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How to Make a Water Glider

Stock Photos: Water & rock. Image: 55113
© Photographer Joseph Cortes | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Remember how Cutie Pie was fascinated with ocean experiments a little while back? (see here and here) There was one experiment we didn’t get to do until recently. We made a water glider and tested it in the tub. This was an experiment we saw on Popular Mechanics for Kids TV show, but I have not been able to find a link to it, and I also neglected to take pictures of our glider before the tiniest hands in my home pulled the glue off, so I’m just sharing how we did it. Please comment if you find the link!
Materials:

  • plastic (like from a clean milk container)
  • hot glue
  • sugar cube
  • metal washer
  • tub full of water

First, make the glider:

Being careful, cut triangles out of a flat area plastic, one big, two small, hot gluing one small triangle to the top, one to the bottom so it looks like a glider, or plane with wings to the side and to the top and bottom as well (I wish I could say ‘see below’ and have a picture for you!) This takes a bit of coordination and care since you are dealing with scissors and hot glue.

Then, take your sugar cube and hot glue that to the bottom nose of the glider and hot glue the metal washer to the sugar cube.

Once your glider is ready, find a body of water, preferably one that is safe and that you can retrieve your glider from easily (hint, a tub or pool work the best, but only with parents’ permission and following all safety precautions.)

This is where my boys hypothesized what would happen when we let the glider go. We actually did this experiment twice, at their request.

  • The first time we tried this with warm, bath temperature water and Sweet Pea hypothesized it would glide down straight and when it hit the bottom it would go back up while Cutie Pie thought it would go in loops underwater for a long time then float back up. 
  • The second time we did this in cold water and Sweet Pea thought it would just float and Cutie Pie thought it would slither along making bends and curves and even go upside down.

What do you think happened? Did the glider float? What happened to the sugar cube and/or the washer? How many times do you think we’ve repeated this experiment since?

Water bottle fountain

I saw this neat idea this summer on Learn With Play at Home and just had to give it a go. It’s a water bottle fountain and this experiment using just an empty water bottle, balloon, straw and some sticky-tac (or clay) teaches that air takes up space.

This experiment is so clearly explained step-by-step on Learn With Play at Home and has tips for making it easier or extending it for your child.

My kiddos loved every step of this experiment. I followed the steps almost to the letter and my boys were so curious! I love it when they try to figure out why something is happening, and any experiment with air truly gets them thinking because it’s an invisible force that does something so neat!

(I took several pics, but thought I should just send you to the blog to check it out.)

Mini-Hovercraft on Water

Yesterday I posted about making a mini-hovercraft. I forgot to tell you about Cutie Pie wanting to experiment, seeing if it would float across the water.

We had a nice big pool this summer, bigger than a bathtub! This proved to be the best place to test the hovercraft.

It was hard for me to get the hovercraft flat on the surface of the water, let alone the kiddos! Even once this was accomplished the hovercraft would lean to one side and eventually push itself under the water. Upon further investigation, Cutie Pie discovered there was much more glue on the side that always went into the water first. (He later surmised this was where the leak was the other day.)

All in all, though, this was a great experiment, especially because one of the kids thought of it, thought through the process of how to make it work and who lead the experience!

How to make a mini-hovercraft

Another fun thing we did this summer was make tabletop hovercrafts! Wierd Science Kids has great instructions for how to make these using a hot glue gun, a CD, a water bottle cap (the kind that you pull up to drink from) and a balloon.

My boys had so much fun with these. Cutie Pie helped by looking at the pictures on the Wierd Science Kids site and assisting in assembling, following their process. We did have to problem solve a little bit when it wasn’t working right. Turns out there was a gap in the glue allowing air to escape.

Setting these off did take a bit of coordination, but once we got the hang of it we all had fun giving it a try! Cutie Pie could quickly explain what was making the hovercraft move so easily over the table. It was neat to see him come to the correct conclusion!

We tried guessing which way the hovercrafts would go when we set them free, but it was so hard to! I’m thinking this would lend itself to a graphing activity!

Another Gummy Bear experiment

In addition to the Yummy Gummy Bear experiment from the other day, I decided to pull the gummies out again before they were all eaten and do a little temperature/sensory experiment with them. This was a little simpler than the experiment I shared earlier in the week, but no less intriguing for my boys!


Materials:
freezer
refrigerator
microwave
plates or small bowls/cups
6 gummy bears (we did this with 1 bear for each boy)

I began by hypothesizing with the boys about what would happen to the gummy bears in the freezer for 8 hours, the refrigerator for 8 hours, and the gummy bears in the microwave for 8 hours seconds. Both boys agreed the gummies would freeze into ice, won’t be jiggly when taken out of the refrigerator, and will shrink and mush into a glob when taken out of the microwave.

Then we placed the gummies into small bowls, 2 to a bowl, and placed a bowl in the refrigerator and one in the freezer. The other we set aside to place in the microwave the next day.

We actually began by checking the refrigerator gummies and found they were cold, still a little soft and ‘chewier’.

The gummy bears taken out of the freezer were “skinnier, harder than the refrigerator ones and cold”.

What was the result from the gummy bears taken out of the microwave? You tell me!

