Play Date with Science – Easy Fun Experiment

science for kids Making science fun and exciting for kids when they are young lays the foundation for the years ahead.  Have a blast with this simple science experiment , it was a huge hit with my son and one of his buddies at a play date we had yesterday.  I told the boys that we had a mystery to solve which powder would make the biggest eruption? That was all two 5 year old boys needed to hear.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some small containers , something for your little scientists to pour the vinegar out of ( ours were little food containers used for dip), cookie sheets to keep your kitchen from becoming a mess, a  and some paper and marker to make numbers. Then you will also need some baking powder, baking soda , cornstarch and vinegar.  I made a little chart but we didn’t use it , they were too excited and that excitement was my goal so we just asked questions and made predictions verbally. science for kids
  2. Start by pouring the vinegar into a smaller container. This made it much easier to refill the cups between pours.
  3. Fill the containers with the powder and place in order on the trays.
  4. Call the kids.Have them check out the powders however they want and decide which will make the biggest eruption.
  5. Pour ! #1 was baking powder which has baking soda in it so it bubbled over ( more than I expected ) but it didn’t erupt.
  6. #2 was cornstarch and both boys declared it a “Dud” .
  7. #3 was the grand finale and it didn’t disappoint.science for kids
  8. After the experiment was over they played and poured until there were no more bubbles to be had. science for kidsThey were chattering so quickly to each other about droids and potions and giggling it was hard to catch what they were pretending it all was, but it was clear they were having a ball. After the play date was over my son asked to do more science at play dates. I am more than willing!

5 Senses – Ice Cream Taste Test

science for kids

Who said science can’t be yummy? Let your kids explore their senses with this blind taste and smell test using ice cream. Ice cream gets turned into a science experiment with this simple and oh so yummy experiment. Teaching about the five senses has always been one of my favorite themes and I guarantee your kids will love this science lesson too.  I have also done this with plain yogurt and natural food flavoring if ice cream isn’t an option. You can use a blindfold if your child will tolerate it, my son doesn’t like them and a simple ” If you peak the activity is over.” was enough to keep his eyes glued shut during the experiment.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need multiple flavors of ice cream, a sheet of paper, markers, peel off labels, cups to conceal the ice cream containers and one or more spoons. These tiny single serve Hagen-Daz were perfect for this and the left overs weren’t too plentiful.
  2. Number your cups.
  3. Make a basic graph, you could make it on the computer and print it out but there is no need for perfection, just fun and learning.
  4. Write the flavor on the chart and cover with labels. Your child will peel these off after all the tests and predictions are recorded.
  5. Place the ice cream in the cups with the correct number. Can you tell I had a little pre taste test taste of some ? Can you blame me?
  6. Invite your child to begin the test. Explain why you want them to have their eyes closed, not just because you want to keep it a secret from them, but because when you aren’t using one sense the others work harder.
  7. Smell the first and make a prediction.  My son inherited my accurate sniffer, he was like ” That is mango , I know it!”
  8. Taste.
  9. Repeat. I was fascinated by his ability to recognize smell and taste as well as his honest aversion to peanut butter. Seriously who doesn’t love peanut butter? My kid.
  10. Fill your graph in as you go.
  11. After all the tests – peel and reveal! He loved this part almost as much as tasting them. He was shocked that #2 was caramel not vanilla!
  12. Choose your favorite to have as an after experiment snack! Chocolate won out at our house.

Great 5 Senses Book!

Look, Listen, Taste, Touch, and Smell: Learning About Your Five Sensesby Pamela Hill Nettleton is a really great find. The book doesn’t separate the senses, instead the author explains all the ways the senses work in specific situations. My son was intrigued by the ideas of smores and kept telling me “I want to smell and taste some smores Mommy, please!” I liked how it explained the connection between the areas of our bodies we associated with the senses ( mouth, eyes, nose, skin and ears) and the brain. The author succeeds in making it accessible for young kids but not boring for older ones. Good Find!!

