“Too many toys…”, that’s always my thought when birthdays and holidays roll around. The older my kids get, the more we incorporate experiences – but they still end up with more than they need, and very little keeps them entertained for long periods of time. That is, until my sweet friend came up with a new kind of gift experience for my son’s fourth birthday. She created a science experiment kit that included directions, materials, and the actual science lesson!
She came up with idea after my son showed a lot of interest in the combination of baking soda and vinegar while we were dying Easter eggs together. She’s a homeschool mama, and likes to create these kinds of projects.
And let me tell you…it was amazing!
Not only because my kids had a blast creating and concocting what she provided, but also because it made this mama’s life so easy. These kinds of projects are not usually my thing. Sure, I think about adding cornstarch to my shopping list and setting aside time to gather all of the needed ingredients so we can have a fun science activity. But it just doesn’t happen. So I appreciate the fact that she did all the prep and provided all of the materials to give my child an unforgettable experience. He loved it so much, he’s asked her to create more science kits for not only him but to give to his friends as birthday gifts, too! She’s happy to keep the science fun going for him and other kids.
And if you’d like to do the same, below are some recipes to get started or print this PDF.
Let me warn you though, do it outside because it does get messy– but oh so fun! My favorite part was watching them create their own experiments after going through the kit. It was an imaginative and educational experience right on our driveway.
Oobleck Tar Pits
Do this outside. It is very messy/”sticky”, but it does rinse with just water
In a large, shallow bin:
2 boxes corn starch
2 cups water Use spatula to help mix
Start with water in the bowl and add the cornstarch until it’s gooey. The texture will change the more you mix and play with it. If it is too dry, add a small splash of water at a time, it does not take much.
Add plastic animals or cars and see how they get stuck. Shape it into a ball and watch it melt. Cut it with a plastic knife. When finished playing, fill a bucket with water and give the toys and tools (and themselves) a “bath”
Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? It is a non-newtonian fluid. A non-newtonian fluid is dependent on its surface. It is always seeking a surface to flatten itself. A quick tap makes it feel hard because the force pushes the particles together. A slow movement gives the particles time to move out of the way. The name oobleck comes from the Dr. Seuss book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck. In the story, oobleck, a gooey green substance, fell from the sky and wreaked havoc in the kingdom.
Do this outside, or contain inside a cake pan. It will bubble over out of the jar a lot
In a jar:
Pour some vinegar
Squeeze some soap
Dump a scoop of baking soda and stir
Optional to add food coloring and glitter
Turn it into a potion mixing station with small cups of colored water/tea/juice to pour back and forth, a dropper, add grass or other bits.
The foam is caused by a chemical reaction of mixing the vinegar and baking soda together. That mixture causes a lot of tiny gas bubbles that cause the dish soap to turn to foam.
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