Gummy Bear Experiment

Another idea I found this past spring for us to try on our Science days! Thank you, Ms. Baker! This Yummy Gummy experiment was originally for middle schoolers, but my youngest loves his gummy bears and when looking for science activities to do this summer I narrowed in on my boys’ likes and went from there.

Ms. Baker has a great print out for this experiment which walks you right through it from purpose to hypothesis to procedures and conclusions. The worksheet is great because you can use part of it for younger kiddos or the whole thing for older kiddos!

OK, so here is how my guys and I did the experiment. Look at the Yummy Gummy experiment for a more detailed explanation. (Remember, my boys are ages 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 and this is how I adjusted the experiment for their age group, but using Ms. Baker’s guide this could be appropriate for much older kiddos.)

Materials:

1/4 cup salt-saturated water
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemonade
4 cups
ruler
labels

First we took each of the 4 gummy bears and measured them (we used different colors, it helped us keep everything straight). This is where Ms. Baker’s sheets really came in handy, because you’ll be comparing the size of the bears at the end of the experiment.

4 gummy bears went into 4 cups. Using sticky notes Cutie Pie helped me label each cup – water, salt water, lemonade, control group (no water).

As I filled each cup with the corresponding fluid I asked for each boy to hypothesize what they thought would happen to the gummy bear (or for my 3 1/2 year old, what it would look like in the morning) then we let them set overnight. Out of curiosity they wanted to dip their finger and taste each liquid, so I let them. Then we observed what the gummy bears looked like under ‘water’. They were interested to see bubbles forming on one of the bears.

(If your boys aren’t patient waiters, this might be a good time to make homemade lemonade with them so they can feel like they actually did something constructive! I suppose you can always make the lemonade first, too!)

The next morning we observed the gummies without moving the cups. Were they larger? Smaller? The same colors? We then used a spoon and gently took them out and measured them. This was tricky!

After comparing the hypotheses with the actual results of our experiment we talked a bit about osmosis.  I won’t share our experiment results with you, because they actually differed from Ms. Bakers’ anticipated experiment results. That just added to the fun and we did it all over again!

I’d love to hear your results if you do this experiment!

A Scientist is…

I couldn’t resist copying these down as we walked through the Exploration room at the Buffalo Museum of Science. I want to frame them for Cutie Pie! Thought I’d share my favorites. I believe they came from What is a Scientist? What other phrases describe your little scientist?

A scientist draws what he sees.
A scientist has fun.
A scientist experiments by trial and error.
A scientist makes comparisons by measuring.
A scientist keeps trying over and over.
A scientist notices details.
A scientist thinks logically.


Close-up Science

Sweet Pea really enjoyed using the magnifying glass to examine his butterfly wings and feather. (See this post.)

Free Stock Image: Feather in the grass. Image: 174926
© Photographer: Gina Rothfels | Agency: Dreamstime.com

At first he looked a little uncoordinated holding it until I showed him how he could simply set the item on the table and look through the glass. Then I realized I needed to show him how he could hold it closer to his eyes to see the detail in the items rather than holding it almost touching the items themselves.

Once he got coordinated enough to do this on his own he told me about the details he saw…the lines in the feather, that there were lots of ‘strings’, the different colors on the butterfly wings…he was really excited about this!

He asked why these items were on the ground and thought maybe the bird was caught by a cat and that maybe the butterfly got hit by a car since we found the wings by the road. He didn’t know why the body wasn’t attached, though. I love his hypotheses! He’s starting to think like a scientist!

Science Invitation

Sweet Pea, my 3 year old preschooler, is taking an interest in science, but in his own time. I’m fine with that, but sometimes put a little invitation out there and see what he does with it.

On a nature walk this summer we discovered a feather and butterfly wings. We talked about exploring them more closely when we got home, but of course he was more interested in something else! A few days later I simply set a magnifying glass with the feather and wings on a tray on the table.

Just seeing them as he ran by interested Sweet Pea enough to come screeching to a halt and examine them!

Sometimes it’s all in the invitation…where can be seen….just that it’s there to spark their interest.

Car Race Experiment

Do your kiddos ever take an activity to the next level? Maybe when doing an experiment they offer an alternative to how to carry it out? Possibly when given an art project they take it in an entirely different direction that you had intended? I love it when this happens at our house!


When reviewing the Letter L before Kindergarten started (see here and here) we did a car race experiment after Cutie Pie came up with his own extension of the balloon-powered LEGO car experiment and it was so much fun!

Cutie Pie built a Duplo car, asked me to build a Trio car and Sweet Pea built a Build It car. We took these outside and raced them down a ramp after racing Cutie Pie’s LEGO car against a Hot Wheels car. We talked about what might have helped the winning car win after watching the races several times:

  • the tire sizes (as each car size grew, so did the tire size)
  • the weight of the car
  • the number of pieces the car was made up of (the Build It car lost, but had the fewest pieces)

Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was the weight of the vehicle as well as the tire size were probably the biggest factors in determining the winning car.

The winning vehicle raced a Hot Wheel car!

