One of our friends came in this morning asking if we could please do some science today! :) So, we had a really fun discussion about what we would need to "do science" and then got out an assortment of our favorite materials and got to work. We filled some ice cube trays with plain water, colored water, and colored vinegar. We also had flour, epsom salt, baking soda, and of course some tongs, droppers, and safety goggles. :) We had a great time being scientists and making discoveries!
The kids requested some "feet painting" again today! Messy, sensory play is not just FUN, but it is so full of benefits for young children: they rely on sensory input to learn about their environment. Sensory play helps build neural connections that support thought, learning, and creativity. It supports language development, cognitive growth, fine/gross motor skills, problem solving/reasoning, and social interaction. And when kids are engaged, they are learning!
We made our own window clings today! One of the kids brought some little window clings for everyone in their Valentine's a couple weeks ago and they were a big hit, so I knew the kids would love making some of our own. We actually started the project yesterday and waited until today to cut them out and play with them. They turned out great and my favorite part is that they are completely edible, so even the littlest ones could come and check them out safely!
I found the instructions for this great project at The Science Kiddo. We only made half of the recipe listed there because that's all the gelatin I had, and I think we got plenty out of it. I made sure to pour them pretty thin though (1/8 - 1/4 inch) so they wouldn't be too heavy to stick, as she mentioned some people had trouble with that. We measured, poured, mixed, dropped colors into the gelatin mixture, and waited for it to set. Then today, we cut out lots of fun shapes and had a great time sticking them up on the big window! This was a fun sensory activity, science lesson, and provided lots of opportunity for new vocabulary and teamwork! We will definitely be trying this one again sometime!
Today we did a fun activity that showed us a little about the science of surface tension. I filled two glass pans with about a 1/2 inch of full fat (whole) milk. Cream will work, too. Then I had the kids use their droppers to add color to the milk. We used liquid watercolor, but food coloring will also work. I have found that popsicle molds work really well for holding the colors. They have a nice deep reservoir for our droppers, without having to use too much color, and they don't tip easily. Once the kids had a good amount of colors added to the milk, I set out some toothpicks and a small bowl of dish soap, and invited them to dip the toothpicks into the soap, and then into the colored milk.
When they do that, the soap breaks the surface tension, allowing the colors to break free from the fat in the milk which had been holding them in place. The result is a great dash of color seeming to burst away from the toothpick in their hands, and is really fun to watch! After watching a few times over, we talked a little bit about what surface tension is. To help demonstrate it better, I showed the kids this cup FULL of water and asked them how the water could stay inside the cup even though it was over the top edge? The answer, of course is: surface tension!
We tried out a new SLIME recipe today! I was not entirely thrilled with our results, but the kids enjoyed it, nonetheless. I've been looking forward to trying this one because it is completely safe for little ones to put into their mouths! You can find the recipe at Growing a Jeweled Rose. Ours was not so much slimy, as more like playing in Jell-o, but I think I must have done something not quite right, since the photos on the recipe look nice and stretchy. We will just have to try it again (maybe I'll have to try without so many little helping hands next time!) :) Experiments are always fun, even if the result is not quite what was expected!
Some days I just don't seem to get anything done. On days like today, when the end of the work day comes, the house is a disaster, the kitchen is scattered with dishes, and the floor is covered with toys and paint and art scraps and playdough bits. The kids have played more things than I can even count and I am once again amazed at the sheer number of different activities a small group of kids can move through in just one day. On days like today, the kids are busy, engaged, active, and interested in what they are doing all. day. long. Those days are THE BEST DAYS. :)
The toddlers loved the new homemade tube toy today! Lots of directional and positional vocabulary words, crawling under, spinning & sliding the tubes, and laughing! See how to make one here: http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/50709/baby-games-baby-play-station