Pretend Play – Science Lab

This is cool science !  There were no real instructions for this pretend play  just a buffet of fun things safe to mix in experiments.  My son got into this right away taking on the serious personality of a chemist as he dove into his imagination. This is so easy to do because all you really need is water and a few kitchen tools, everything else is just icing on the cake.

  1. Gather your materials. For our science lab we used a handful of glass jars -if you are really keen you can put graduated measurements up the sides, but remember kids imaginations don’ need every detail done for them.  You may want a few absorbent place mats, turkey baster, eye droppers, small measuring cups,  mini whisks, some shampoo or dish soap , some baking soda , water and food color.  Also eye protection and an apron or lab coat is a must!
  2. I added a few drops of food coloring in jars of water and set everything out – something I learned years ago is if everything is at arms reach fewer things spill . If I was doing this with multiple kids I’d ditch the chairs and have them stand at a low table.
  3. Start concocting! 
  4. The baking soda mixed with the shampoo made a nice ( not overly) fun fizzy foam, clearly the shampoo was acidic. This made me remember doing a science experiment in grade 4 with all sorts of things and mixing them with baking soda to see which was the most acidic. If you want you could incorporate that too.
  5. Keep going!  He had a blast.
  6. I got a tub ready to soak everything in after playing.
  7. We had so much fun I had to dump out his beaker and get him some new yellow water.
  8. Popped them all in the water – we let them soak and came back later to scrub. See this activity includes practical life and water sensory play too.

Buried Treasure – Magnet Activity

Put on your pirate hats and grab your treasure maps and discover buried treasure with this magnetic discovery box . It was so much fun and a great way to work on a number of things from colors, counting, letters… the sky is the limit. This is not at all safe for infants, toddlers or any child still putting things in their mouths. My 4 year old son was happy as a clam playing this over and over again while his sister napped. Especially since I explicitly told him it was only for big kids, no babies allowed. It’s nice to have things just for him now that he has to share so much.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a magnetic wand , some magnetic marbles ( ours came with our wand),some magnetic letters/numbers,  a dish tub, some cracked wheat and or rice. I know some parents are concerned about using sand for crafts so I searched for the best replacement and this bulk cracked wheat really looks like sand!
  2. Pour your rice and cracked wheat into your tub.
  3. Take some time feeling the pretend sand , talk about how it feels, ask your child if they like it or not.
  4. Ask your child to cover their eyes and hide the magnets. * hint about keeping everyone in your family safe. Count the magnets before they go into the tub and do a “headcount” of them after you are done playing. Magnets are really fun toys and great for learning but in the wrong hands/ mouths they are very dangerous.
  5. Search for treasure!
  6. Ask what they found- it’s a fun way to practice letter and number recognition, counting , or even addition and subtraction!
  7. This is what baby girl was doing while we explored.


Real Life Angry Birds

by Kim

My house has been taken over with Angry Bird fever (the app, that is). I have it on my iPod, my husband has it on his iPad and his smartphone. It was bound to happen that my son caught the fever, as well. He has many educational apps on my iPod that he plays, but he wondered over to Angry Birds and got stuck.

So I decided to make it come to life, sort of. I grabbed various manipulatives that we have at our house.

I also grabbed some farm animal toys (to take the place of the green pigs).

Then I grabbed a toy to use in place of the Angry Birds (Mr. Potato Head Spuds worked great).

We created a scene constructed of different building materials.

I talked with my son about the differences between them. We discussed “flimsy” and “sturdy”. We also talked about chain reactions.

My son let the birds potatoes fly. The target was annihilated.

He made his own structure all by himself. He told me all about why he put animals in certain places. Some got their spots to protect themselves, while others were put there to use a throw (to get only one animal, instead of multiples). He talked about spots he wanted to hit that could cause a chain reaction, too.

I was so happy! He was listening. He was learning. He used his logic to make a video game come to life. He now asks to play his real life version more often than the app version.

I have to admit, the app version is a lot easier to clean up. ;-)

Do you let your kids play on your iPod/iPad/smartphone?

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.