Letter of the Day – Letter L (post 2)

After reviewing the letter L a little and doing some fun things with LEGOs (posted here) we began talking about our experiment of the day ~ (and sorry for the delay in this post…I miss my iPad! Sharing a computer for photos makes my blogging a little more difficult, but I’ll have my iPad soon and will be posting regularly again!)

Building a balloon-powered LEGO car!

Cutie Pie was very excited about this experiment and got to work almost immediately. I actually pulled him back with questions to consider:

  • what do we need to make it?
  • how big should it be?
  • how many wheels are needed?
  • should it be wide or narrow?
  • what might keep it from working?
He thought these over and got to work with a plan! I was tempted to help him, but decided this is one experiment he should do on his own. Meanwhile, Sweet Pea and I created our own vehicle to try!
Here is Cutie Pie’s first attempt:

This didn’t work because there was too much space for the mouth of the balloon and when inflated it would deflate and fly away.

This is what we finally came up with. It didn’t move very quickly, actually only a matter of inches, but it moved by power of the balloon!
We followed this experiment with Cutie Pie’s own extension of it. I’ll post about that another day!

Letter of the Day – letter L (post 1)

We’ve been a little lax about reinforcing learning this summer, instead doing experiments and ‘sneaky’ learning through talking about our various experiences. With three weeks left until Cutie Pie heads off to Kindergarten I decided we’d do the letter of the day just to review and to get Sweet Pea reacquainted with them. I will share what we did for each letter over several posts, though, because some days we did more than others due to weather and other circumstances.

Letter L was a pretty fun one to review since both boys are really enjoying playing with LEGOs lately. I am reviewing the letters in a different order, beginning with Ll, since this will be easiest for Sweet Pea to try to write. (I saw this on 1+1+1=1 and thought I’d try it.)
The boys recognized our letter of the day quickly (I had fun making it) and began brainstorming words beginning with it, coming up with quite a list. They then realized I had written Ls on every writing surface and picked out the letters on our alphabet things.

First things first, the boys did a little estimating. I simply placed some LEGOs in two cups of different sizes and asked them to guess how many were in each. It was interesting the means they each used to come up with an estimate. Sweet Pea used LEGOs of the same size that were on the same tray and counted them, then placed them in an extra cup I had provided. Cutie Pie simply looked into the cup and threw out a number. (I didn’t question either method.)

We then got to work playing a LEGO game, which Cutie Pie loved!

Tomorrow I’ll share our experiment of the day for letter L.

Measuring with Duplos

Cutie Pie was so into building with his LEGOs in the beginning of summer that I thought I’d put a spin on it and measure with Sweet Pea’s Duplos.


Instead of just measuring indoors, we donned out ‘scientist’ hats, grabbed our box of Duplos and headed out to the recently vegetable garden with a chart from STEMmom in hand. (I didn’t link to the specific post because so much of what I’ve found on this site is awesome and I’d love for you to check it out!)

We simply decided which plants we’d measure and Cutie Pie started locking our Duplos together, counting how many pieces were stacked when they were as tall as the plant! We then found our sheet for the appropriate vegetable and put an X on our chart next to the corresponding height and in the column for the date.

Cutie Pie was so into this when we did it that he asked if we could measure the plant often. I said sure, because that was what I was thinking, too. However, turns out he wasn’t as excited about it after all as he never would go out with me to measure again. He has brought it up as a ‘Remember when we measured the tomatoes with our Duplos. We should have done that every day!’ But when I bring up actually going out and measuring he wants nothing to do with it. I decided to let this one slide as there are more important things to be practicing consistency with than measuring a plant, so it’s just not worth the fight.

My admiration for sneaky learning has come into play many times since then, however, as we’ve measured many things indoors with his LEGOs and he seems to love it!

Creating with LEGOs

Apartment Therapy had a LEGO maze activity on their blog a while back and one extremely hot day when we were stuck indoors we tried our hands at it!


As soon as he saw the picture on Apartment Therapy Cutie Pie immediately loved the idea and started describing the obstacle course he was going to create. We don’t have too many large flat pieces, but he was kind enough to share and I got to create a maze too!

Challenges:

  • We didn’t measure the marbles first, so our pathways weren’t wide enough. After trying a marble in my maze we had to redesign our creations to make the paths wider.
  • Cutie Pie wanted to make jumps for his marbles. He had to figure out what pieces to use.
  • Our marbles would occasionally flip over the walls when we played. We had to experiment with how high to make them.

This proved to be a very fun project for  5 1/2 year old Cutie Pie. Sweet Pea ( 3 1/2) was entertained by the marbles and Lego pieces all by themselves as well as playing with the resulting creations.

I’m sure we’ll be doing this activity again and again!

coordination, fine motor, math, science, construction, logic

Catapult Experiment

Using the catapults I blogged about yesterday as well as some pom poms, Hot Wheels cars and various other small items, the boys and I tested our catapults.

Cutie Pie hypothesized the spoon catapult would send an object the further distance.

Our First Tests:
First we lined up the catapults.
Next we found items of the same shape and size and flung these from each catapult (pom poms, etc).
We marked how far our items were flung.
We repeated the process.
We then repeated the process with different items, noting the weights and sizes of items were flung different distances.

