STEM Fun: Dyeing Easter Eggs with My Little Girl!

Two years ago, I did a blog entry about how much fun it was to dye Easter Eggs with my little girl. Now that she’s almost six, the activity is not only fun but an absolute learning experience involving STEM, or shall I say STEAM. Quinn was eager to do just about everything from start to finish. She organized everything on the counter and even suggested that we organize the cups in the order of the rainbow colors.

When it was time to add the tablets, she recalled from last year that her fingers should be dry so that none of the dye gets on them. Without me informing her, she remembered that the vinegar would go to the first measurement line, and the water would go to the second line.  “Alexa, set a timer for one minute,” she said after the eggs were in the cups.  We took a look, and she said let’s leave them in a little longer so that the color will get darker.

Since we had one egg that cracked as it boiled, we decided to experiment with it. “How about we dip it in blue first and then dip it in red so that we can get a purple eggs?” she suggested. I love how she’s always thinking and experimenting. Then came the artistic component. She designed each colorful egg and made them look so cute, almost too cute for me to eat! I felt like the one I had was begging me not to eat her with those big jiggly eyes.

Even if you don’t celebrate Easter, doing this activity is a great way to teach children colors, how to do measurements,  how to have patience, trial and error and how to get creative. Another bonus is that it’s a wonderful bonding experience that results with a treat to eat.

All the best,

Tanya

You’ve Been Slimed! Stem Fun Preschooler Style!

“I don’t know what the fascination is with slime!” I overheard a lady saying to her kids as she shook her head unwilling to budge on purchasing the kit. My four year old had been asking to make slime for the past few months, and I was avoiding it because well it’s gooey, sticky, messy and gets all over, which is the very reason she wanted to make it.

Upon arranging a play date with our cousins, I figured why not when the suggestion was offered. I was able to get a kit at AC Moore for just under $5, actually half price because I had a 50 percent off  one item coupon. There were so many from which to choose: ones with glitter, ones that glow in the dark, ones that have a scent, etc. I decided to go with the kit that had scents, pink strawberry and blue raspberry.

It actually was a fun project and a great way to teach children how to follow directions, take measurements, hypothesize what will happen and even utilize a few of the five senses by explaining how it feels, smells and looks.

I’m a big kid at heart and did enjoy helping Quinn and her cousin make slime, but I would certainly suggest keeping the slime making contained to an area where there is no carpet, just a plain table or island with no table cloth. Definitely wear old clothes, a smock or apron when making or playing with the slime because it doesn’t seem to come out of fabric as easily as it rolls off of one’s hands.

I’m not too sure of the next time we’ll make gooey, sticky messy slime that gets all over, but I loved seeing the smile of Quinn and her cousin’s face and look forward to the next STEM project.

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s Little Scientist: Never Too Young for STEM

She put on her white lab coat and selected the experiment she wanted to conduct. I assisted her with arranging the items needed, and she then smiled and said, “I have to out on my science glasses for safety before we get started!” We first saw the “Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Activity Set (12 pieces)” in the Franklin Institute Gift Shop, and my four year old just had to have it. The price was $30, but upon checking through Amazon.com, I saw that I could get it for just $18.11. Though there were some tears shed and a fit or two had, I eventually convinced my daughter that it was better for us to order through Amazon so that we could save some money and have a little left over to get the lab coat too. 

Quinn loves doing projects, activities and games, especially STEM related ones. Though I have a Liberal Arts background, I too enjoy these projects and was just as eager for the package to arrive. The kit is for children as young as three, but I must say that some adults could benefit and have fun from these science experiments that are not all that time consuming and require items that most people already have in their household.

Though my little girl is not writing as yet, we were able to discuss what she thought would happen before starting a project. I even taught her the word: hypothesis. We enjoyed doing the primary color experiment together, and days later she still talks about the primary and secondary colors and how red and blue make purple. Quinn’s Nana thoroughly enjoyed doing the volcano experiment with her so much that they did it two times.

Some of the other experiments involve learning about how plants sprout from seeds, examining different insects and determining what sinks and floats, and we’re both looking forward to doing them too. I was so impressed by the twelve piece kit that I ordered the Learning Resources Primary Science Deluxe Lab Set, 45 Piece set so that we can do more experiments in the weeks to come.

These experiments remind me of how much I enjoyed going to science class in grade school and how I wish these at home kits existed when I was younger. Of course, there’s no absolute science to raising children and making sure they have a perfect childhood and have a solid foundation for learning, but I’m so grateful to be creating these memories with my daughter and hope they stay with her for years to come.

All the best,

Tanya

STEM Fun: Learning at the Franklin Institute with My Little Girl

With a huge smile on her face, my three year old exclaimed, “This place is awesome!” as we explored the many exhibits at the Franklin Institute. This actually was her first time at the Franklin Institute because I was waiting for her to be a little older to be able to enjoy most of the exhibits and activities, but with the Science Behind Pixar exhibit and deciding to get a membership with 15 percent off, I figured it was time. Also, I thought this would be perfect for Quinn’s cognitive development, especially since she’s developed in the STEM areas.

Upon entering the Pixar exhibit, she quickly spotted Dory, Buzz Lightyear and many others and excitedly fiddled around with the interactive components with her two cousins and auntie, who joined us, and her go-to phrases of the day became, “Look at this, Mommy!” or “What’s this, Mommy?” We both learned so much and had a wonderful time, and I was eager to explore some of the exhibits throughout the rest of the museum as I became nostalgic about my own childhood and class trips to the Franklin Institute.

Since she is young, My sister and I wondered if Quinn would be afraid of the giant heart that allows museum goers to walk through it. She had so many questions about what everything was and wanted to know about the heartbeat sound she heard when were inside; she loved it and asked to walk through three more times. She had a blast in the Sir Isaac Newton’s Loft testing her own strength and learning about gravity. Another exhibit we explored that was new to me because it was not around when I was a child is the sports zone. We all had so much fun. Quinn was able to race the Philly Phanatic, her older cousin and even me too. She worked on her jump shot, did some surfing and practiced her stance and baseball pitch.

I’m looking forward to many more visits to the Franklin Institute with Quinn to explore some of the exhibits we didn’t make it to during our the first time. I’m also excited to go back to the ones we thoroughly enjoyed not just during the summer but for months and years to come. If you’re in the Philadelphia, PA are and looking for a fun, family activity that promotes learning in the STEM area, the Franklin Institute is the perfect place.

All the best,

Tanya