Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Unplugged - Stone

What a fun theme for this week's Unplugged Project! First I thought about garden stones, then I thought about the book "Stone Soup." But ultimately I settled on a few activities centered around a unique Michigan treasure, the Petoskey stone. Petoskeys are fossilized corals found in and around the Great Lakes in Northern Michigan. When you find them on the shore, they are sometimes rough and bumpy, but many times they are polished beautifully by the sand. Some people sand down the rough ones for display, or you can buy nicely finished ones in the touristy shops. M and I have spent many, many hours beach combing for Petoskeys and beach glass, and anything interesting, really, and we have buckets and bags full in the basement.

I showed E some of the stones we had around, and she thought they were pretty and fun to touch. I didn't think that E was old enough to stay interested in sanding down a stone, but I figured she might get interested in making Petoskey Stone Treats! I found a website that suggested making Cheerio Crispy Treats and shaping them like rocks. Sounded like a great idea, but I forgot the cardinal rule of the Unplugged Project..."Know Thy Child." I COMPLETELY FORGOT that my daughter has an irrational fear of marshmallows. As I opened the package and asked her to help me measure 4 cups, she actually gasped in horror. "I don't want dem!" Even after they melted in the microwave, I couldn't coax her to eat even one sticky, sugary Cheerio. As per the directions, I greased up her hands so she could help me shape the stones, but she refused, with actual tears in her eyes. She wiped her hands in her hair (lovely) and stormed out of the room. Even so, I was pretty pleased with the results, shown in the picture below.
On the left is a rough stone found up north, and on the right a pretty Petoskey heart given to us for a wedding present. In the middle, the edible stone...I briefly considered lining up the Cheerios so they looked more realistic, but gave that up immediately. I had forgotten how really really sticky melted marshmallows can be!

Phase II of Project Petsokey went a lot better. While E was napping, I hid 10 stones (all kinds) in her sandbox. After she had milk and a snack, I told her that we had another stone activity, and she was excited to go rock hunting. I gave her a pail of water to rinse them and a few shovels, and I removed all the other sand toys. She came up with a way to search for rocks using her bare feet, and she even asked one rock, "What's your name?" I don't know if it answered.


After dinner, I'm happy to say, E actually ate the Petoskey Stone Treats. After a few tentative bites, she said "More." I gave her a few small ones which she devoured, and I said, "No, that's all for now." "That's okay," she said. "We can make more stones tomorrow." Hmm. I wonder if she remembers that marshmallows are the main ingredient?!

14 comments:

STRETCHING said...

Very nice! Do you think she also knows it takes a very very long long time to make a stone????

Robyn said...

Kids are so funny. My son can be pretty irrational about getting his hands dirty, so I can relate.

Gottfredsen said...

What Fun Projects. Thanks For Sharing.

Kate in NJ said...

Cute project!

Nature Mama said...

Fun project :) to cute about the fear of marshmallows *grin*

Little Bits of Everything said...

How sweet...her fear of marshmallows. Love you project ideas. Kids love searching for things don't they?

Little Bits of Everything said...

yes, you can totally break them by hand. they are still a little soft in the middle...we used "tools" just for the fun of it, but only for the first one or two, then they were enjoying smashing them with their bare hands! :)

princessofsomething said...

what a cutie patootie! Fear of marshmallows . . . what a funny phobia!

Great projects!

Bobbie said...

that is hilarious.. wish my kids were scared of marshmallows... maybe you should try making them.. the ingredients are sugar, water, geletin and beat for a long long time... maybe then she wont be scared...

about the hot rocks, you just draw with the crayon as it melts like you would a paintbrush.. you probably shouldnt touch them as they can be very hot (depends how long you leave them in the oven) but if you want good results they should be hot)

Michie said...

I think it is too cute that she asked the stone what it's name was!

Mia's Mama said...

Mmmm yummy stones! I LOVE that she asked it's name!

Clare said...

Thats so funny that you did a "rock hunt" in the same plastic turtle sand box. You know what is crazy? I had the same sandbox as a kid!

I like your edible stone idea! Sounds yummy!

juliekintaiwan said...

Had to giggle at the fear of marshmellows ;) great idea to do a hunt in the sandbox for stones.

School for Us said...

A friend gave my daughter a Peoskey rock once. I wish I knew where it was so I could show it to her! Anyway, I didn't know you could sand them. Very neat! And, I think my daughter would like the Cheerio and marshmallow creations. :-)

 
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