I just love face painting! 🙂 I especially love little girls who want to be dragons! Lots of great imaginations at this party!
If you are having a themed party I can put together face painting designs to go with your theme, or choose from one of my themed party packages!
Summer is rapidly approaching! And it comes year after year, so why do I always feel like summer catches me with my pants down? This year I refuse to be caught without plans. Of course I’ll be face painting, and I’ve decided to organize the summer by weekly science topics, starting with etymology. I didn’t choose our first topic randomly, it just happens we have a pretty cool bug collection we’ve put together over the years, and its nice to start with something that’s already somewhat prepared for!
My daughter will be entering second grade in the fall, and my middle child kindergarten. I ought to be able to provide science based material for each topic that they can each benefit from, like bug themed coloring pages and mazes they will both enjoy. We will make a paper mache exoskeleton and make small mosaics with bits of broken mirror to represent bug eyes and how they see. My daughter can work on spelling the more advanced words while my son learns to write his name on his coloring pages and worksheets. We’ll buy some big nets and hunt bugs and observe their details from how they move to what color they are to where we found them. They can each keep a journal and draw pictures of the bugs we see and my daughter can write her observations next to the pictures!
So we start with etymology. Then we’ll follow with botany, I think. Botany is a good one for kids, especially in Austin. Austin’s Botanical Gardens are amazing! Austin is also home to some amazing nurseries. Its About Thyme, The Great Outdoors, and The Natural Gardner are awesome places to visit.
Cells are pretty cool, the study of cells is called cytology, and I found a neat microscope at a garage sale with a 5″x5″ screen that shows the organism in a nice big picture vs. having to squint into little microscope eye pieces.
Then there’s always the animal kingdoms! I’m working with local traveling petting zoo Tiny Tails To You and we’re welcome to visit the animals any time! There are tortoises and turtles, bearded dragons and gecko’s. Chicks, ducklings, rabbits big and small, hedgehogs and guinea pigs… I feel like I’m forgetting something. Well anyway, Tiny Tails does a free monthly petting zoo during story time at Book People each month, and would be an option for other parents wanting to give their kids a chance to see the different animals!
Aside from science themes we’ll of course have swimming lessons, lazy afternoons in the backyard, ice cream making, and decorating the kids’ room! Summer of 2012, I am ready for you!
We are so blessed with wonderful free programs here in Austin, Texas! Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings Book People, our local independent book seller, brings us delightful story times with either a fun art activity afterwards, or an event, such as a local kids’ music singer or a petting zoo! Today’s awesomeness was the Tiny Tails petting zoo. After several books about animals we got to meet some animals.
We are dying to get hedgie’s for the house!
Oliver and chinchillas have big eyes in common!
Hmmm, they were both thinking, he’s cute, but maybe I’d like down?
The kids love animals soooo much. I wish we could have bearded dragon, a chinchilla, a hedge hog, and a guinea pig all of our very own, oh and bunnies, too! But I’m a realist, and realistically I have my hands full as it is!
My darling daughter woke up feeling awful! Sweet thing, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t talk, coughing like crazy! It was a unanimous decision to go to the pediatrician instead of school! Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you looked at it, my darling wasn’t sick. No strep. No fever. No nuthin’. At least with bacteria there’s ANTIbiotics! Instead she has ALLERGIES. Texas allergies are starting to catch on to my kids, even tho I give them Zyrtec! Anyway, she was so pitiful at the doctor’s office. Until we got home. Its amazing how perky they get when they realize they don’t have to go to school.
We took pictures of her candles and posted them in her Etsy shop:
We worked on making valentines:
And we had a tea party! Central Market is so lovely. They put all the broken or wilted flowers in a bucket with a piggy bank for the kids to “buy.” My daughter picked out a lively bouquet:
Mid afternoon she was really starting to feel better, and I said, “school tomorrow!” Sadly, after bath and intense studying of spelling words she wilted worse than our flowers. Her eyes turned to glass, her throat dried up, she couldn’t pass air in or out her nose. You can’t fake this stuff. *sigh* Sick days with my darling are pretty wunnerful. I think I’ll keep her home one more day. 😀
The best part of starting a new craft is the shopping, the discovery of all the delightful accessories that can help turn your plain, rolled beeswax candle into a work of art. My best idea so far has been Wilton Cake Accessories. 🙂 The darling little cookie cutters used for fondant are perfectly sized for cutting shapes out of wax for applique onto the completed beeswax candle. I have to say, I’m rather proud of us! Hazel and I worked on our candles for the first time since getting into business together. We not only had a lot of fun, but we completed a project worth to be put in our shop!. First we experimented with mini candles. These were considerably more intensive than I’d anticipated! And very difficult for little hands.
