Saturday, November 1, 2014

Candy Math and Science Roundup + STEM Saturday

Are you drowning in candy like we are? My post today is dedicated to all families everywhere who have way more candy than they know what to do with. I will show you today how to use candy to make your kids smarter. That's right! Use your candy to do math and science. Your kids will love you for it (because CANDY!) and you can rest easy knowing they are using their brains and learning some cool stuff.

Candy Science

Frankenworms from The Kitchen Pantry Scientist
Skittles Candy Science from Coffee Cups and Crayons
Diet Coke and Mentos Explosion from The Science Kiddo
Test for Acidity from Playing Dr. Mom
Color Experiments from Crafty Moms Share
Gummy Bear Science from Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails
Dissolving Gobstoppers from Mama. Papa. Buba.
Candy Chromatography from Mama Miss
Sink or Float Candy Science from Reading Confetti
Floating "M" Experiment from P is for Preschooler
Pop Rocks Balloons from A Little Pinch of Perfect
Make an Edible Solar System from School Time Snippets
Skittles Density Rainbow from Gift of Curiosity
Balloon Experiments with Candy from Learn Play Imagine
Balancing with M&M's from Inspiration Laboratories
Exploding Peep Geysers from Housing a Forest

Candy Engineering

Candy Play Dough Structures from Coffee Cups and Crayons
Building Structures with Candy Pumpkins from Lemon Lime Adventures
Lego Candy Dispenser from Frugal Fun for Boys
Build a Candy Catapult from Frugal Fun for Boys

Candy Math

Sort by Color from Playing Dr. Mom
Pattern Making and Counting from Amy Pessolano
Graphing, Patterns, and Addition/Subtraction from Preschool Powol Packets

Follow Crystal's board Fun in the Kitchen With Kids on Pinterest.

Saturday Science

Saturday Science
And now on to our Saturday Science linky party! Check out our wonderful co-hosts and link up your own math and science activities:
Weighing Activity | Hands-On Math Play from Little Bins for Little Hands
Top 10 Candy Experiments for Kids from Lemon Lime Adventures
The Science Behind Cranberries from Stir the Wonder

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Child Led Learning | Magnets and Math Facts

One of the things that thrills me most as a mom is letting the kids lead me in their learning. Often I start doing an activity and Tommy looks at me with wide beautiful blue eyes and says, "Mom, I have an idea!" That's when I know the activity is going to be awesome.
Letting a child take the lead in his or her learning gives them ownership. It leads to an incredibly high level of engagement that results more substantial learning. Think back to your own education. How much did you learn when you were forced to do an activity that you weren't interested in? Compare that to how much you learned about hobbies and subjects you were free to explore in any way and at any pace you wanted to? How much more do you learn when you love a subject or you are passionate about it for any reason?

And so it was with the activity I am sharing with you today. I had in mind one thing, but as we got going Tommy took the reigns and led this activity in a completely new and wonderful way.

Since Halloween is coming up this week we made it Halloween themed, but it's an easy activity to do under any theme any time of the year.

We cut out shapes of ghosts, bats, and pumpkins from paper. Then we wrote math problems on the back of each shape. (He wrote half and I wrote half.) He is working on simple addition and subtraction right now, but you could easily adapt this to whatever math your child is learning. You could even write sight words or spelling words if you want it to be a reading activity!
We then attached a paper clip to each little figure. Tommy chose a magnet from our magnet set and attached it to a "fishing pole", in this case, a rubber mallet, with string. Then we were ready to go a fishin'!
We took turns catching shapes and then answering the math facts printed on the back. We had a great time together, Tommy especially, since he is the one who made up the game and decided what we were going to do each step of the way. It gave him ownership, expanded his creativity, and kept him completely engaged the entire time.
What skills did we work on? Well, he practiced fine motor skills by cutting. He wrote numbers and answered math facts. He learned about magnets as we fished. And, most importantly, he used his imagination, improved his leadership skills, and had fun!

Have you had any positive experiences when your child has led an activity? Please share!

