Category: toddlers

Fireworks in a Dish

By , March 6, 2011 4:35 pm

If you have milk, food coloring and dish washing soap on hand…

you can have impressive rainy-day science fun!

Pour some milk into a plate:

Wait a minute for any motion in the milk to settle down, then add four drops of different colors of food coloring.  Place the drops next to each other near the center of the plate.

 

Wait a minute or so until the colors get a bit blotchy-looking:

 

Take a clean cotton swab and gently place it on the colors.  What do you think will happen?

(SPOILER ALERT:  Absolutely nothing.)

Now put a drop of dish soap onto the other, clean and dry end of your swab.

What will happen when you put the soapy swab gently onto the colors?  Look!

It even continues impressively swirling and churning after you have lifted the swab out of the milk!

Try putting your swab in different areas of the plate to see what new patterns form.

NOTE:  It is very important not to stir, just hold your swab still in the milk.

Make sure you have plenty of milk and food coloring on hand for this because your kids won’t want to do it just one time.  This kept my 5 year-old entertained for at least an hour!

Many thanks to Steve Spangler’s Science Experiments for this really fun idea! Steve Spangler has a good explanation of the science behind this colorful display. You can read it here.

___________________________________________________

This is my contribution to this month’s Unplugged Project theme of soap.  Can you come up with a soap-themed project?  If so, please join in and add a link or comment to the original project post.  You can read more about the Unplugged Project here!

Invisible Ink Messages (“Messages” Unplugged Project)

By , January 23, 2011 4:00 pm

All spies love invisible ink.  In honor of this month’s Unplugged Project theme of messages here are two simple methods for making secret, invisible ink messages out of ordinary ingredients.

++++++++++

LEMON JUICE:

Either squeeze a lemon or be lazy like me and use that store bought lemon juice that comes in the little plastic lemon!  Put the juice in a small dish and use a cotton swab to write your secret message.

++++++++++

BAKING SODA & WATER:

Mix together equal parts baking soda and water in a small bowl.  Again, use a cotton swab to create your message.

++++++++++

Once the messages are completely dry and can no longer be seen on the paper, hold the paper over a heat source and the message will magically be revealed to guaranteed “oohs and aahs!”  (Obviously an adult should complete this step, especially with young children, so as to avoid burns and flaming paper.)

By the way, we found that the baking soda produced a slightly darker result than the lemon juice.

NOTE:

For those whose children channel James Bond rather than Martha Stewart, a high-tech invisible ink spy pen complete with built-in ultraviolet decoding light might be just the ticket. My son found this one in his Christmas stocking:

LINKS – More about invisible ink:
The Naked Scientist – Secret Messages-What Makes an Invisible Ink?
Kidzworld-How Invisible Ink Works
Science Project Ideas – Invisible Ink (this site has some other interesting methods too)

Ghosty, Ghoulies …

By , October 14, 2010 9:21 am

Here are a couple of quick and fun Halloween ideas that I love, but unfortunately can’t really take credit for. The first came from school, the second was from a bake sale. Oh well, have fun with them anyway!

Ghostly Foot Prints:

Boney Witch Hands:

(These are just plastic food service gloves with candy corn “fingernails” in the tips and then filled with popcorn “bones.”  Tie wrists closed with black yarn or ribbon!)

Clam Shell Mobile – “Beach” Unplugged Project

By , August 2, 2010 2:01 pm

TURN YOUR DINNER INTO ART!

As is my pattern these days, I am a day or two late in posting our project for July’s Unplugged Project theme of beach.  Oh well!

I am such a packrat that I have had these clam shells sitting around all summer.  In fact, I am embarrassed to admit that I saved them from a fabulous meal in Upstate New York back in June and brought them all the way home with me!  (I just don’t really trust Arizona seafood.) We soaked them in hot soapy water right away after eating to clean off any grease and smell.

We used a dremel tool to drill a small hole in each one.  You’ll need a good masonry drill or dremel bit for this since, as we discovered, clam shells are quite hard.

Before we began painting, we soaked them again, this time overnight in pure bleach just to get rid of the last lingering slightly clammy smell. We then rinsed them off in cold water and let them dry.

Next we painted the outside of them bright colors. (I think it would also have been a pretty project with them left as-is, but my daughter wanted them to be colorful since this was to hang in her room.)

After the paint dried, we decided to splatter them with gold paint using old toothbrushes.  Fun but a bit messy!

We left the inside natural, but you could paint that too if you want.

After they had dried completely (overnight), we strung a piece of fishing line through each one.  My daughter brought in four sticks from the yard to make the frames for hanging them.

We tied each pair of sticks together in the form of a cross using yarn and then hung one shell off each arm of one of the crosses.  We suspended the second cross below the first using yarn to create a second tier.  We again tied one shell onto each arm and hung our final one much lower from the center.

Voilà!

Treasure Jars – The Letter “B” (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , October 19, 2009 1:25 pm

The theme for this week’s Unplugged Project was “The Letter B.” We made treasure jars.  What is the relationship between treasure jars and “B”?  The children decorated their jars with dried beans and barley (and some of our colored rice, not “B,” but pretty!).  The Unplugged Project is as flexible as you need it to be.

I just gave the kids some white glue and the beans, barley and rice.  Then they chose jars from my packrat collection of “Useful Looking Jars” and went happily to work on their own while I made dinner.

By the way, this is a good toddler project too (great for exercising fine motor skills), as long as you don’t mind mess.  I recommend using a vinyl craft tablecloth and having a wet washcloth and a vacuum cleaner nearby.

Here are the results. My 3 year-old made the jar on the left, and my 9 year-old made the one on the right.  My 7 year-old son just made a big mess mixing things together, but he enjoyed himself.

I finished by spraying them with an acrylic coating to help keep things in place.

Remember, projects don’t have to be fancy or complicated to be fun!

++++++++++

If you did a “Letter B” Unplugged Project with us this week, then please link to your project post in the Linky below.  If you don’t have a blog, you can leave a comment with a description of what you did.  If you didn’t do a “Letter B” project, then please read about how to join in here, we’d love to have you!

The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:

Change

See you then!

++++++++++

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Panorama Theme by Themocracy