First we took our Valentine’s Day mini cookie cutter set and cut out a couple of hearts. The idea was to simply press the two layers together, sandwiching wick and stick, to make a mini candle!
Unfortunately one layer of hearts wasn’t enough. With just two slices of wax the shape was weak, wobbly, and transparent. The wick and stick were clearly visible, and it wasn’t particularly attractive. So we cut two more layers, and the problem was solved. Four layers of beeswax was perfect thickness for a lovely mini candle. You can really see the difference:
We really liked our end result and so got to work on the next mini candle. I handed Hazel the cookie cutter and told her, “ok, we need four pieces!” “MOM!” she shouted! Why do they have to shout when they’re sitting right next to you??? “WHAT?” I said. “Mom, cutting four is a lot of work. Look what we can do instead!” Then she folded the wax in half.
Ah! Fantastic. She’s already working on problem solving. “This way,” she explained, “we can cut out two at a time!” This was a nice trick, but made it slightly more difficult at the same time. It takes a gentle hand to mash the two pieces together, otherwise the shape is obliterated.
In order to make the two pieces meld better, we use a heating tool. Many people simply use their hairdryer, but I find this cumbersome. Hairdryers are super loud and even small ones are an awkward shape and take up space. We use a heating tool used for embossing:
It only takes a few seconds! Beeswax is very sensitive and is easy to melt accidentally! Not that we had any problems with melting our shapes, lol.
Hazel was able to do both of the heart shapes for our Valentine’s set, but the X and the O proved to be too difficult. The cookie cutters are quite tiny and the X and O were delicate, so I finished those pieces.
Rather lovely, don’t you think? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think about our adventures in business! Keep coming back as we’ll continue posting about our products and processes, and coming in March we’ll be starting a candle give away! Don’t forget to check out Woo Who! on Etsy while you’re at it! We’re growing imaginations!
Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Yes, candy, flowers, and the idea that love is in the air is nice, but truly I love the color palette of Valentine’s. I love chocolate brown and red, pink, cream, and turquoise color combinations, and for me anything I make for Valentine’s can be used year round.
Recently I started working on a Heart Felt Garland. Unlike the felt circle Christmas tree we made using free hand cut circles, I prefer to use a die to cut out my hearts. The dies make the cutting out go faster, it ensures uniformity in size and shape, and its fun to do with kids. I punched out 100+ hearts with my four year old son. He’s super into mechanical things, and he thought turning the handle of the big shot and plucking the hearts off of the cutting mat was the coolest thing in the world! Whether you are cutting by hand or using a punch, cutting out a hundred hearts is time consuming, but we used it as a way to merge our adult and child worlds and spend time together.
Once I had my pile of hearts, I lined them up in the pattern I wanted to stitch them in. This is far faster than picking through the pile for the right size when its time to stitch on a new heart. (By the way, I’m using premium red felt. Premium felt is thicker than the regular eco felt, and the red is richer and deeper. The thickness of the felt gives the shapes structure. If I was using eco felt for this project I might do two-ply hearts. Doubling up on the hearts would give it depth as well as structure.)
Stitching the garland is easy! Make sure you have a good tail of thread at the beginning, and back stitch on the first heart as you would any sewing project. *Note – don’t leave too much space between the hearts as you sew! Regular sewing machines are not made to create thread chains as sergers are, and leaving too large a space between the hearts can cause your bobbin thread to jump and the machine to bog down. As you can see as my hearts run out the back of the machine, the tip of the first heart fits right into the cleavage of the next heart.