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Homeschool Room

One purpose of this blog is to show that anyone who wants to homeschool can homeschool. You don't have to have a certain kind of house or a certain kind of kid or be a certain kind of parent. If you want to, you can homeschool, and you can do it very, very well.

When we were getting ready to downsize to our 750 sq ft apartment I was kind of surprised when some friends said something like, "You're still planning to homeschool? In that tiny apartment?" And I was like, "Um, yeah. What does the size of my apartment have to do with anything?" It wasn't until later that I realized that many people have a preconceived idea of what homeschool should look like, and a lot of times that doesn't match the reality of our homeschool at all.

It's very common for homeschool moms to post pictures of their homeschoool rooms. I have to admit that sometimes I feel jealous of all the space many of them have, not to mention how organized they are. But then I have to bring myself back to my moment and remember why we live where we do and all the amazing benefits we reap from city living, even if bounteous living space isn't one of them.

I mean, I don't have a homeschool room. We live in 750 sq ft apartment, for heaven's sake! I barely have room for my clothes and my food and my kids. And we store our bikes in our apartment. And we have things like beds and a refrigerator that take up most of the space. We homeschool successfully without having a dedicated school room, and I believe you can, too.

How do we do it? We sit on the couch to read most of the time. We sit at our table or kneel on the hardwood (kids' idea, not mine!) to color and paint and write. We tape the artwork and maps to whatever available wall space we have. We have to be diligent with our papers and either toss them or file them in our homeschool binder so our apartment doesn't drown in paper!

Where do we store our homeschool stuff? If by "homeschool stuff" you mean books, they go on one of three bookcases in the apartment. We have a computer in the corner. We don't have a TV taking up extra space. We have paper and crayons and all kinds of art supplies underneath the computer area. I store some of the more special homeschool toys under my bed (the microscope, the balance, the math manipulatives, the magnet set) so the pieces don't get lost. The most important thing, though, is that we don't have a lot of stuff because we don't have space for it and, frankly, we don't need it.

Here are some pictures of our apartment, AKA our homeschool room. I even vacuumed before I took these pictures!
Tiny Homeschool Room Space
This is our main living area. I took this picture standing right in front of the sink. Notice the computer on the left and the large bookcase on the right where we store our most valuable homeschool stuff (aka books).
Tiny Homeschool Room Space
This is our kitchen/dining area. I was standing right in front of the couch to take this picture. We work at our little table pretty often to do crafts, science experiments, and any writing or worksheets we may do. Also notice how my crockpot is plugged in, cooking dinner. Crockpot = lifesaver for homeschool moms! (And all moms, really:)
Tiny Homeschool Room Space
This is one bookcase. Notice our little collection of feathers and acorns on the top shelf. When we go on walks my kids always love to bring home treasures :)
Tiny Homeschool Room Space
This is the wall you see from the front door. The magnet board is the perfect height for my kids to reach. They are always playing with letters, especially my two-year-old. We hang our art all around the apartment on whatever wall space is available.
Maybe one day we'll have more space with a dedicated homeschool room, and maybe we won't. Either way, though, I know our little homeschool is a success, and yours can be, too, no matter how big or small your living space is.

What do you think? Do you have a dedicated room or dedicated space in which to homeschool? Do you think it's a necessity? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.
Follow Crystal's board Homeschool Room on Pinterest.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Foam Block Engineering Challenge

Children are natural scientists. They are natural engineers. They love to take things apart to see how they work. They love to come up with creative ways to solve problems. They love to create, destroy, and re-create. This is why it is so important to provide kids with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) activities early in life. STEM activities hone their natural curious instincts to make them think critically, hypothesize, create, and learn. When children engage in STEM activities they become more aware of science, technical, and engineering careers later on. Plus, STEM activities are just plain old fun!

Today I have a very simple engineering activity for you to try. We love to play with blocks and Legos at our house. This was just a variation of an old theme.
All you need is shaving cream, foam blocks, and a creative mind! The shaving cream is the glue that sticks the blocks together, and it works like a charm.

