Funny what a stopwatch can get kids to do.

My 2nd- and 3rd-graders were learning number series – counting by 2s, 3s, 5s and learning how to say their phone numbers. They were doing fine with it all, but even I was bored.

I started timing how fast each could say his or her phone number. No big production, no big competition, just showing them their times, and moving on to the next student. I didn’t even remember individual times, but they apparently did, because they started practicing on their own and then they came to me asking for one more chance.

I was happy to oblige.


Yes, yes, we’ve all made it. But have you made it in class? With toddlers who have somehow managed to live to the age of 3 and yet have never made lemonade before? Expect a whole lot of smileage here.

What you need:
Per kid
1 lemon
125-250 ml water (bottled, if you prefer)
sugar to taste
drinking cup
squeezy thingy (juicer, I think – the non-electric sort)

cutting board

What you do:

  1. Play with the lemon. (Hide the lemon. Count the lemon. Pass the lemon around the circle.)
  2. Wash your hands and wash the lemon.
  3. Use the palm of your hand and a hard flat surface to roll the lemon until it is soft.
  4. Smell your hands.
  5. Adults: Slice the lemon in half, then put the knife away.
  6. Use the squeezy thingy to squeeze out as much juice as you can.
  7. Pour juice into a cup, then add water and sugar to taste. Stir.
  8. Have camera ready.
  9. Drink!


  • If you have a small potted tree hanging around, place lemons in it and turn it into a lemon tree. Call it a magic tree if the kids happen to remember it’s the same tree you hid the Easter eggs in.
  • If you want to teach sweet, sour and salty, try this: fill two pitchers with water. Add salt to one, and sugar to another. Don’t tell the kids, but do remember which is which. Let the kids taste a little (just a few drops) of each and discuss their reactions. Before you add water to the lemon juice, have them taste the juice (have the camera ready), and try to discuss their reactions.

Up the Waterspout

It occurs to me that I’m not entirely sure what a waterspout looks like. Is that what I call a rainpipe? Whatever it is, the sun is out, so let’s go climb that thing.

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