By the time I was through I had a heart felt garland length of 9.25 feet! 🙂 I’m going hang it from hooks around the ceiling of my children’s room. Like I said, I love chocolate brown, turquoise, red and cream. Up next is painting their walls turqoise, the bed chocolate brown, and the windowsills/door frames cream! 🙂
Would you like a heart felt garland? Of course they’re available for purchase in my Etsy shop, however after I finished my lengthy garland, I made a mini garland of large and small hearts measuring approximately 26 inches. It would be perfect to hang in a window or off a doorknob, and I’m giving it away!!! Please visit Woo Who! on Facebook and click our “LIKE” button! Then return to this post and leave a comment telling me you did. If you’ve already been to our FB and joined us, check out my Etsy shop and comment on an item in the shop that you like and why! I love feedback. This give away will end on February 14th. 🙂
So easy! So fun! Most people have the ingredients lying about, and normally we would too. Except we actually needed them so of course they were no where to be found. We hopped in the car and after a quick trip to Walgreens, and I use the term quick loosely – it was me, three kids and the dog – we were mixing up a batch of Cloud Dough!
You’ll need baby oil and flour. Yep, that’s it.
I gave the kids a half scoop measuring cup and they each got to make four scoops. This is not a specific mix by any means, so it doesn’t matter if the scoop is half full or heaping, but they each had approximately two cups of flour in their bowls. Then I used a quarter measuring cup to measure out the baby oil.
Then its nothing but fun! They decided immediately that it was too crumbly so we added an eighth of a cup more oil and then it was perfect. Its soft and maleable – like moonsand but not gritty! It vacuums up easily and the kids had about as much fun cleaning up as they did playing. 🙂
Uh-oh. Christmas break is looming! What am I going to do with the kids?!?! Well, of course I’m going to send them to Grandma‘s house for a while, lol. But not the whole time. I’m going to have to bust out the recipe book.
Today we make Glow in the Dark Slime!
Glow in the Dark Craft Paint (readily available at Michael’s craft stores)
4oz Elmer’s Glue
Two bowls for mixing (we’ll be making two separate solutions and then combining them!)
First, pick a bowl for the glue mixture. We’re going to squeeze that entire 4oz bottle of Elmer’s into a bowl! This is great work for little hands: they can squeeze to their little hearts’ content! If a mom were to do this by herself she *might* take the cap off the glue all together and dump it a lot faster, but kids do like to squeeze out the glue, and if they get tired (bonus) you can take the cap off for them, too. 🙂
Then we’ll add one cup of warm water to the glue, and 2-3 tablespoons of the glow-in-the-dark paint and start mixing. We used a small whisk, but a potato masher or large spoon would work just as well! (*NOTE* The glow in the dark paint at the Michael’s by my house came in several colors, however it also came in a neutral, glows only, non-color. If you only have the non-colored glowing paint available to you, add yellow food coloring to give it a nice popping color when its in the light!)
In the next bowl we will combine 1/3 cup water and 2tsp borax. We added r two tablespoons plus one teaspoon of the borax solution to our glue mixture. However if you want a stiffer slime, add a bit more borax solution!
And voila! There we have it. Now shut your kids in the bathroom – you’ve got about thirty minutes before they get bored, go watch t.v. – something with a grown up theme! LOL
Oh Blogosphere, thank you for the constant influx of inspiration!!! Julia Crossland posted the cutest Christmas tree how-to ever! And as usual I thought to myself, “now why didn’t I think of that???” I have felt in abundance. I have bored kids. I have needles and thread. So we got busy.
My kids don’t have the fortitude to sit and do something beginning to end, especially if it takes longer than
two five minutes. This project is easy to break up into sections, and sometimes this makes it even easier to do with multiple kids. For example, my daughter wakes up early while my older son sleeps later. She cut the circles over several days before the sun came up. Once the circles were finished, I cut a length of brownish felt, ran a line of glue down the center and rolled it up. Later on I sat with my four year old son and the circles my daughter had cut and talked about the size of the circles and how to stack them to be tree-like, largest to smallest. I then, when the glue was dry, threaded the trunk onto the embroidery thread and handed the small, pointy needle to my four year old and he started threading the felt circles.
I didn’t do dots or any guiding marks, I just explained we wanted the thread to go through the middle if possible. It pleases me that our tree leans off center in places. My son is a little off center himself. Then I cut a star and stitched the edges – my daughter helped initially but its hard for little hands to stitch something so small. She asked for help and I took it over.
