Magic Expanding Hand!

By , February 26, 2011 7:50 pm

Here is a fun science experiment that will totally entertain your kids AND teach them a bit of chemistry. Great rainy day educational fun!

  • INGREDIENTS:  All you need is vinegar, baking soda, and a latex glove. (Baking soda and vinegar happen to be my very favorite toys!

    You probably have the baking soda and vinegar in your pantry already, all you need to find is the glove (think hospital, doctor, dentist, lab…). We had a cool purple one. If you can’t find a glove, how about a balloon Magic Expanding Head?  This would be even more funny if you drew a face on the balloon first.

  • HOW:  Pour some baking soda into the glove,then carefully pour in some vinegar.

    You can be scientific and test which proportions work best, or just “wing it” like we did (about 1/3 cup baking soda, and 1/3 cup vinegar) . Squeeze the glove tightly closed with your fist, or if you work fast you might be able to tie the wrist up like a balloon. The glove will rapidly “grow” into a giant-sized hand (shake if necessary).

  • TIP:  Pouring in the vinegar is the tricky part since you might have to work fast to close off the opening of the glove before a geyser occurs in your kitchen. Although I know from experience that children are extremely impressed by the geyser-effect, you will be less so. Unless you are a Way-Cooler-Mom than I am, I recommend working quickly and conducting this experiment over a sink, or better yet … outside!
  • LESSON:  The quick answer is that the baking soda and the vinegar, when mixed, recombine to form Carbon Dioxide gas (CO2) and water (H2O).  It is the gas that fizzes, bubbles and expands the glove.  (A more complete explanation can be found here.  And an even more thorough and lengthy one here.)

You can also perform a version of this using a balloon stretched over a bottle or a jar.

Random Acts of Kindness

By , February 16, 2011 12:08 pm

kindness

Apparently it is Random Acts of Kindness Week.  Who knew?

But now seems like an excellent time to teach your children about Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) and the concept of Pay it Forward.  I just gave a successful class on this very subject at my children’s Montessori School and here is what I suggest:

  • Make sure everyone understands what the words “random” and “act of kindness” mean.
  • Read the book Because Brian Hugged His Mother by David L. Rice (illustrated by Kathryn Dyble Thompson).  An excellent introduction to the concept of “Pay it Forward” in a story that children can relate to (NOTE:  I have LOVED this book for a long time.  If you want, please read my review).
  • Suggest some easy things kids can do to make a positive difference in someone’s day.  Here are a few:
    • Smile at someone  :-)
    • Hold a door open for someone
    • Do a daily chore normally performed by a sibling
    • Do a household chore without being asked:  feed dog, do the dirty dishes you see in sink, etc.
    • Leave your change in the soda machine for someone else to find
    • Shovel your neighbors’ steps
    • Plant a seed
  • Have the kids brainstorm some more easy ideas.
  • Let them give it a try.  Give them one week to complete one RAK and report back on what they did and the outcome (how it felt, consequences to them if any, etc.).

HELPFUL LINKS:

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Kid Activities – Acts of Kindness

KindSpring – Kindness Ideas

[Image thanks to Kid Activities!]

Magazine Page Valentine Pockets (“Page” Unplugged Project)

By , February 10, 2011 12:20 pm

valentinepocket

 

Recycle your magazine pages into colorful valentines with this fun and very easy project!

At this time of year, there are lots of interesting pink, red, and valentines-themed pages in magazines.  First choose a pretty page and tear it out.

You’ll need a square section of the page for this, so fold up a corner of the magazine and cut around it.

Unfold and you have a square.

I used these origami heart instructions to make my hearts:  Origami Heart Instructions.  (Note, be exact with all your folds and your heart will turn out better.)

First fold the square precisely along the diagonal and press the fold with your fingernail to make a sharp crease. Unfold and refold along the other diagonal.  Trim any excess edges if necessary to get a perfect square.

Lie the square flat with the unwanted side facing up. There will be an “X” of creases on the square.

Fold the top corner down so the tip touches the intersection of the “X.”

Fold the bottom corner up until the tip touches the top edge of the page.

Next fold each side of your paper in so that the edge meets flush with the fold.

You should now see the heart start to form.  Flip it over so the “bad” side is facing up.

Finish off the heart by folding the side points in until they are halfway to the visible crease.

Then fold the top points down until the tips touch the top of the “good” side.

Turn over and you have a heart!

The hearts look best if you squash them flat overnight with a heavy book.  You can use them as decorations or as surprise pockets for love notes or messages, candy hearts, glitter, flower petals…

If you want to fill them with anything that could spill out, just tape together the two heart front flaps using a small piece of scotch tape applied to the inside of the pocket (so it won’t show).

By the way, this really is easy folding.  My 5 year-old learned it quickly and became obsessed with making hearts for her classmates out of origami paper squares. Here is a funky photo of her at work just ignore the dirty, inky hands :-) …

She made these all by herself!

[NOTE: If I confused you, be sure to go to the great description and photo-tutorial here at Origami-Instructions.com!]

Have you come up with a page-themed Unplugged Project this month?  If so, feel free to share it.  For more on how the Unplugged Project works, please read more here.

“Page” – February’s Monthly Unplugged Project

By , February 1, 2011 11:01 am

Wow, it is February already and time for a new Monthly Unplugged Project theme!  The theme for February will be:

Page

For more information on how to join in with the Unplugged Project, you can read up on it here.  You have until March 1st to post a link to your project (or a description of your project in the comments for non-bloggers).

I have also recently added a list of all past Unplugged Project themes with links to each post.  Check it out if you want a little inspiration in your life.

I hope many of you will join in this month!

(Please only link to “page”-related projects. In an effort to keep this a useful resource, I will have to remove unrelated links, no matter how nice your website.)

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