Our Second Tests:
We used different items of similar shape and size.
First we used the bottle cap catapult and marked the distance obtained.
Then we used the item of similar shape and size, but used the spoon catapult and marked the distance.
We repeated this process with each item on the opposite catapult, each time noting the distance obtained and discussed the differences and possibilities for the different distances.

Conclusion:
Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was correct, at least when I was manning the catapults.

Sweet Pea and Cutie Pie manned the catapults, too, but their results varied greatly, but they were also a little inconsistent in the starting point. It was great practice in coordination and fine motor skills for all of us!

Popsicle Stick Catapult

I looked up ideas for the boys’ summer fun this spring and came across Baker County 4-H page titled Craft Stick Creativity with a simple tongue depressor size popsicle stick catapult, but no instructions. Soon after I found Super Charged Science. What a great homeschooling science resource, which happened to have instructions for our catapult!

Also I found the video How to Make a Popsicle Stick Catapult. I don’t normally list videos as resources but this was clear and simple enough that Cutie Pie watched it, walked away and remembered the steps. Bonus that it was by a young teenager, which boosted Cutie Pie’s mind that he could assemble it walk me through the steps to assemble it as it took a little more fine motor strength and coordination than he has.

Cutie Pie really enjoyed trying to figure out how to make the “bottle cap catapult” referring only to the picture to assemble it and it turned out great! We then looked at the instructions and discovered we created it just like they did!

He also really liked watching the video and then working through the steps to create the “popsicle stick catapult”.

Even though Sweet Pea was going a little stir crazy by the end of this process and making a mess in the other room it was worth it to see Cutie Pie so proud of his creations! More tomorrow on what we did with our catapults!

Boy Mom BlogHop!

Have you heard there is a Boy Mom BlogHop going on until July 23rd? I’m joining in the fun even if it is a little late in the game because I’m a proud boy mom and I love getting to know others!

(Don’t you just love their purpose!)

My little guys are getting bigger by the minute. Cutie Pie is my 5 1/2 yr old budding scientist/paleontologist. He loves it when we do science experiments together and every chance I let him use my iPad he’s ‘reading’ Dinosaurs by Rye Science to learn all he can about dinos! When he isn’t learning about dinos, playing dinos or talking about dinos, he’s playing with his Hot Wheels cars. Dinos and cars, that’s the life of my big guy.

Sweet Pea, my 3 1/2 year old just loves curling up in our laps like a kitty. Sometimes he’ll let out a cute little bark like a dog. He’s fascinated with LEGOs and trains. He’s not really much like his brother, who is 22 months older, but that’s just fine with me, but they do both love the outdoors and tend toward the science-y stuff. I love that my boys have their own identities.

Hubby and I are trying our best to raise our boys to love God, love family and love learning and life. I try my best to capture the science-y things we do and scatter my blog with some other things that interest me or are going on in our lives as well. Check out my links up above and to the side and let me know if you like anything! You’re always welcome to come back, to subscribe in RSS or on facebook and twitter!

So go on…hop away!

Memory Making

I love it when the boys are in to doing something ‘different’ than usual. I admit this is one of the reasons I had so much fun when we went creek walking the day Cutie Pie graduated from Pre-Kindergarten!

Birds all around, bugs, water bugs, no fish, different depths of the creek, different height steps down into the water, unpredictable depths near small waterfalls. These were a lot of the things Cutie Pie, Sweet Pea and I noticed when we explored the creek.

Sciency stuff yes, but it was so relaxing being in nature!
Even when Cutie Pie got wet up to his waist on accident I was able to take it all in stride. Partly because I was prepared for the possibility of them getting wet, but also because I was already having fun with them rather than just watching them have fun!
Not only did we get to talk with real scientists, but Cutie Pie got his hands wet and examined a worm he found, too! He wanted to fish with it and held it on the end of a stick for quite a while. That’s sort of what got us walking along the stream for a long time, exploring paths others had made to the waters’ edge. He was bound and determined to find a place to fish with that worm!
Of course, he also found some smelly brownish-green stuff that he picked up with that stick, too!
Moments like this make me realize sometimes I stop having fun with my kids and simply watch them having the fun and playing. While this is important, I think we can all relish in the fun sometimes and create memories with our boys…the kind they will remember us being present, not just our being there.
Enjoy making memories with your kiddos this summer!

Nature Ride

We took a quick ride around the block on our bikes the other day. I should say it was intended to be a quick ride, just to tire out the boys, however, it took a lot longer than we thought!

Cutie Pie had a great time stopping quite often and picking things up for his ‘collection’! He was very proud to be making a collection and was very excited to investigate everything with his magnifying glass when he got home!

When we got home we put his collection on a large tray and examined each item with a magnifying glass. He talked about the details he noticed, like a twig with a leaf and the different points on a stick. Hubby then got out Cutie Pie’s ‘journal’ and suggested he draw pictures of what he observed. It was really neat watching him draw, something he doesn’t seem to like to do, and then to hear him tell Hubby about his drawings (think Sid the Science Kid Super Fab Lab).

He made some excellent observations! He drew pictures about the colors of the leaves, lines representing how many points on the end of the stick, even a small and large head, which were supposed to be me as he saw me with his eyes and with the magnifying glass!

