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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Everyday Applesauce

Today is the first real rain we’ve seen since moving to Southern California in June. I’ve been missing fall in New England: apples, vibrant trees, pumpkins, the smell of wood burning from chimneys, and the autumn rain. With the feeling of fall in the air, today was the perfect day for an apple project.
After we dropped Henry off at school, Leo and I went over the local family farm. In rain boots and froggy coat, Leo climbed on the hay, looked at pumpkins and helped me choose apples that we could transform into applesauce, ala Sid the Science Kid. I try and cook with the kids regularly so when I saw the Super Fab Lab investigation about applesauce and irreversible change, I was so excited. A fall science activity with a yummy result!
I have never had so much fun making applesauce.
I noticed that by following the investigation from the Sid website, I put aside my usual boundaries in the kitchen, allowing us to explore more fully. Leo was eager to use “grown up” tools for the first time as he helped me peel the apples and I let him use a plastic knife cut them into small pieces. He stood by the stove on a stool to watch the apples heat up. When it was time to mash the heated apples into applesauce he was fascinated. Leo really liked the potato masher. He called the mixture “noodle applesauce” as the apples squished through the masher. When we poured the applesauce into the bowl he said, “It’s like an apple waterfall!”
Throughout the experiment, we talked more than usual. Leo made logical predictions like “The masher will make the apples soft.” He learned new vocabulary when we talked about the seeds. He said the seeds were “nuts” which I thought was clever and interesting. Honestly, I thought the planned activity would feel forced, but it was the opposite. I came out of autopilot/cook and really shared a learning experience with my little scientist. I have heard from teachers about the “high” that comes from watching the light bulbs turn on in their students’ heads as they learn. It is exhilarating. And we laughed a lot.
At one point when we were waiting for the apples to cook I put on my “teacher” voice and said: “Now Leo, when the apples are done on the stove we will be observing, comparing, and contrasting the cooked apples and the uncooked apples. We have to look at them, smell them, and touch them.” Then Leo chimed in and said: “And taste them Mommy!” How could I have forgotten that? Silly mommy.
We had a great time together and our applesauce is delicious. In an everyday activity, I can see how Leo understands the concept of irreversible change. When my kids acquire new vocabulary and learn something that I teach them, I get a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. It is amazing.
How do you use everyday activities as learning opportunities? Have you every stretched your parental boundaries to enhance a learning experience? I can’t wait to hear from you!

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