Colored Milk Experiment

We tried out the milk and dish soap experiment I saw floating around the interwebs.  It is pretty cool!  My kids were definitely entertained and wanted to do it again and again.

Materials:

  • milk (whole or 2%)
  • Q-tips
  • dish soap
  • food coloring
  • dinner plate or bowl

Fill the plate or bowl with enough milk to cover the bottom.  Then drop in some food coloring.

milk and dishsoap

Dip a Q-tip in the food coloring to see what happens (nothing).  Then dip the Q-tip in dish soap and touch it to the food coloring.  Wow!  No need to stir, the colors will explode and mix on their own.

milk soap experiment

colored milk experiment

15 Ways to Learn with Play Food

learning with play food

So you’ve got a little kitchen set for your kiddo.  Here are some ways to learn with all that plastic food (you know, instead of just tripping over it)….

  1. See if your child can name all the pieces of food.
  2. Select food and have a pretend picnic.
  3. Set up a pretend restaurant.  Take turns being the customer and waiter/waitress and cook.
  4. Arrange food in rows and go shopping with a basket.  Pretend to check-out and use real money.
  5. Sort food by color.
  6. Sort food by food group.
  7. Pick out two or more foods that start with the same letter.
  8. Look for shapes.  Which foods are spheres?  Are any flat like a circle?  What about a cylinder?
  9. Find and count certain foods.  How many eggs are there?  How many oranges?
  10. Compare quantities.  Are there more yellow foods or green foods?  How many more lemons than tomatoes?
  11. Use food to represent addition or subtraction problems.  I have four apples, then I give two to you.  How many do I have now?
  12. Play “I’m thinking of a food.”  Use adjectives to describe a piece of food to each other and take turns guessing.
  13. Play a memory game.  Place a few foods in front of your child.  Then have her close her eyes and take a food away.  Ask which one was removed.
  14. Put a food in a sack and see if you can guess what it is just by touch.
  15. Go on a food scavenger hunt.  Write down a list of foods to find (something to eat for breakfast, a vegetable, a food that starts with the letter B, etc.) and then see if your child can find them all!

Egg in Saltwater

egg in saltwater

I love ridiculously easy science experiments.  I don’t want to create a shopping list just to do something with my kids.  I know, sometimes it is worth.  But most times I just want to grab a few things around the kitchen and be done.

Materials:

  • egg
  • salt
  • water
  • glass or bowl

This is a great activity to do after “sink or float.”  Hypothesize if an egg will float in water.  Test the hypothesis.  Then add salt and try it again.  Hint- you have to add LOTS of salt!  How does it work?  A raw egg has more density than tap water.  Adding salt increases the density of water until at some point it is greater than the egg.  Then the egg floats.  Try the experiment with other materials.  Talk about swimming in saltwater vs. freshwater.

Cardboard Binoculars

toilet paper roll binocularsHow easy is to make your own binoculars?  Just wrap some duct tape around two toilet paper tubes and add some string.  I had the patterned duct tape to really make it fancy.  Ha.  They just take a minute to make and then you can have all kinds of fun.

Use them to…

  • spot flowers, nuts, or leaves on a nature hunt
  • look for letters in the grocery store
  • go on a color hunt around your house
  • get a good look at animals at the zoo
  • act out a story about an explorer

Materials:

  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • string or yarn
  • duct tape

 

Sink or Float Experiment

sink or float

One of the easiest science experiments is “Sink or Float.”  Just gather up some stuff on your living room floor and toss it in a bowl of water.  Done.  Science.

Okay, you could probably make it a little more educational.

First, make some predictions (hypotheses) about the objects.  An easy way to do this is group them into “sink” and “float” piles.  For older kids, make a chart of the objects, hypotheses, and actual results.  You can make your own or print one from the handy internet.

Next, the fun part.  Test the objects in water.  This is a hit with all ages.  Who doesn’t love dropping things in water?

Then, discuss the results and draw conclusions.  Ah, the learning part.  Were your hypotheses correct?  What do the sinking objects have in common?  What makes an object float?

simple sink or float

I always like to follow up an experiment with a good book.  Check out library books with a 532 call number or try some of my favorites:

  • Magic School Bus Ups and Downs: A Book about Floating and Sinking  by Joanna Cole
  • What Floats?  What Sinks?  A Look at Density by Jennifer Boothroyd
  • Will it Float or Sink? (Rookie Read-About Science) by Melissa Stewart

And if your library seems oh-so-far-away, try this equally educational online video.  Plus it’s interactive!!

 

Yarn Art

The girls decided it would be a fun game to cut up yarn.  I’m not sure how the came up with idea or how they stayed interested in it for so long.  It kept them occupied and it was great cutting practice for my three-year-old, so I was happy.  I was slightly less enthusiastic when my living room was covered in bits of yarn.  Hmmm…  What to do?  Well for starters we played my fun game of “Who can pick up the most yarn in her baggie?”  Then we made some art.

Big Sis used some steady hands to make lines and shapes with the Elmer’s glue.  Then she carefully found pieces of yarn to place on her glue lines.

yarn lines

Little Sis also had a great time plopping glue on a paper and then sticking yarn on.  She wasn’t as concerned about getting it on the lines….

yarn art

We also practiced some sight words.  First I wrote the word with glue and Big Sis placed the yarn on the lines.  Then we switched and she got to write with glue.  You could do the same with letters, numbers, or shapes.

yarn sight words

Ten Ways to Learn with Cardboard Boxes

building with boxes

If you can learn with cans, why not boxes?  We collected empty cardboard boxes for a few weeks to make “box blocks.”  For boxes that didn’t close on their own, I taped them shut.  The kids really got excited about adding to our box collection.  And we were able to see just how many boxes our family uses…and have a talk about the importance of recycling!  That is a learning experience in itself, but here are some other things you can teach with boxes…

learning with boxes

Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

  1. Colors- Talk about the different colors on the boxes, then divide them into groups or make a rainbow.
  2. Size- Compare sizes of boxes.  Put them in order from smallest to biggest.
  3. Counting- How many boxes in all?  Count how many you can stack in a tower.
  4. Addition and Subtraction- How many cereal boxes plus fruit snack boxes do we have? (first grade- Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction)
  5. Geometry- Talk about 2D vs 3D.  Use the word rectangular prism.  How many rectangles make up a box?   (kindergarten- Identify shapes as two-dimensional or three-dimensional)
  6. Measurement- Use a ruler to measure boxes length, width, and depth. (second grade- Measure and estimate lengths in standard units)
  7. Classification- Sort the boxes into groups based on color, size, or type of food.   (kindergarten- Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count)
  8. Reading- Beginning readers might be able to read some of the labels using the picture as a clue.  If they know it is a pizza box, see if they can pick out the word “pizza.”
  9. Letters- Try to make letters or even words out of the small boxes.
  10. Creative building- Design your own sculpture with box blocks!

Or combine all the above into a scavenger hunt.  Scatter the boxes around the room and then shout out things to find.  “Find a green box and bring it to me.  Which box would we use to eat breakfast?  Find the largest box.  Can you find the letter T on a box?”  This is great way to get kids moving and learning at the same time.

cardboard box horse
cardboard box scultpure