It’s so fun to see little changes, extensions of his interest since starting Pre-K! What kinds of changes have you realized in your child lately?

Strawberry Taste Test

Cutie Pie, ‘I noticed one of these strawberries is very hairy.’ I looked and noticed it did seem to have little hairs. Please tell me you’ve noticed this on strawberries, too!

This simple question led to an Internet search. I don’t know if I was looking up the wrong words or not, but we couldn’t find much about that, only about mold on strawberries, which this was not!

It did lead us to buying some strawberries at the store and picking some (with our loving neighbor’s permission) and conducting a taste test experiment!

First we observed and compared the color, texture, size and smell of the two categories of strawberries. Then Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea conducted a taste test, as scientifically accurately as two pre-school boys can!

Remarkably, they said they could not discern a difference. Hubby and I think they were just saying that do they could taste test some more! Of course both were delicious! Have you done a strawberry taste test, home grown vs. store-bought? What were your results?

 

Hot enough to melt a marshmallow

Cutie Pie was noticing how much cooler he felt when he went into the shade and then again when going into the air conditioned house. I asked if he thought something could be cooked in the sun and that set the whole experiment up with excitement!

Sun Cooking experiment (from 50 science things to make and do by Usborne Activities)

Materials needed:
Tin foil
Bowl
Toothpick
Clay (we used some playdough that was past its prime)
Cling wrap
Marshmallow
Sunny day

Experiment steps:

  1. Line your bowl with tin foil.
  2. Place a toothpick into the ball of clay and carefully place a marshmallow on it. Place this structure in the center of the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Cover the bowl with cling wrap.
  4. Place the bowl outside in a sunny spot, propping it up so that the inside is directed at the sun.
  5. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Observe what happens to the marshmallow.
  6. Carefully remove the cling wrap. Observe how the marshmallow feels. (Use caution, it may be very hot.)
  7. Replace the cling wrap for several minutes longer and make a new observation if desired.

During the 15 minutes hypothesize about what is happening in the bowl, to the marshmallow, to the tin foil, etc.

Cutie Pie hypothesized the bowl would stay cool but that the marshmallow would get bigger. Sweet Pea just wanted to eat the marshmallow.

We observed the inside of the bowl appeared very bright. Cutie Pie believed this was due to the sun shining on it. He made a shadow on the bowl and it was no longer bright. This hypothesis was correct!

Our Experiment outcome:
At the end of 15 minutes Cutie Pie observed the marshmallow appeared to be sliding down on the toothpick. The bowl felt very warm. He then carefully removed the cling wrap and found the marshmallow felt warm as well. (I did touch it first to make sure it would not burn my kiddos.) Sweet Pea said he wanted to touch it, so he did and then he ate it! (Not exactly planned!) After several questions for Sweet Pea we determined the marshmallow was warm, but not hot. It was soft, but not completely melted.

This experiment, called Cooking in the Sun, was found in 50 things to make and do, an Usborne Activities book. My kiddos and I really love the experiments we’ve done in this book. I am in no way affiliated with this publisher, book or author. My family simply finds the experiments fun to do!

Silly Putty Textures

Are you as scared of small hands playing with silly putty on carpet as much as I am? Well, one day the boys got hold of some. They were very responsible with it, though! I supervised closely once I saw what Cutie Pie wanted to do with it. What a fun little texture/sense of touch experiment he came up with!

Cutie Pie pressed silly putty onto different surfaces throughout the house. He discovered that it doesn’t stick to a lot of things. (Thankfully he didn’t press very hard!) The impressions left from the sofa, the table and chairs, the refrigerator, the paper…all were fascinating to Cutie Pie!

“Look at the texture from my hand! Sort of like a leaf!”

“The table and paper didn’t really make any marks.”

“Look at the tiny marks from the (dining room) floor.”

“What would happen if I put it on my nose?”

I was most impressed that he didn’t just observe what impression was made. He related it back to what made the impression and discussed the texture of the surface. After seeing impressions of a couple of surfaces he also began hypothesizing what the resulting texture would be – smooth, bumpy – and began searching for similar textures to make impressions of!

I wish I had thought of this as a more ‘formal’ experiment, but, once again, Cutie Pie surprised me by coming up with this one on his own! Love it! I’m hoping if he does this again we can experiment with outdoor surfaces!

Terrarium

Cutie Pie came to me the other day with a list of materials to help him find. He wouldn’t tell me what they were for. Evidently somewhere he saw a picture of a terrarium with toy dinosaurs in it and this is what his finished project looked like.

He was Totally hamming it up for the picture, but it really captures the enthusiasm he had for this science project. Once it was complete I asked if he was going to add live plants and he thought I was absolutely crazy! He did decide to add some little flowers from the lawn, but of course they didn’t live!

It’s on permanent display in our living room now…

 

Building Experiment

A couple of weeks ago I came across Science Sparks. I’m sure I must have discovered this blog before, but for whatever reason I found it again and decided to try experimenting with the stability of structures the next time the boys got the Duplos or Legos out. We had a lot of fun building, experimenting and hypothesizing together!

First we built just a house the way Cutie Pie wanted to, with towers of bricks one on top of the other, once standing next to each other and connected at the top. The second time with just four towers and a flat piece at the top holding them in place (like on the left in the above pic). We then went on to build a house with the bricks more interlocking, creating solid walls (like on the right above).