It may be September, but its still summer in Texas. Its so hot that after eleven in the morning the kids refuse to go outside, not even to play in the hose! So I tend to force them out the back door as soon as they’ve finished breakfast. Surprisingly this morning there was actually a coolness to the breeze and they went out happily. BUT they kept sneaking back in! I’d hear one door open, go to investigate, and while busy with that child I’d hear the other door open and shut. I’d tell the first child to stay while going to investigate the new situation, then the child I was originally questioning would scramble around and dash out the other door. Hmmm… In time all was revealed. They were on a covert supply gathering mission! While I would have handed over the scissors, paint, brushes, and tape had they asked they preferred to “be sneaky.” Every time a door opened and closed it meant my little squirrels were stashing paint brushes down the back of pants, paints in their pockets, and tucking scissors into the tops of socks. WHAT FOR? you may be wondering. Well, a couple of weeks ago we received a large delivery and I’d given them the box and packing materials to play with outside. The box has been a hide-away and a trap for dinosaurs, the strips of packing cardboard have been swords and walking sticks and roads for race cars. This morning the kids took it to the next level and turned the cardboard into walkie talkies. 🙂
They used rocks and shells and fake pearls as buttons:
Sticks stood at attention as “commuters” (aka antennae):
They were beaming ear to ear. So was I.
Had a wonderful time stitchin’ up a Pink Plushie with my leetle blue haired friend:
These dolls are totally create your own. I have body shapes to choose from, then ear shape, arm and leg shape and length. We tape together the pattern and voila:
The dolls can be time consuming, so we try to get the details of the face and body front finished, then if there’s perimeter stitchin’ left to be done when the time is up, the kids can take needle, thread and stuffing home with them. We talk about different stitching options. These dolls can also be machine stitched if hand sewing isn’t your thing.
There are lots of felt colors to choose from and a variety of crafty flotsam and jetsam floating about my table for design (decorating) options, and you are welcome to bring your own materials!
We have a good time!
Yes, it was truly Oliver’s first ever playdate. Any time we’ve had friends over to play they’re the friends of my older kids. Oliver can only do his best not to get stomped. This time, however, our company was a little lady with CP and she came just to play with him. I put a movie on for my older kids in another room and let our quieter children enjoy some personal time together. Oliver is two but at the developmental age of a 9-12 month old (it varies in the different categories) so he still isn’t playing “with” other children, but “next to” as is the m.o. of younger toddlers. But he was absolutely stimulated and excited to have another little person crawling around with him. He was intrigued to see his toys in someone else’s little hand. He noticed when she held his drum and went over to investigate. Their paths crossed as they cruised furniture and they stopped to regard one another for a moment. It was so lovely. Bless their baby hearts. My friend and I have not spent a lot of time together over the last couple of years. Having a special needs child is intense! Neither of us knew where our children were headed and we each had a variety of health concerns to deal with. It seems, tho we’re not out of the woods, that we’re in a place in our lives where we can relax and make time for these types of get togethers. Oliver is so much stronger I’m not terrified of germs and letting others touch his toys. And S. is stronger, too, not so fragile. In fact since she compensates for her lack of lower body strength with her upper body her biceps are almost as big as mine, and she’s only three! 🙂 We’re looking forward to the next time!
Last weekend we visited the Austin Museum of Art on “Family Day.” On Family Day they have reduced rates for families to enter the museum, as well as art activities and puppet shows put on by Austin Literature Live. Of course we were early and had some time to kill, so we kicked around the museum for about an hour. Have you ever talked about fine art with four and six year olds? Or tried to keep four and six year olds from touching fine art? JEEZ. My kids are so touchy feely we don’t make it to the museum much. This time we were lucky. The exhibit was about design and featured a lot of art deco furniture. We were able to really talk about the funny shaped furniture, and there were several early telephones. One phone was built directly into a desk. I pulled out my cell phone and we had a lively conversation about phones then and now! They only touched one painting and during our rounds we found these:
These are ink line and watercolor paintings. The kids thought they were “really cool,” that’s a direct quote. We also noted that these were something the kids might be able to do. So we took a picture to remind us, and after we finished making our watercolor paints from scratch we got to work.
