Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Be Houdini in Your Kitchn
The errands of the day were done. The tasks completed and before us was a treasure box of 30 minutes before bedtime. What were we to do with such a gift? Below us in the basement lay the small mountain of birthday gifts recently unwrapped awaiting just such an opportunity. Lily headed downstairs knowing just which one she wanted to explore first. She'd thought about it all day hoping there would be time to work on it together with me. A few moments later, her toothless smiling face emerged and she was clutching the box of science experiments she'd chosen for her birthday bucket. She was so excited someone has chosen it for her.
She read through the various choices of experiments and zeroed in on one. In moments we had gathered our materials: baking soda, water, grape juice, paper, paintbrush, cotton balls, beakers and measuring cups and spoons. We mixed the baking soda and water together and, with her tongue carefully tucked to one side, she spelled out her secret message with the paintbrush. We let it dry for a bit while we chose another experiment to explore. Finally, with cotton ball in hand, she dipped it in the grape juice and dabbed it on the paper. Like magic the letters appeared spelling out, "I Love You". Moments like that last a lifetime. I wonder which one we'll do tonight!
As part of my many years in the classroom, I had the pleasure of creating and running a K-5 science lab. Science is like magic to children and they love to explore it! It is far from the dusty beakers and chemical formulas that may be echoing in your minds. It's the core of curiosity. The need to explore the world. The ying and yang of questions that lead to answers that lead to more questions to explore. I invite you this week to look at your kitchen a bit differently and have some science fun with us! It's easy. I promise. Some of my favorites are below! I'd love to hear more about yours on our Facebook page!
1. Whose on Bottom?
Grab a clear drinking glass or other slender clear glass container. Gather 5-7 liquids from your kitchen: milk, oil, syrup, dish soap, pickle juice, mustard, anything will do. Help your child pour a layer of it in the glass. Then carefully add a 2nd liquid and watch to see if it sits on top of the first one, sinks to the bottom or mixes together with it. Follow with a 3rd one carefully. Then a 4th, etc. Each liquid has it's own density and will rest in their scientific order. Check out the picture below for one fun glass of liquid layers. Notice they added a few solids as well for more density explorations. Fun!
2. Milk Fireworks
Fill a shallow dish like a pie pan with milk. Carefully add 3-4 drops of blue food coloring on one side. Carefully add 3-4 drops of yellow food coloring to the other side. Next put some dish soap on your fingertip and then place your finger in the milk next to one of the food coloring pools. What happens? Try this also with water and pepper. Science is magic!
3. Best Volcano ever
Kids never tire of volcanos especially ones that shoot really high. The classic experiment of mixing baking soda and vinegar together is so fun to do. To make your volcano really shoot high, find a funnel that will fit snugly over a bottom container. If you quickly snap the funnel over the top after adding the vinegar to the baking soda, the pressure will build and shoot the volcano way up high through the funnel. Love it! I confess that this was actually the unity ceremony when my husband and I married complete with test tubes of pink and blue liquids, a graduated cylindar and ribbons. True story. :-)
4. Rise Young Egg Rise!
Be a Houdini in your own kitchen and make an egg rise all by itself. Place an egg in a glass of water. Slowly begin to sprinkle salt in the glass. Sprinkle more salt and more....watch what happens. Tada! Now how to make that work with a lady?
Grab some 3x5 index cards, some glue and a collection of fun smells from the spice cabinet. Put some glue on one side of the card and cover it with a spice such as garlic, cinnamon, oregano, etc. Label it. Then either let littles ones explore the myriad of smells or older children can play a blind man's bluff guessing game with the cards.
6. Green = ? + ?
Grab a coffee filter and a secondary color marker (purple, green or orange). Cut a strip from the coffee filter and color a dot with one of the markers about half way up it. Place the bottom edge in water and observe what happens. Great color unmixing experiment! Another classic one is to put a white flower in food coloring and see what happens. Last year, Lily and I spliced the stem of a carnation and put half of it in yellow water and half into blue water. What do you think happened?