Monday, December 28, 2009

January Dates

In January we are set for two sessions of Messy Fingers:

January 5: Build It!

January 19: Ice

Please sign up at the Millbury Public Library - 508 865-1181. Space is limited to 12 kids age 3 - 5.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Our group at the library had a terrific time getting exceptionally messy while exploring Liquids. Each parent/child pair were given three mystery liquids, a dropper, and wax paper. We took a drop of each liquid and put it on the wax paper to see what it would do. One liquid made a high dome, one was flat, and one spread out only a little. Then came the magic. We put each of the three liquids in a jar together. They magically separated in to three layers yo can see above.

We then tried dropping things in to the liquids to see what would happen. We tried buttons, glitter, and cork. The cork floated at the top, the buttons dropped so they floated on the bottom layer and the glitter seems to float on top of each of the three layers!

Our mystery liquids were: water with a bit of red food coloring, corn syrup, and vegetable oil.

Then we got really messy by making something called Goop or Oobleck depending on your recipe. I call it a non-Newtonian fluid. This substance is neither a liquid or a solid but takes on characteristics of both. Liquids will conform to the shape of the container they are in and solids stay in their own shape. Here's the secret recipe: 1 box of corn starch and 1.5 cups of water.

We all touched the corn starch and some water before mixing. When we first put the water in, the corn starch was HARD to stir. The slower you stirred the easier it was. Once it was all mixed, we played in it. If you slap or squeeze the mixture, it will act like a solid. If you move slowly with it, it acts like a liquid.

These area great experiments that you can do with your whole family. If you want to play with liquids even more, here are some other ideas to inspire you.

Science words: hard, smooth, slimy, slippery, density

What liquid is this? Try putting sugar water, plain water and white vinegar into small jars or bottles that can be capped. Can you look at the liquids and tell what they are? If you shake them, are they different? If you open them, can you tell what they are? What senses did you use?

Compare and contrast different juice. Pour orange juice, tomato or V8 juice, and apple juice into clear glasses. What do you notice about them? How are they different. If you close your eyes, can you use your sense of touch to figure out which juice is which?

Solid versus liquid. What would happen if you put an ice cube in a container? Does it take the shape of the container or stay as a cube? What happens if you let it melt – does it take the shape of the container now?

Play with volume. Grab some containers and head to the tub. How many of the smallest containers of water does it take to fill the largest container? If you pour the water out of a container, does it have a shape? Are bubbles liquid? Do they act like water?


(Note: there are dozens of books with the title: Solid, liquid and gas. Most are pretty good and available at the library.)
Solid, liquid or gas? By Sally Hewett
Solids, liquids, and gases by Carol Lindeen
Solids, liquids, and gases by John Farden
Liquids by Jim Mezzanote

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Bears invaded the library! We learned about bears - all seven types in the world and then we made bear masks of our favorites. There were polar bears, brown bear, black bears, pandas, and spectacled bears.
Everyone brought bears from home and Mrs. V loaned us a few too. We sorted the bears in to piles. Each pile had to have at least two bears in it and there had to be at least two piles. We sorted our bears based on size, color, clothing, realistic/make-believe looking, and even softness. Sorting of any objects is an excellent way for children to learn about classification. Ask probing questions about why your child sorts objects into the categories they chose. Learning to explain why is a key science skill.
Bears have a habitat where they live. It has shelter, food and water in it. We pretended to be bears gathering food, water, and playing in our "den" made from blankets and the tables in the children's section.
Check out some of these other activities you can do at home with bears.

Science words: Habitat, food, water, shelter, hibernate, sort

Bear Numbers: Give your child 10 teddy grahams or gummi bears. Have cards with the numbers 1 -10 on them. Pull out a card and put that number of bears on the card. Put the 10 bears back in their pile. Repeat the process three or four times. If you use gummi bears, you can also set the bears up in piles according to color. Which is the largest pile? Which color had the least?

Sort out other groups of stuffed animals or train engines or other group of toys. There must be at least two members in ea ch pile.

Have a bear meal – fish, nuts, berries and honey!

Bear facts:
Bears are mammals – just like people
Bears are omnivores – they eat meat and plants – just like people
There are eight different species of bears. They are Asiatic, Black, Brown, Polar, Panda, Sloth, Spectacled and Sun.
Bears live everywhere in the world except Antarctica and Australia.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Corduroy by Don Freeman

Resources on the Web: – international bear association – LOADS of biology for parents – loads of bear stories and activities with great coloring pages – seasonal bear activity for older preschoolers