First the kids got their crayons and “scribbled” a line design onto their paper. Then we got the paints. In the art we observed at the museum the artist outlined the “scribble” lines and used pale colors to fill in certain sections. My kids were so excited to be using the paint they had made they couldn’t be restricted by rules or guidelines, they just went where the art took them. 🙂
Our paint had gorgeous color! And while it was thicker than traditional watercolors, it certainly layered very well. Interestingly, when you use crayons and watercolors, the crayon acts as a resist. The watercolor paint pulls away from the crayon and won’t paint OVER the crayon. I knew the kids wouldn’t want to exactly do what we saw at the museum, which is why I chose crayons for them to use in their line and water color art. I didn’t want the line part of their art to be lost. Our homemade watercolors, however, painted right over the crayon. Hmmm… Veddy, veddy intaresting…
We like to have some fresh flowers around while we paint. Hazel chose these sunflowers, talk about vivid color! The fact that the flowers had been dyed didn’t escape notice, and the kids are eager to try coloring their own flowers. Can you guess what we’ll be posting about next?
Water colors are the best kind of paint for little kids because they are intended to be left to dry! There’s no worrying about losing lids or replacing the caps like with other paints, and they’re pretty easy on the stomach should your kids eat one or ten. As cool and convenient as store bought water colors are, I have been trying to help my kids understand that everything comes from somewhere, and by somewhere I do not mean the store! Making simple craft materials from scratch has been a great way of doing just that. Water colors are easy and cheap to make (in fact I didn’t have to leave my house, all of the materials were in my pantry), and with water colors you don’t have to worry about sealable containers. I used party cups just because I happened to have some party cups left over from a party. Otherwise empty ice trays, applesauce, yogurt or those plastic baby food containers would have been perfect.
Googling water color recipes will give you a variety of slightly different methods to try. I went with Martha’s (Stewart, that is) because I wanted to try a recipe with the best chance of success the first time around. But there are other recipes I am interested in trying, one in particular that calls for gelatin in place of corn syrup. We’ll make a new batch and compare at some point, but for now here are your materials:
Light Corn Syrup
Small mixing bowl
Forks (for mixing)
Scoop four tablespoons into the mixing bowl, then add two tablespoons of vinegar – get ready for the fizz! Kids love fizz. 🙂 Once the bubbles have calmed down add a half teaspoon of corn syrup and two tablespoons of corn starch. The cornstarch can be difficult to blend and is the reason I recommend using forks for mixing.
When you are finished mixing your solution it will be thick and stark white. Pour it carefully in equal amounts into small containers. Our next step is to add the color. Not all of you are brave enough to put a vial of food coloring into the hands of a three year old, and that’s ok. My food coloring bottles were almost empty which is the only reason I let my kids do the squeezing. You need between five and ten drops of each color for vivid, eye popping saturation. We mixed blue and red to make purple, but only did five containers. The more containers you divide your mixture between the more fun you can have mixing colors.
And voila! That’s it! You’re done! Well, almost. Now comes the hard part – waiting for it to dry. It literally takes twelve hours or more to dry completely, and you will have some separation as the lighter liquids will rise and settle on top, but they’ll dry eventually. We haven’t painted with ours yet, that’ll come in the next post. In the mean time, make some of your own and give it a try! I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on other ways to do this.
If you’re going to be the proprietor of a small business you need to have a theme. In the past I’ve had trouble picking out or sticking to any themes. I have too many ideas, ideas that are loud and boisterous, all clamoring for my attention. The question then becomes How to pull them all together? Lately I’ve decided to step back and take the pressure off, to have fun with my small business and to do things that make me smile, and I believe dramatic play props are my big IT! I’m going to create products that value whimsy, creativity and quality all at the same time, from hooded cloaks to hero capes to simple masks. This will keep me sewing while allowing me to explore other creative processes and mediums. So please put your hands together and help me welcome the Moustachios for the first time ever to Woo Who!
My new Etsy shop is going to be largely dedicated to props that can be used by adults and children in a variety of settings: as costumes for specific holidays such as Halloween, to props for photo shoots, to old fashioned imaginative play. Additionally I will offer class projects based on the types of things I’m producing for my Etsy, for my friends and for my own family. Its an all around win situation. I’m really super excited.
My kids are SO CREATIVE, its crazy, really. I’m constantly blown away by their resourcefulness and ingenuity. They find ways to use materials that are not only surprising, but delightful. So I decided to surprise and delight them for a change!