Squirt some shaving cream into a plastic container. Color with food coloring if you wish. Grab a paint brush and start building!
Science Kids Foam Block Engineering Challenge
Science Kids Foam Block Engineering Challenge
You can give your kids all kinds of engineering challenges. Here are some that we enjoyed:

Tallest structure:
Science Kids Foam Block Engineering Challenge
Most horizontal structure (the kids were amazed that they could build horizontally!):
Science Kids Foam Block Engineering Challenge
Tool with which to destroy aforementioned structures (he is big into arrows lately):
Science Kids Foam Block Engineering Challenge
I chose to do this activity in the bathtub since it was bath night anyway and I didn't want to clean up a big mess elsewhere. It worked like a charm! Once they were done playing I filled up the tub and washed the blocks along with the kids! Although they were a little cramped in there, they had a blast :)
Follow Crystal's board Engineering for Kids on Pinterest.
*This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Saturday Science

Saturday Science
And now on to our Saturday Science linky party! Check out our wonderful co-hosts and link up your recent science activities:
Bubbling Cloud Dough Science from Little Bins for Little Hands

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Slime Science

Have you jumped on the slime bandwagon yet? If not, today is the perfect day to give it a try. Most recipes only call for 3 or 4 ingredients and it's much easier to make than you are probably thinking.

Why slime?

First of all, slime is fun! It's an incredible sensory experience for the kids as they dig in and get gooey, but it doesn't leave a big mess behind for you to clean up. The sensation of slime being squeezed between fingers and toes, of stretching, pulling, and rolling the slime between palms can be very intriguing and also very relaxing for a child. (And an adult, too!)

Secondly, there is some awesome science to learn from making slime! When you mix borax and glue together you are making a polymer. You can think of a polymer like a chain or a ladder. It's lots of little chemical pieces (called monomers) that hook together to make a long, strong strand. Many synthetic materials are polymers such as plastic, nylon, and styrofoam. Polymers exist in nature, too, in the forms of DNA and proteins.

Below I have included the gooiest, slimiest, most tried and true recipes from across the interwebs. I tried to include several recipes that are each distinctly different from one another. You can experiment to come up with your own creations, too!
Standard GAK from Yours Truly
This 4-ingredient recipe is quick and easy to make and will delight the kiddos several times over.

Bat Slime from Little Bins for Little Hands
Slime with a Halloween twist! You could vary this according to the season or holiday so you have a festive slime all year round. ("Festive slime", that's really something I never thought I would write.)

Glow in the Dark Slime from Left Brain Craft Brain
Who doesn't love stuff that glows in the dark? Make the dough and then read the science behind what makes something glow in the dark here.
Lego Slime from Lemon Lime Adventures
A slightly different consistency than standard GAK, this is a must-try. Add some Lego pieces in there and you've got yourself a real party!

Galaxy Slime from Twodaloo
This is the most gorgeous slime out there! Plus it makes some pretty awesome gigantic bubbles!

Edible Slime from Fun at Home With Kids
Do you have a baby or toddler that wants to join in the fun? Make this edible edition and you don't have to worry about what happens if your little one taste tests your slime!

Bubbling Slime from Epic Fun for Kids
I seriously saved the best for last here. Apparently it bubbles for a solid 24 hours!

*If your slime doesn't come out exactly as expected head over to this trouble-shooting guide. Asia at Fun at Home with Kids is the slime goddess :) And yes, that's a HUGE compliment!

Saturday Science

Saturday Science
And now on to our Saturday Science linky party! Check out our wonderful co-hosts and link up your recent science activities:
Hands-On Learning About Fossils from Stir the Wonder
Science Activities Around the House from Little Bins for Little Hands

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Which Witch is a Real Witch?

A Lesson in Density and the Middle Ages

Our experiment today involves three suspected witches. We are going to scientifically determine how many of these suspected witches are actual, real life witches.
Salt Water Eggs Density Experiment Middle Ages Science According to the logic of the Middle Ages, a witch would float on top of a body of water while an innocent person would sink like a stone. We are using this same logic in our experiment today.

We obtained three fresh eggs and drew witches on each of them with a permanent marker. Then we filled up three cups of water (about 10 ounces each) and submerged each egg.
The results?

Well, I forgot to mention that we added salt to two of the cups. Minor detail, right?

