see how long it would take to let the heat outside melt them.  The idea of turning on my oven this time of year is just not appealing...

The boys enjoyed taking the paper off of the crayons.  I found this to be a great fine-motor activity for my preschooler!  He's quite a busy fellow and this kept him mesmerized for quite a while!  Then they had fun placing colored bits in our silicone muffin forms.

Next up, we took our molds outside and started forming hypotheses on how long they would take to melt.  I had no idea since many of the 'recipes' found online obviously utilized temperatures far warmer than ours.  Oldest guessed an hour, Second born guessed two and my crazy four year old guessed 9 hours!

The older boys were bummed that there was no clear winner.  When we thought to go back outside an hour and a half later, they were mostly melted so I called it a tie!  I can't imagine how quickly these would have melted if we had tried this in the afternoon instead of mid-morning!

Because we had some dirt cheap crayons in there, the colors weren't that great when we went to color with them, but the boys were thrilled anyways because they made them - with the sun's help!

Experiment #2 ~ Baking an Egg on the Sidewalk!

Over 30 years living here in the hot, hot desert and I've never tried this...  until now.  Every summer, you'll hear about the toddler that fell on the sidewalk and severely burning his skin.  And of course, there will be talk about it being so hot you can cook an egg on the sidewalk.

We decided to give it a try!  Again we made guesses on whether it would actually work or not and how long it would take to cook an egg on the sidewalk.  See, I even took out some cooking spray for easy clean-up afterwards.

An hour and a half in to our experiment the yolk was all bulgy, but the whites hadn't cooked at all.   I would love to be able to report further on our little experiment, but we simply don't know as a certain four year old found it and decided to kick that irresistible little golden 'ball'.  I'm skeptical on if this even works...  But I think we'll go ahead and try it again on a warmer day since it was merely 109 that day.  We'll also  shoot for the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead.

Has anyone else tried to 'cook' foot on the sidewalk before?  I'm thinking that this will not be the end of our summer heat experiments!

As for the rest of the days, we've been focusing on swimming and water play.  My middle guy still doesn't know how to swim.  Yes, we live in Arizona, he's almost 6 and STILL doesn't know how to swim.   He had a pretty traumatic experience 2 years ago when a man he didn't know threw him into a pool at a party and has resisted learning how to swim ever since.  I'm working on trying to get him comfortable this year so that we can proceed with actually learning how to swim.  Anyone have any ideas???

What have you all been up to outside?  I'd love to hear of your adventures in being intentional to spend time outdoors WITH your children.

The Daily Outdoor Challenge


  1. This is such a great idea!!! I'm so glad you posted this, I'm now rescuing a container of broken crayons from the office garbage!

  2. What a fun way to make the most of the heat! So glad you shared this at the Outdoor Play Party! Will look and see what I can link up to your challenge - we definitely make it a priority to spend time outdoors every day.

  3. For the son now afraid of the water, I would talk with him about his need for life to be safe around water, then pray for and with him, then, one on one, give him baby steps in facing the water/swimming, encouraging him frequently that courage isn't the absence of fear but is facing your fears with God's strength. Then both his faith and his swimming skills will be strengthened. Though my sister in time became a life guard, not understanding my fear of or lack of prowess in the water, I never overcame my fear of the water as a child even though going to a pool was always a big treat for me. I just never went where it was over my head! When I was 10 I learned to hold my breath and put my face in the water and to float on my back, but have never learned to swim other than under water and dog paddle. The coordination of turning my head to breathe along with proper kicking and arm movements remained beyond me, partly due to my thinking it just shouldn't be as hard and taxing as it was! Hope this helps!

  4. Well ... the egg works better on the black top (or put a piece of foil underneath it to act as a solar oven). LOVE your challenge. We might just join you in this adventure of loving our weather smack dab in the middle of the summer!

  5. WE dont get hot enoph here in Wa but we do swim. I totaly understand what your son feels my parents put me in swimm lession when i was 5 or 6 they threw us off the diving doard with life jackets!! I wouldnt do it so the pushed me off!! I It wasnt tell I was 9 I learned how to swim, It was at a family vocation, relaxed but my parents were furm with me that I need to learn some kind of swim just incase i need it. I still dont swimm the best. My son was 9 yrs old when he learnd how to swim, he has never been a water boy, never had to worry about him going into water, he hated getting his face wet. he is scared of water, we tryed everything on our own, so we put him in swimm lessions (we also did a bible study on courage in kid of integerity ( ) ) he was the oldest in the class so he had to be brave. the teacher was great she walked him around the swimming pool to show that he can stand up and tuch all over, that was a big help i saw the releaf drain from his face:) then she got him jumping up and down under water geting use to getting his face wet and holding his breath. all wile he can tuch and still chaleng him, he advanced so fast because he was ready! so dont rush it take him to water and just keep it safe. let him feel confertable slowly with the water, but make shure he understands the danger around water not knowing how to swim, he scared so i cant see him jumping in. I still dont care to much for water but can enjoy my self in it. Blessing and prayer

  6. THANK YOU so much for the encouragement with my son and swimming. I really appreciate you insight and encouragement. It's brought my attention back to the Lord and in seeking Him with my son in this area.

    Sarah, I feel another EXPERIMENT coming on. Thank you so much for the egg ideas!