Monday, May 4, 2015

Little Curiosities; Science for Your Kid

Inspire, occupy, and incite wonder with these easy-to-do children's science experiments! From the colorful to the totally gross, head to your kitchen for a few quick lessons in science, sure to produce plenty of Oohs and Aahs of amazement!

The Color Changing Carnation
A pretty cool staple of children's science experiments, the color changing carnation experiment is a must-see for tiny nature lovers. Where does the water go when little hands help water mom's garden? Let your children explore the importance of water and the functions of roots and stems.
You'll Need: -6 white carnations  -Food coloring   -4 Plastic cups -Water -Knife (for parent's use only)
1. Fill the plastic cups half full with water. Add 15 drops of red food dye to the first cup, adding blue and then green to the other cups. The last cup should be left without coloring.
2. Cut each carnation stem at an angle, creating a fresh cut. (Tip: cut the stems under water to prevent air bubbles from filling the stem, which will not allow water to be carried through the stem.)
3. Place a freshly cut carnation in each cup and wait for the results

-May take up to 24 hours for the colored water to reach the white petals. Check back every few hours for results!

Magic Rock Candy

Test out a 'supersaturated solution' using a childhood favorite- sugar! In this experiment, the water and sugar mix creates a supersaturated solution in which the water is only able to absorb and hold the sugar while both are hot. During the cooling process the sugar is leached out of the solution, becoming a crystalline work of art on your skewer!

You’ll Need:
-2 to 3 cups sugar
-Wooden skewer or chopstick
-1 clothespin
-Tall glass
-1 cup water

1. Clip wooden skewer at the top, between the clothespin (this will hang down into the glass, held in place by the clothespin).
2. An adult should bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 1/4 cup sugar to boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Continue adding sugar to boiling water until no more will dissolve. The process of dissolving will take a bit of time, don't give up!
3. When no more sugar will dissolve, remove boiling water from the burner and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
4. Pour sugar solution into the glass, almost full. Place skewer into the solution so that it hangs without touching the sides of the glass.
5. Take a few guesses as to what will happen! Allow the glass to sit undisturbed for 3-7 days, and watch your rock candy form! (Tip: for colored rock candy, add food dye to sugar water)

Watch Bacteria Grow!
Your kids have been told time and again to wash their hands; bring this simple lesson to life with a petri dish, and some guesses about germs! Are there really germs on your hands? Is your cat's mouth cleaner than a human's? What's really living on your toilet seat?! Let's play with some microorganisms, and find out! (Hint: your petri dish and warm conditions provide the optimal place for bacteria to flourish into colonies; which samples produce the largest amounts of bacteria?)

You'll Need:
-Cotton swabs
1. Using a separate cotton swab for each petri dish, swab a door handle, the floor, or the bottom of your shoe. Choose your own area to test for germs- maybe places you child needs to be reminded to clean
2. Rub the cotton swab gently over the agar in the petri dish, and seal when finished. Repeat steps for each new test you wish to complete.
3. Place petri dish in a warm area for 2-3 days, and observe as your bacteria begin to multiply!
4. Once finished with your experiment, leave petri dishes tightly sealed, wrap in newspaper, and discard.

A Secret Message

Enter spy mode with this secret message maker. Diluting lemon juice in water allows the mixture to be undetectable when written with on paper. Because that handy kitchen lemon is an organic substance that oxidizes (becomes brown) when heated, adding a little heat to your secret message will reveal it to wondrous little eyes!
You'll Need;
1.Half a lemon
2.White paper
3.Lamp or light bulb
7.Cotton swab

1. Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl, and add a few drops of water. Mix with spoon.
2. Dipping cotton swabs into the lemon juice mixture, write out or draw a secret message on white paper. Allow juice to dry and become invisible.
3. To reveal your hidden message, heat paper by holding it close to a light bulb and watch what appears!

Inspire some curiosity in your kids with some of these science experiments. Not only is it fun for you and your children, but your kids will learn a thing or two along the way. School is nearly out for the summer- keep your child’s brain stimulated and their imagination buzzing this summer!

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