Cup #1 (yellow) contained no salt and the egg sank like a stone = Innocent person!
Cup # 2 (black) contained 2 Tbsp of salt and the egg still sank = Innocent person!
Cup #3 (blue) contained 4 Tbsp of salt and the egg *DRUM ROLL, PLEASE* floated = WITCH!
Even when we tried to make Egg #3 sink, it kept bouncing back up to the top to float. So why did this happen?

At first Tommy thought it must be something to do with the egg. He hypothesized that the eggs that sunk were heavier than the egg that floated. We tested his hypothesis by trading Egg #2 and Egg #3. He was a little baffled by the fact that the egg in Cup #2 still sank and the egg in Cup #3 still floated. Hm, looks like it wasn't because of the egg afterall.

Then we talked about the difference in the water and voila! The light came on! It was because of the salt!

See, when salt is added to water it makes the water more dense. You can think of it like the water gets heavier. If you add enough salt you can actually make it more dense than an egg, which makes the egg float.
Does this mean that ocean water is more dense than fresh water? Yes, yes it does.

Want another example of density? Head on over to Color Bombs or the Lava Lamp to see how water is more dense than oil.

What do we do with witches? We cook 'em! Enjoy :)
This experiment came from 100 Science Experiments, a book we love and reference all the time!

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Saturday Science Blog Hop

Saturday Science
It's time for our weekly Science Linky Party! I loved all the great ideas that were shared last week. Today I am featuring Spooky Sound Science from One Time Through. Grab some random objects from around the house and practice your spooky sounds for Halloween!
Check out our co-hosts:
Preschool Ghostly Bubble Science: Fun Ways to Play With Bubbles from Little Bins for Little Hands
Follow Sarah McClelland's board Science Experiments for Kids on Pinterest.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bubble Prints

As a follow up to our dry ice experiments post, I wanted to show you how to do bubble prints without the need for dry ice. I like the way the dry ice bubbles are so big and plentiful, but you can certainly make some awesome bubble prints without dry ice. Just grab a bowl full of water and some dish soap and you are good to go!
To do this art project well you want lots of bubbles. We turned this into an experiment to see which soap works the best. We used dish soap, hand soap, and bubble bath. Spoiler Alert: The dish soap works the best, at least it did for us. It created more bubbles that seemed to last longer than the other varieties of soap did.

All you need to do is mix some soap and water together in a bowl so that you get some good suds going. We found it worked best to pour the soap and water into the bowl together.

Once you have a good bubble dome going, grab some food coloring (NOT the gel kind) and put a few drops of your favorite colors on top of the bubbles. Then grab a piece of paper and lightly dab it onto the colored bubbles. It may take some practice to get this just right. If you press too hard you just get a smear of color without imprinting the bubbly texture. If you don't do it hard enough you don't get any color transferred to your paper. Experiment with different bowls of varying shape and size. See if you get better bubbles if you use hot water versus cold. Don't worry if you get some bubbles on your paper or if your paper gets wet. It will dry and contribute to the fun tie-dye pattern!
If your bubbles start to pop, simply pour out your water and start again with new water and soap. Repeat as much as you desire!

The food coloring on top of the bubbles is reminiscent of snow cone deliciousness from summertime.
Another fun part of this activity to watch is when the drop of food coloring drops from the bubbles into the water. As the drop falls it leaves a trail of color behind it that will slowly mix into the entire bowl of water, even if you don't stir it. Molecules are always in motion, something you can see as the color disperses itself through the water without any extra agitation. (See also Color Bombs.) Here at The Science Kiddo we can find the science in everything!
So what do you do with the bubble prints once they are dry? Well, your imagination is the limit! We made some Halloween decorations to hang in the windows. We made a little Halloween card. I found that a lot of our prints this time were very ghost-like, so we went with that and made a little Halloween picture with some ghostly visitors.
I know my readers are way more artistic and imaginative than I am. I would love, love, LOVE to hear and see what creations you dream up with your bubble prints. Tag me in a post to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest with the hashtag #bubbleprints and I will repost and highlight your artwork!