While we were building we talked about what was needed to build something strong. Both boys agreed lots of bricks were needed, but Cutie Pie thought an important component was a solid top to hold everything together.

Then the boys got a few balls. We rolled the balls at Cutie Pie’s first structure and it quickly fell apart. I asked Cutie Pie what he thought could have been done to make it stronger. He thought building it like the second one and then wanted to roll the balls at that one. Of course, it was indeed much stronger. The boys took matters into their own hands to bring down the “strong” house.

It was interesting talking with Cutie Pie as he further explained his building theories, then tried to create a building he described and test it’s strength!

Space Unit Homework Project

A few weeks ago our family had homework assigned to us by Cutie Pie’s UPK teacher. As it was during their unit on space, we had to make a planet together. Cutie Pie came up with a name for our planet almost immediately. After much discussion about how to physically make the planet itself, we decided to make a paper mâché ball as a base. We then discussed the color(s) our planet had to be and how exactly to achieve the final look that Cutie Pie most desired.

As you can see in the collage below, our planet was mostly painted brown. The boys did great painting almost every square millimeter with a little assistance from Hubby!

This is when we all got sick with the stomach bug. But it turned out to provide ample time for the planet to dry well! During our illness we managed to talk a little more about the details of the planet. We decided we needed some felt – tan and green, some thread and some people. We had played with Paper City before and quickly decided the people would work perfectly! As you can see in the final picture, Cutie Pie decided the people also needed a bike and car.
Once we were all healthy, we attached our green island, people and vehicles after Hubby applied a few maroon-ish swirls and created a sign (which I couldn’t get to one out clearly in a pic) which stated the name of the planet…
Maple Syrup Planet

Maple Syrup Planet turned out exactly as Cutie Pie had hoped and it was so fun to create together!

I would like to encourage you to work on a project as a family. Working together to achieve a specific result after determining the details and process to work by definitely has its benefits! (science, fine motor, coordination, process, creativity, fun!)

What have you worked on lately with your kiddos?

 

Chinese Spouting Bowl

Visiting the Rochester Museum and Science Center on a Saturday afternoon is much more crowded, but they have hands on science activities which make it even more fun!
Have you ever heard of a Chinese Spouting Bowl? We hadn’t until a recent Saturday visit to RMSC. The limited knowledge we have about this (simply from not educating ourselves more since our visit) is that the Chinese believe this bowl has healing powers. The Teacher’s Source says this about the Chinese Spouting Bowl: 

The Chinese Spouting Bowl first appeared in the Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 9) Four “Han” dragons or fish can be seen in the bottom of the basin, spraying streams of water up the sides of the bowl. It is said that long ago the bowl was a kind of plaything for nobles, gifted scholars, and socialites in the Ming Dynasty. It was believed to foster happiness, prolong life, and increase strength.

Hubby was the first to try this. Simply wet your hands then rub them along the handle on either side, we were told. Hubby did and he made the bowl vibrate in such a way that sent ripples across the water and then the water actually spouted up along the side of the bowl! You could also hear a ringing from the vibration. It was really neat.
 Sweet Pea thought Hubby was having such a good time that he decided to try it too. He had a hard time coordinating both hands at the same time, but managed to make vibrations on one side.

 He tried it several times and was concentrating so hard! Cutie Pie decided not to try it, but I did. It was an experience that is just hard to describe. I can’t say I felt healed, but I definitely felt vibrations up my arms and it made me giggle!

I just had to tag this post along with the Wet experiments that I shared last week for the letter W, it just seemed to fit! The explanation found on The Teacher’s Source is quite interesting and I encourage you to check it out if this interests you. I can’t wait to get to try the Chinese Spouting Bowl again!

Dive to the Bottom Experiment

 Another experiment my boys loved from Awesome Ocean Science was Dive to the Bottom. I swear, this is such a great book. The instructions are simple and everything is explained in terms my boys understand! I love it! (And no, I’m not being paid to say that!) It’s also all about water, which seemed to be our theme for letter W week! Through this experiment my boys used coordination, followed directions and hypothesized (used scientific thinking!)

Materials:
2 drinking glasses
fresh water
salt
food coloring
eyedropper

Experiment instructions:
  • Fill the drinking glass half way with water. 
  • In another glass mix 1 tbsp salt, 1/4C water and several drops of food coloring.
  • Use the eye dropper to add a few drops of the salt water mixture to the fresh water, a few drops at a time.
Cutie Pie thought the fresh water would simply turn green. Sweet Pea thought we were making a yummy drink!
What was really happening? The salt water mixture is denser than the fresh water, so it drops to the bottom! Now, go explore what density means!
 (We did not receive compensation for sharing this experiment or book or the link provided. I am sharing this book simply because my boys are enjoying the experiments in it and I think you may, too! Please check out this book for more experiments! I really think you’ll like it!)

Letter W

Stock Image - Water drop
© Photographer: Kirsty Pargeter | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Whale. Watch. Wonder. Wet. Well. Water. We. Wish.

