Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gliders Roundup

In a previous post, we explored gliders and paper airplanes. If you search for preschool gliders, well, you can see from the image above pretty much the only kid of glider you will discover so I am going to sift through the furniture ads and pictures of cute Australian sugar gliders to find some flying machines you and your preschooler can make.

Straw Gliders
This is a nice description of the gliders we make in Messy Fingers with a bit of good explanation at the end as to why this flies.

Essentially the two circles help to channel the air and create lift. What happens if the two circles are the same size? Does it matter which way you throw the glider - small circle or big circle first?

Egg Carton Glider
This is a really cool glider made from a foam egg carton. There is no explanation at that site as to how or why it flies the way it does. It is presented more as a craft project, but the template is great.

Is the penny necessary?  What would happen if you left it out or added two pennies?

This was a very colorful and detailed explanation of how to make these gliders.  Here is a better explanation of the science, but with only two colors.

Does the length of the wings matter to the helicopter?  If you made them shorter or longer what happens?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Pumpkins are such a great to enjoy science and fall at the same time. I found a great blog with some fun preschool pumpkin science ideas. Check it out here.

Now don't think for a single second that all those are actually science activities. Remember that when we are scientists we ask questions, make predictions, then we collect data, analyze the data, and then recheck our question.

Soo, when you see the erupting pumpkin recognize that it is a really fun activity but you will need  to help your child by making predictions and asking good questions. But it looks really cool!!

And before you start carving that scary jack-o-lantern, take a moment to make some predictions about what you think is inside it, how big it is, if it might float, how it smells, and if you are brave, how it tastes. Me, I think it tastes yucky. Yep, that is my science word - yucky.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Messy Fingers on the Move

Messy Fingers is on the move!

First stop will be our home at the Millbury Public Library every Tuesday in October. Call (508) 865 1181 to reserve a space.

Then Beginning Years Family Network is supporting Messy Fingers visiting five new towns this fall and winter. Check out this announcement for Messy Fingers in Upton.

Look for Messy Fingers to travel to Auburn, Grafton, Douglas, Upton, and Blackstone/Millville.

Upton's scheduled to take place in the Upton Public Library on Oct 2, 16, 30, and Nov 13.

This fall we will be exploring bubbles, pumpkins, incline planes, and our five senses.

Come check it out!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter science

I found a really great listing of science experiments that were all egg or Easter themed. I knew you'd want to see them so HERE they are!  Guess what we are doing this weekend?  I am starting at the top and working my way down the list!

And I put that picture up to remind me to send out eggs to my niece and nephews tomorrow!  If you join me in this silly tradition, you need to ask for stamps - the meter strips are too big to fit on the eggs.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A quick look back at 2013

I was looking back over the 2013 posts and realized that my most popular post wasn't exactly about Messy Fingers but about Jello. The number one post from 2013 was how to make glow in the dark jello.

Why make Glow in the Dark Jello? For my bookclub it was thematic and since it is made with quinine, it has a slight bitterness that many not be appealing to kids. But my lovely literary friends, thought it was spectacular on many  levels. And that is only one small part of why I adore my bookclub friends - they get me.

Why should you try Glow in the Dark Jello?

Anytime you can spark your family's curiosity is a win in my book. Cooking food is chemistry at its best but we rarely step back and think about all the wondrous events that have to occur for meat to cook, onions to caramelize, or even milk to be pasteurized.

Food experiments are an easy way for everyone to start talking science. Why did the Jello glow? Would it glow if we made it with soda or orange juice? Why doesn't it glow in regular light? What would happen if.... These are the very best of questions to begin asking. All science begins with questions and the more practice you have thinking about great questions the better science questions you'll ask.

I am a huge fan of all things Glow in the Dark and different things glow for different reasons. What are your favorite Glow in the Dark objects?  And why do they glow....

Monday, December 30, 2013

Snow Days

It is that time of year when soon we will have a snow day. When you've got kids home unexpectedly, what do you do with them?  Yes, you can watch movies all day but that gets old really fast. Why not try some science!?

If you have a few things tucked away in a science box, you can put out the coolest snow day ever. And what parent doesn't love a little learning disguised as fun?!

Here is what I have in my box:
coffee filters
pipe cleaners
food coloring
foam brushes
various science toys

*food coloring and foam brushes - this can be turned into snow painting by putting some of the food coloring in small containers, add water and go paint the snow.

*coffee filters - use these to make symmetrical butterflies by folding in half and putting a marker on the filter until it shows on the other side. When you open it, the filter will be colored symmetrically or the same on both sides. You can fold this up and make a body out of a pipe cleaner or clothes pin.

*coffee filters - grab a snow ball and put it in the filter inside a strainer. As the snow melts, what is in the snow will stay on the filter. You can test to see if you can find the cleanest snow in your yard.

*black construction paper - put this in the freezer for a bit and then go catch snow flakes on it. You can use magnifiers to see what they look like close up. Dollar stores are a great resource for these.

*ice cubes- ok these are in the freezer. I have a few paper cups with ice. The kids can put one in spot where it will stay ice and one where it will stay frozen.

*science toys - I have some sand that doesn't get wet, hydroscopic (water loving) bubbles (Target stocking stuffer), and crystal growing kits. I also have some growing dinosaurs.

What do you have in your science stash?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Science

Halloween is one of my very favorite holidays. I live for things that glow in the dark and all the creepy crawlies!  Yes, I am that kind of girl.

Last year I challenged you to sink and float your Halloween candy. This is especially fun when you have kids with food or ingredient allergies and can't eat it anyway. Save yourself some calories and do science with candy.

Here are three simple experiments to do with your candy. I put links on the questions so you can get all the details.

1. What candy sinks and what floats? Make your predictions and then start testing them.  Since they only were in water, you can still eat them,

2. Do the Ms or Ss on M&Ms and Skittles float off?  This is kinda creepy so it is perfect for this time of year.

3. What candy is really the sourest?  Put candy to the acid test and see what candy foams the most by dissolving in water and then adding baking soda.

Have fun!!