By Kristin Fitch
I have 3 boys. From an early age I introduced my children to basic science concepts. There was no room in our house for formalities, or serious science, at least not when my boys were only 2,4, and 6. I was on a mission to encourage a love of learning, and to make sure I introduced my boys early on to science and math. The honest truth is, neither math nor physical sciences were my strongest subjects. I preferred the social sciences and I did not want that to be a weakness for my boys.
Anyways when we had time, I would get out all of the supplies to create slime, make a basic volcano or some other kitchen chemistry experiment and my boys loved every single experiment.
The only unspoken requirements given by my boys were that it had to bubble, fizz, pop, change colors, or be slimy, gooey, or change from one state to another (ex. freezing things). Why? Well, of course, because science has to be exciting at this age. A 5 or 7 year old may lose interest in a science experiment that takes several days or weeks to happen. There is a time and place for that sort of science, more formal science, but I wanted science and learning to be fun and exciting.
Of course, with our many experiments and creations, I have had my share of messes to clean up, goo all over the place, or a cornstarch mixture that acts like a liquid and solid, or food coloring all over their arms, but to see your kids so excited by basic kitchen science makes it worth the effort.
My kids stick stuff in the freezer all the time. Sometimes they pull a cup out of the freezer that has a suspended marble in it, or a flower, I just never know what they will freeze. If you introduce your children to easy science concepts (kitchen chemistry, or gross science, or making easy volcanoes or slime) you will see that over time they will take the initiative to ask or do experiments themselves.
Science fun and experiments can be messy, but instead of getting upset if your child makes a mess while playing with water, or other kitchen-based mixtures, just relax and let him help clean up after he is done playing.
Kool-Aid Play dough
This is an easy recipe to make Kool-aid play dough. Make any color desired according to the flavor of Kool-Aid used or mix and match to come up with your own original colors. This makes a great non-toxic play dough.
Here is a simple kitchen recipe to make homemade play dough from Kool Aid. It’s non-toxic and can be kept in a plastic bag until used.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3 Tbsp. oil
- 1 pkg. Kool Aid
- 1 cup boiling water
What To Do:
- Stir together the flour, salt, and Kool-Aid granules in a bowl.
- Add boiling water and oil. Stir completely until the mixture forms a ball.
- Gently knead a couple of times then set aside to cool.
- Keep in a resealable plastic bag or in a small container.
Here is a recipe to make easy salt dough for clay ornaments or fossils with kids. Ingredients from the kitchen:
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of water
What To Do:
- In a large bowl, combine the salt and the flour
- Make a well in the salt/flour mixture and add the water
- Knead until smooth and shape into a ball
- When not in use, wrap in plastic or store in an airtight container
To get a softer dough you can add more flour. Adding more salt will lend a more granulous affect. To add color to your dough, add food coloring or paint. Knead to get an even color. Paint your ornaments and sculptures after they dry.
Some of our other favorite things to do is make Slime, Goo, and Giant Bubbles and you can find directions for those here.
Science is All Around Us
I take every opportunity to get my kids outside and moving around, especially if I can get them interested in life around them. An easy way to let kids have some fun while getting up close to nature and life around them is to do a Look & Find Activity.
Here is a Look & Find: Backyard printable worksheet to take outside and find the listed items. After you do this one you can make up new lists of things for your kids to go and find. Take it a step further and observe the items collected or found.
Another printable worksheet is for the park – Look & Find: Park.
Science is Fun
Next up in our house we are going to make pop rock candy. I need to find Citric Acid Crystals first.
I encourage all parents and teachers to get kids excited about science, learning, reading, and even art, baking and gardening as all of these things teach children about how things works and the process behind things. Here’s to trying out something new at home with your kids.
There are tons of science experiments and mixtures you can do at home that you can find on SteveSpanglerScience.com or many other science websites. There are also many science kits, science experiment books and more that you can buy.
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Kristin Fitch is the co-creator and editor of several successful national web sites. ZiggiyZoom.com is a fun and educational site for children and their parents. It is also a resource site for teachers and homeschool parents. The site offers educational printables, games, crafts, activities, and more for families. NationalKindergartenReadiness.com is a site for parents and teachers with resources to help prepare children for school, including printables, skills to learn, articles, and educational games.