Social/Emotional: 
library trip searching for W’s in book titles and getting books on water and the ocean
Math:
measured and poured water for experiments (also fine/gross motor)
Science:
multiple educational videos/DVDs on the ocean and ocean mammals
ocean experiments using water
Literacy:
reading about oceans, water, ocean mammals
recognizing the letter W
Art:
open-ended watercolor painting
Physical:
we went on several nature walks

Throughout W week we talked a lot about words beginning with W, having a W in them and ending in W (that was hard!) Of course, we ended up talking mostly about water, wet, whales and all the wonder of the oceans and ocean mammals! We also had so much fun with the ocean experiments found in Awesome Ocean Science! by Cindy A. Littlefield, Williamson Publishing. (As I shared yesterday, Grandpa sent the boys some books and newspaper clippings about the ocean while he was in California recently which fit right in with the letter W – water, well, whale.)

Deep water currents, upwelling and hot spots are some of the water/ocean topics we’ve explored through experiments so far and there are plenty more! I’ll only be sharing a few with you this week in hopes that maybe you’ll spur some interest in this wet topic in your kiddos!

In addition to identifying words with the letter W in them, we also talked a lot about how the letters M and W are similar and different. Finally we started holding our first three fingers up whenever we said W in the alphabet, saying the water is held in W like in cups. I don’t know if this little idea will stick with them or not, but for not they are beginning to acknowledge the difference between the two!

Raindrop Science Experiment

Our library has science ‘kits’ that you can check out which include books, DVDs and CDs on specific topics for specific grade levels. Since Grandpa sent the boys a few books about the ocean while on his vacation Cutie Pie has been very interested in learning about the ocean and as luck would have it we found a marine mammals science kit for grades K-2 on our recent library trip! (As part of letter W week – water!)

One book, Awesome Ocean Science, particularly caught Cutie Pie’s attention because it is full of experiments! Of course we tried one the first day we had it! I would highly recommend this book for your kiddos. The experiments are explained clearly, had very clear illustrations and are written at a level kindergarteners through second graders would understand. Cutie Pie is anxious to do more experiments! For now I’ll share the experiment we tried, which is also perfect for spring because it is about raindrops!


You’ve got to try Seems Like Magic: The Water Cycle, A Day in the Life of a Raindrop.

Materials:
wide mouthed jar
hot water
ruler
plastic sandwich bag
rubber band
ice cubes

Fill the jar about 2″ with hot water for a mini tropical sea. Quickly insert the plastic bag, securing it to the top with the rubber band. Fill the bag with ice. What happens? Cutie Pie hypothesized the water from the ice would make the hot water raise up to the bottom of the bag.

Wait 15 to 20 minutes without disturbing the jar. What has happened and what is happening? You should see drops formed on the bottom of the bag. After glancing at the jar and seeing his hypothesis was incorrect, I asked Cutie Pie to hypothesize again. He thought the water would be cold from the coldness of the ice.

What really happened? “The bag of ice keeps the water vapor from leaving the jar, just as the earth’s atmosphere keeps the evaporating seawater from disappearing into space.” The condensation from the hot water rose and when it met the cold surface of the bag, it formed back into water making ‘raindrops’ which fell back to the water. You can measure the water level with your kiddos throughout this experiment to add in a math concept as well.

I think the next experiment we’ll try is Dive to the Bottom!
(Mom is the Only Girl is in no way being compensated by mentioning Awesome Ocean Science. It is simply a book that my children and I enjoy referencing for experiments.)

Rainbow Cookies

I found this great idea for rainbow cookies on Red Ted Art and on a rainy day this week we had fun baking! This was a very simple recipe that contained no eggs, so I felt very comfortable letting my boys do most of the work. (Sweet Pea loves to taste batter so I try hard to bake things without eggs when I bake with him.)

Also, this recipe stated “you don’t have to be totally accurate – the cookies will still taste great and kids are still having fun in the kitchen!” Last time we baked together lots of flour got spilled and our recipe didn’t taste quite right. (They were right…the cookies tasted great – sort of like shortbread!)

I think next time we make these we’ll smoosh them together to make thicker layers with our hands rather than rolling them thin, but the kiddos really wanted to use the rolling pin and since it started with R (that was Cutie Pie’s logic) we had to use it!

Rainbow cookies on a Rainy day at the end of Rainbow week and Sweet Pea once again pointing out we had purple instead of indigo or violet (and knowing all of the other colors of the Rainbow) certainly made the end of Rainbow week a sweet success!

Rainbow Milk

Rainbow snacks are so fun when you can eat and drink them! Today I’ll share our rainbow milk experiment, which I found at Make and Takes! It was so simple and so fun! Tomorrow I’ll share about the rainbow cookies we made!

Materials:
clear glasses
milk (or water)
tray with edges
food coloring – red, yellow, blue
stir stick

We followed Make and Takes’ directions, lining up our glasses in a row so that we could see the colors of the rainbow. You know, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet too (although we just did blue then purple!)

We poured a small amount of milk into each glass. (I knew we’d be combining these into one cup at the end, so I didn’t use too much milk in each.)

Then I put one drop of food coloring in each cup, first cup was red, then we skipped the next cup, third cup was yellow, skipped the fourth cup, fifth cup was blue. We went back and in the glasses with no coloring placed a drop each of the colors on either side. (Yellow and red made orange, yellow and blue made green, blue and red made purple.)