First I pulled from their closets two plain, solid colored t-shirts. I dug around and found some plexi glass, and a small piece of chalkboard chalk that I broke into two, because, well, four and six year olds aren’t famous for their ability to share. 🙂
We’ve all had bleach mishaps. How many shirts and pants have been relegated to the “weekend wear” because a surprise bloom of bleach spots appeared mysteriously? We’re going to be using bleach in this project, don’t want any surprises!! The plexi glass is the perfect size to slip into the shirts to keep the bleach from bleeding through. Its also a very sturdy surface and was easy for the kids to work on.
The kids literally sketched with the chalk a design onto the t-shirt. Once the kids were finished with their designs it was time for mom to take over. Beware, bleach pens smell like bleach, and while the fumes were not nearly so noxious as regular bleach, I’d still have a fan blowing or a window open if I were you. The bleach “pen” is actually a tube of gelatinous bleach and so it stays where you put it. I carefully laid a line of bleach gel on all of the chalked lines of the kids’ designs. You don’t have to lay it down super thick, but you definitely want coverage. After I was done going over the outlines on both shirts, we set them aside and went off to do “something else.” About twenty minutes later we returned and the kids were SURPRISED and DELIGHTED to see the shirt was changing colors everywhere there was bleach!!!
When they realized their designs were becoming a permanent part of their shirts their eyes really started to shine. Like I mentioned, we let it sit for about twenty minutes, but you can let it stand for more or less time depending on the color you want the design to be. For example, with the green shirt, if we’d rinsed it ten minutes earlier my daughter’s fairy would have been yellow instead of white. Darker colors take longer go bleach than lighter colors, so if you want white lines on a black shirt you may have to let it sit for a l-o-n-g time.
We took the shirts to the sink to rinse. Be careful. The gel starts to set and actually flakes off. You don’t want to submerge the shirt and work the bleach out that way, you want to hold the design under running water and slowly flake the gel off.
Our freshly rinsed t-shirts:
We hung them to dry, but you could have just as easily popped them in the dryer.
They are so proud of themselves! And my son has worn his shirt three days in a row… 🙂
Materials for this project:
*Solid Color T-Shirts
*Cardboard, chip board, or some other firm surface to put in the shirt as a work surface and to keep the bleach from bleeding through.
*Imagination, creativity, and a smile.
We’re constantly telling our kids to wash our hands, and to be aware of germs. And we tell them that germs are “bugs” that can get inside our bodies where they grow and make us sick. Its hard for kids to wrap their minds around such abstract comments, and its hard for them to respect what they can’t even see. So just what do germs look like? We decided to answer that question once and for all.
Enter stage left: the petri dish.
My young’ns are too young to be mixing the chemicals and boiling water, so even with something as benign as agar and chicken boullion, mom did the heavy lifting during this stage. The kids did watch, tho, and we discussed the changes the powder made and the changes in the water color, consistency, and smell. Once we had our petri dishes mixed they had to cool. And they have to cool covered, or else random germs floating in the air might contaminate our microbe biosphere, so it takes a while. At least 24 hours before you can return with your test subjects and decide what to test.
None of us had been feeling well, so coughing was one of the first ideas.
As we were hacking and coughing the dog became concerned about our strange behavior and decided to investigate. And so we tested the dog. He wasn’t interested in touching the petri dish himself, so after letting him sniff it we patted the top of his head to the gelatin in the dish. After that, he decided he’d had enough of the nonsense and headed back to his spot on the couch. There were three of our five petri dishes already used up. We wanted to see how well soap worked, so on the bottom of one petri dish we drew a line down the center and wrote “dirty hands” on one side of the line, and “clean hands” on the other side of the line. We flipped the dish over, took off the lid, and on the side labeled “dirty hands” we touched and tapped with our dirty fingers. Then we dashed to wash hands and returned, refreshed after our race to the sink, to tap and poke the side of the dish labeled “clean hands.” The clean/dirty hand experiment is great, too, because
young scientists are rabid to touch things. They can’t touch random petri dishes, tho, because it will contaminate the sample. This way they not only get to see whats on their hands, but they get to satisfy their tactile sensory needs as well.
And finally, for our remaining dish, the kids chose an object from the house, whatever they wanted, to test for germs. My daughter returned with a book, an excellent choice. “Do you think there will be any germs on this book?” I asked her. “Ummm… no,” was the reply.
