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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Category: Crafts

I hope all of you are enjoying the dog days of summer as much as Henry, Leo, and I. We’ve been busy with swimming lessons, beach days, zoo days, park days, pool days, free movies, camping, and lazing around. One of my neighbors made a passing comment about being “half way through summer” and my heart dropped. Talk about a buzz kill! We have five more weeks and that means summer is far from over for my family. I haven’t even begun to tackle my summer bucket list! It’s time to get serious.

As much as I love the spontaneity of our summer days, I also love the structure of a well-planned playdate. My boys have been missing their buddies. As we head into August I want to meet up with friends. I am also looking forward to catchimg up with some of my parent friends too! To give our playdates some extra fun, I am turning to some of my favorite Sid activities and giving them a summer twist. No reason to stop injecting science into our everyday experiences, right?

Scavenger Hunts
I have learned over the past couple of years that the folks at Sid the Science Kid love a good scavenger hunt activity. One great activity is called Texture Hunt where the kids are asked to find objects with specific describing words like bumpy, scratchy, and soft. I think it would be fun to add summertime words like sandy (sandbox), hairy (grass), cold (ice), wet (water), rubbery (balloon). Fun with language building!

I also thought it would be great to expand on our Exploring Measurement activity from a couple of weeks ago and adapt it as a scavenger hunt. The kids would have to find specific measurements such as “Find something that is 36 inches high” or “which chair is 24 inches” or “who has the longest shoes”? I suspect the kids will be busy for a long time.

Craft Time
One of the boys’ all-time favorite Sid activities is the Shadow Investigation. The loved making puppets and learning about shadows. The puppets had lasting appeal for both of them. This activity will definitely make an appearance with a summertime makeover. The kids can make summer puppets with ocean animals or summer sports like swimming.

Another fun talk-home craft for a playdate is the Big Bird Nest activity. You can use up lots of crafting materials or spend some time outside gathering natural materials to create bird nests. With both of these activities I envision my dining room table strewn with creative materials, scissors, glue, messy hands, and lots of giggling.

Outdoors Time
I never underestimate the power of the Backyard Camp Out. Last summer we camped in the yard as a family. This summer I see potential as a dinner and evening playdate. We don’t do that very often, but the fun of this activity might mean we make an exception. How fun would it be set up the tent and host a mini party with your best buddies? We can talk about nature and the stars while cooking dogs and smores over the backyard fire pit. I am going to start planning this right away!

If you have a kiddie pool set up in the backyard there is a great Sid activity for you to try called Wind Power. You kids and their friends can make boats to race in the kiddie pool. Technically, this is also a crafting activity, so lots of modalities are satisfied. And who doesn’t like getting wet on a hot summer afternoon?

For a quick transition activity on a challenging playdate, I might try Sound Garden and literally take it into a garden. There are so many sounds in nature and in the neighborhood. The quiet listening activity might be the perfect solution for a sharing conflict or moment with hurt feelings…both typical of longer playdates.

Fail Safe Sid Activities
The following activities may need some advance planning or materials before the playdate but they are GUARENTEED to inspire fun, teamwork, laughter and learning. Trust me.

Cave of Darkness
Bones Investigation
Engineer a Solution
Frozen Fruit
What’s That Smell?

All of these activities are explained in detail online. There are many more to choose from. I loved reading through all of them again with the playdate filter. Who knows, I may turn to some of these on a hot afternoon when the boys are ready to declare war. Science is a peacemaker!

I want to hear about your summer! Do you have any advice for playdate harmony?

I am not what most people would call “crafty.” Please don’t laugh at me. I have failed many times when it comes to anything that involves sewing, stitching, painting, decoupage (what??), or scrap booking. In the past, the closest I have come to being crafty is making our annual family calendar online. But that is changing! Since I have become a mostly stay at home mom, I have opened myself up to becoming more hands-on and creative. It is coming slowly, with the help of a patient neighbor (very crafty) and my new obsession with Pinterest. At Christmastime I turned old Scrabble tiles into ornaments. Just this week I cut up paint sample cards into an Easter egg garland. Crafty, right? Good for me!
But what does this have to do with science?
It’s all about rocks this week on Sid the Science Kid‘s Rock and Roll Easter episode. Sid and his friends learn all about rocks because Sid finds an interesting rock in his backyard while on an egg hunt for Easter. This leads the kids on a wonderful exploration of different kinds of rocks and the gang paints rocks for Easter. As the kids and I watched the episode I couldn’t believe my eyes. Sid the Science Kid made an investigation out of my latest craft. I had already done this activity, but without the science tie. The kids and I collected rocks as a crafty Easter Art activity!
Over Spring Break the boys and I spent a night on the Central California coast. It was wonderful. The weather was cool and sunny and the beach was almost deserted. Henry and Leo ran in out of the waves squealing with the cold and laughing until they fell down. The dug deep holes in the sand and made tunnels. I walked around looking at the beach rocks. My husband can attest to my love of beach rocks. I grab a couple almost every time I head to the shore and I have collection from all around the world. I think they are beautiful. On this particular beach day I was looking at the shapes of the rocks. Many of the rocks on this beach were very smooth and round. As I thought about it, I realized they looked like eggs. And a craft was born!
I took the boys on a long walk and instructed them to hunt for rocks that looked like eggs. It was harder than I thought it would be. Henry and Leo kept bringing me rocks that weren’t quite right. I used all the adjectives I could think of: smooth, round, oval, egg like, not rough, not jagged, not flat. I think they thought I was crazy. At once point Leo brought me a rock AND a ladybug.
Rocks1.jpg
After a while the boys moved on to other adventures but I continued collecting egg rocks. I wanted us to paint the rocks as an Easter project and as a memento of our holiday at the beach. Here are the rocks we took home:
Rocks2.jpg
A few days later, I was struggling over how to paint the rocks. I wanted the rocks to have color, but I wanted them to still look like beach rocks. I called my mother, who is a painter, and told her my dilemma. What kind of paint, I asked? Acrylic? Could I mix it with water? Tempera paint? My mom, every practical, replied: “Dye them like an Easter egg.”
Duh.
So, the boys and I plopped the rocks into the cups provided in the Easter egg kit with the tablets, water, and vinegar. We experimented with different combinations and learned what colors came out the best (blue and pink). It was a fun activity and a nice preview to the egg decorating we will do this weekend. I think the rocks turned out beautifully.
Rocks3.jpg
So when Henry, Leo, and I sat down to watch the Rock and Roll Easter special, we got all excited about our beach rocks again. What kind beach rocks do we have: Igneous, Metamorphic or Sedimentary? To be honest, we can’t really figure it out. A quick search online revealed that the rocks could be any of the three kinds. We will just need to keep investigating and looking at the rocks with our magnifying glass.
Usually, I plan an activity with the kids aimed at revealing the science behind the investigation. This time, we completed a fun art project and learned later that there was a lot of science we could learn from the experience. I can’t wait to get “crafty” with some more science!
What kinds of art projects do you enjoy with your children? Do you have any rock stories to share?

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo
 

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