That’s when we could see our rainbow milk! (Sweet Pea loved this. He’s seen colors combined before, but I guess this just clicked for him!)

Finally we poured all of the colors into one glass, but we did this only a few colors at a time and Sweet Pea commented on how the color changed. Ultimately we ended up with brown milk, to which I added chocolate syrup! This made for a really yummy snack!

I just love Make and Takes! They have such great ideas! Thank you!

Bubble Blowing (Rainbow) Fun

With nice weather comes lots of bubble blowing and chasing around here! I found a great bubble recipe and thought I’d share in case you’re looking for one that makes great bubbles that hang around for a bit then pop with a snap! I found it on BubbleMania. Of course, you could always buy their solution, but this was so fun for Sweet Pea to help me make and they are great bubbles!
What I loved about these bubbles in addition to their longevity was that each contained a marvelous rainbow! I’ve never seen the rainbows on bubbles be this vibrant! You’ve got to include these bubbles as a really fun part of a rainbow lesson should you do one!
You’ll need:
Mixing bucket
1 gallon lukewarm distilled water
10 oz detergent (such as Dawn)
6 Tbsp (2 oz) glycerin (found in the pharmacy)
Place the lukewarm water into your mixing bucket. Very slowly stir the detergent into the water (do not make any lather, if you do discard it).
Slowly stir in the glycerin.
Let this set overnight. Then enjoy!
(I am in no way being compensated for the mention of BubbleMania or this recipe. It’s just a recipe I found that we like and I thought I’d share!)

Rainbow Patterns and Organizing

Letter R week lends itself so well to science experiments! We had so much fun! More on letter R later this week!

Rainbow patterns are easily seen in this simple experiment.

Materials:
clear nail polish
cup filled half-way or less with water
black construction paper
flashlight
tray with edges


First, place your cup of water on the tray to catch any spills. Then place a drop of clear nail polish into the water. Dip the black paper into the water and carefully lift it out.

Look closely at the black paper. What do you see? Shine a flashlight onto it. What do you see now?

I explained to Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea the steps to this experiment. While they looked at our materials Cutie Pie hypothesized “the black paper would just get wet and fall apart.” Sweet Pea thought the water would turn black because “that’s what nail polish and water do.”

We tested their theories and found the nail polish actually floats on the water, coating the paper just enough to distort the light, which creates a rainbow!

We first experienced this experiment at Rochester Museum and Science Center about a year ago, when the boys were not interested, but Hubby and I were paying attention! I thought this was the perfect time to reintroduce it! The boys loved it when their theories were disproven, but only because the rainbows were so neat! We did this over and over! (science, coordination, colors)

As far as organizing for this past week. I’ve still been organizing my blogging thoughts (behind the scenes) trying to get some posts scheduled so I’m not quite so last minute. This has helped me a lot to feel less stressed about my blogging life and has allowed me to be a little more carefree and creative thinking of activities to do with the boys!

Eye Dropper Painting

We made our own valentines this year and Cutie Pie gave them out to his classmates! They were so easy and fun to make and have asked to do it again on bigger sheets of paper! This activity is also great for strengthening those little fingers for writing!

  • First we cut heart shapes out of card stock.
  • Then we mixed up some red and some yellow water color paint.
  • We placed the hearts on a tray and I gave each boy an eye dropper.

The idea was that they would drop some paint here and there, pick up the heart, tilting it back and forth to make little paths of paint. However, they had their own ideas (which I knew they would!)

 They had fun simply dropping the paint and letting it go where ever it went, occasionally picking up the hearts to let the paint run off and then placing them on a towel. When we ran out of hearts they asked for more!

Cutie Pie loved this art activity. He talked about the color that was made with the mixing of the paints, swirls and oranges of varying degrees. He also liked the extension activity of writing his classmates’ names on the hearts! Sweet Pea just loved using the eye dropper and making something ‘pretty’.

This was a relatively simple art activity to organize, complete and clean up after. Just the perfect thing for a rainy spring day!

Organizing Mission Week 10 – New Look!

OK. I did it. I researched. I scanned. I examined. I experimented. I learned a little html. I tried. I failed. Then I finally found a simple, boy-ish look that would work for my little blog here. At least, I think it works! So far there’s been no funny business going on with my sidebar or fonts! That’s how I’ve spent a lot of my kids’ rest time the past couple of weeks. I feel much more organized in this area, although in the process of organizing this some things that were organized are on their way to being not organized! Guess I’ll work on that this week!

Anyway, sit back, look around. Everything is pretty much the same, but in different spots. The biggest changes, I think, are the search tool and buttons to share posts in the upper right of the sidebar, the labels along the top so you can find alphabet ideas and science experiments (hopefully) more quickly and a few categories along the side as well.

You’ll still find my continuing slew of alphabet learning ideas as well as preschool level science experiments and experiences with organization and ramblings mixed in for good measure.

Let me know if something doesn’t work! I have some great ideas that I’ve been waiting to share with you so check back soon (and keep checking back!) And/or you can follow via e-mail, facebook or twitter, too!