Sunday, 5 July 2015

We've been playing Scientist ...

It's our mid-year school break for 2 weeks at the moment.  I love school holidays ... the not-rushing-around in the mornings, seeing movies and enjoying lunch dates with my girls, catching up with little friends (and their Mummies) and of course some craft and playing.  Well, these holidays I decided to make it a kind of science-theme.  Hannah has been doing a few science-type activities at pre-school this term (like making slime and they had a professional scientist come in and show the kids some experiments).  Well, she has absolutely loved this stuff.  I was terrible at science in school, but you're never too old for an experiment or two, hey, so I thought we'd have a go ourselves.

I went to old-faithful Pinterest, and found a squillion different science ideas for kids, lots of which I've pinned in my Kid's Activities board.  I decided to do one experiment each day.  So, here's what we've done for week 1 (you can find the source of each of these on my Pinterest board).

1. Using paper towel and 2 glasses with different coloured water.  Place an empty 3rd glass in between and watch the water soak up the towel, drip into the middle glass and change colour.  This one took longer than we expected, so we didn't actually see the result until the next day, but the girls were very excited with what they found.



2.  Celery dying - Place sticks of celery (with leaves on) in a glass of brightly coloured water....



...wait a few hours and you get this ...

 The red and the blue were our 2 best results.  The pink went a kind of brown colour, and the green was interesting, but not as exciting as the others.

My favourite part of this experiment was when we chopped the ends off the celery sticks and looked to see the channels where the liquid soaks in.  Hannah's been asking lots of questions lately, including "Mummy, how do plants drink?", and this was a great way to show her.

3.  Our next experiment was a tornado in a jar.  This was really a favourite, but is much more impressive in real-life ... it's hard to snap a shot of the tornado before it stops.  Basically, you fill a jar with water, add a tablespoon or so of dishwashing liquid, put the lid on and give the jar a vigorous shake.  Can you see the little tornado? 
We found this one works best if you shake back and forth rather than up and down.  We also added some sparkles to one of our jars so we could watch them fly around the tornado, and imagine it was the wicked witch on her broomstick next to Dorothy's house ... it took me hours to get that wicked witch themed music out of my head!!

4.  Thursday's experiment was Jellyfish in a bottle.  You use a plastic bag, fill a corner with water and tie it off.  Then cut the rest of the bad into long thin strips for the tentacles and push it into a bottle full of water.  If you turn the bottle upside-down you can watch the head slowly float the the top, with the tentacles following, and with a bit of imagination you could believe it's really a jellyfish.    If your bottle isn't coloured like this one, you could also add a spot of blue colouring to make it look more ocean-like!

The girls have refused to part with their "little guys" so far!  I think they'll be part of the family for a while yet.

5. And for day 5 .... drum-roll - Homemade Gak.  Now I looked a tonnes of different recipes for this, mostly using glue and Borax, but in the end I couldn't find Borax anywhere, so I searched Pinterest again and found this one.  Just 2 ingredients ... cornflour and hair-conditioner (plus the optional colouring of course).  
It has a tenancy to be a little messy, and we all had a blue tinge to our hands for the rest of the day, but the girls had an absolute ball with this one.  And yes ... ahem ... we were still in our PJs.  What are holidays for if not the odd PJ day!?!  Do you remember Hannah's PJs from here
 This gak had a great fall and stretch consistency, but then it was interesting to watch it kind of dry out and crumble a little.  It easily balled up again though, and we even managed some shape-cutting with it too.  Such a quick and inexpensive one.

Anyway, so I haven't figured what science goodness we'll sink our teeth into this coming week. Does anyone have any good ideas for me?

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