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!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Messy Fingers Starts today

Today starts Messy Fingers and we are going to explore Spiders!!

This is only the start- we will continue every Tuesday for a total of four weeks. Messy Fingers is a science program for preschoolers and their parents.  We will explore some fall science for an hour starting at 10:30am at the Millbury Public Library.

You know you want to be there....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Glow in the Dark Jello

I have very good friends. When I asked one of my friends in book club if she had a black light, not only was she not entirely surprised by the question, but she had a nice hand-held black light. I was making glow in the dark jello.

Now as you can tell the jello isn't glowing yet, but wait. This is a crazy fun activity to do but it does take some special ingredients.  Here's what you need:

Jello - pick two colors to see if one glows more. I found one color glowed more - who knew!
Tonic Water - check for quinine, you need it
A black light

I used melon and apricot flavors since I was taking this to my book club. We read a book that totally inspired me to make something glowing. The cover of the book glowed in the dark.

I mixed the jello according to directions by mixing it with the hot water first and then using the tonic water instead of the cold water.

There was a lot of foam on the jello even after letting the tonic water sit for a while.

And the jello glowed just as advertised.  But how did it taste?

The overwhelming review was thumbs up. Most of the folks on Pintrest suggested whipped cream and found that was a key addition. The jello is slightly bitter from the quinine but that makes a very refreshing treat for a hot day. The whipped cream was a lovely way to smooth it out without making it too sweet.

And one color did glow more than the other. Care to guess which one glowed more?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sun Paper

It isn't often that I suggest something expensive or fancy to do science with preschoolers, but this is one of the exceptions: Sun Print Paper. This is photosensitive paper allows you to keep a shadow more permanently.

Making shadows on this paper is easy but you have to be prepared.

There different companies that carry this paper and other similar papers. They are a bit pricy to it is best to be very familiar with the directions before opening the paper. Once exposed, the paper cannot be used again. 

Here's what you need:
A sunny day
Sun paper
A handful of objects
A small piece of cardboard or clip board
If it is at all windy, a piece of clear plastic like for an overhead projector

Find a flat spot and pick your objects. Plan how you want to lay them out as you can't move them once you start. 

When you have everything, put your sun paper on the cardboard upside down. Flip it right side up and place your objects. Wait for 1-5 minutes. The paper will fade to a light blue when it is finished developing. 

Turn the paper over and take it inside to finish.  Rinse the paper in water for one minute.

 Let the paper dry flat.
The paper will darken a bit as it dries. To make it completely flat, you can put the dry paper in a book for  few days. 

This paper is a blast to play with but it can be pricy if you mess it up. An alternative is to try non-fade resistant construction paper. You have to hunt for it,but dollar stores are a good bet. Place the objects on the paper but you have to leave them in place for most of a sunny afternoon. Then you can keep the shadows by putting up on a wall that is out of the sun. 

Have fun and get messy!