Three days later: Germ check. We’re starting to get somewhere! Although we were fairly unimpressed with the amount of growth in three days. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but I thought we’d have something more impressive at this point. Little did I know, Impressive was on its way… Anyhoo, the clean hands/dirty hands dish showed a drastic difference in the amount of germ colonies. The kids were impressed with this. “Le Dog” was also proving to be good and dirty, nothing unexpected there. The red of the growth in his dish was alarming. It brought to my mind thoughts of poisonous plants and tree frogs… In nature the really dangerous stuff is frequently the most beautiful, and I wondered what we had growing in our dish…
The petri dish with the book swab was boring, as were the dishes we’d coughed in.
We swabbed some on each dish to see if it retarded or killed the germ growth.
We recapped the dishes and returned them to their spot in the pantry… Two days later I was walking by and happened to glance up and startled in surprise. Our germs had been busy!
Apparently the antibiotic ointment wasn’t particularly effective in retarding the growth of our germ colonies.
This photograph is of the clean hands/dirty hands. I’m showing a pic of the underside of the petri dish as well as its easier to see the difference in amount of germ growth on either side of the line.
Following are pictured the dish of “le dog,” its the one with the most aggressive growth, the book with moderate growth, and a dish of my daughter’s cough. We had very little from her cough, something else that surprised us.
Now we know what germs look like. They can grow to look like fuzz, hair, pulp, liquid, and they can be a myriad of colors. We learned that germs are everywhere, from books to beasts, and we have concrete evidence that our coughs contain germs as well. Most importantly we learned that washing hands with soap can help keep us healthy by removing germs from our hands.
In retrospect, we should have had a control dish of just antibotic ointment, a dish touched by dirty hands only, a dish where we’d touched the agar w/ dirty hands and then immediately applied antibiotic ointment, and then a dish where we’d applied the antibiotic ointment after the germs had built up colonies. But I’m not that organized, however its a great idea for future experimenting! This idea could be taken even further to compare the effectiveness of different types of antibiotic ointments… Hmmm…
My little lady LOVES crystals, and anything to do with magic and fairies. So when I asked her if she’d like to grow some crystals she became very excited and went to get her brother for support!
Two small cups
String (we used embroidery floss – about six inches)
Screws (or nails – something to weigh down the ends of the string in the water)
Something to mix with
TOWELS, for life’s unexpected happenings.
One or two willing scientists!
This experiment is great for the younger crowd because accurate measurements aren’t necessary.
Before you get started it might be fun to taste the water and the salt and talk about how the water tastes before the salt is mixed in (well it doesn’t taste salty!), what it looks like (i.e. clear, you can see through it), and maybe do a practice stir in the plain water and talk about how easy it is to move the spoon or whisk through the water at this point. You can also take a close look at the string – is it soft or hard? Does it taste like anything? Etc.
You don’t need TOO much salt – I tried to reign in my eager scientists when the salt reached about a half inch in depth.
Next, pour the water:
Again, try to stop the water from filling the cup. About half full is good.
Mix the salt and water to make a SOLUTION.
Query: What is a SOLUTION? A solution is
the process by which a gas, liquid, or solid is dispersed homogeneously in a gas, liquid, or solid without chemical change.
such a substance, as dissolved sugar or salt in solution.
a homogeneous, molecular mixture of two or more substances.
Its easier for kids to understand that the salt disappears in the water but doesn’t go away. This is a good time to revisit the earlier observations of the water and salt before they were combined and discuss what’s changed. (Ex: the water is no longer clear, but cloudy, it tastes salty, its possibly more difficult to stir, it might smell bad, etc.)
NEXT: tie each end of the string (oh, and you only need about six inches of string – I had way too much) around your chosen weight (in my case it was screws) and drop one end into each cup so they’re connected.
Now that you have two cups of salt water connected by a string bridge it’s interesting to ponder what might happen. Also known as forming the hypothesis.
Young scientists might have trouble forming a hypothesis at the beginning of an experiment, or understanding what hypothesis means. Sometimes the picture becomes more clear once everything is set up and the concept of hypothesis is easier to explain after its happened.
Some possibilities to guide your scientists to consider are, do they think the string will absorb the water? What about the salt? What does evaporation mean? Will salt evaporate or just the water? And so on. Also take a minute to sit and watch the string. Is anything happening? No? Hmmm… Maybe tomorrow, then. Find an out of the way spot to put your experiment and check back 12-24hrs later.
And here’s what you can expect to happen after about 24 hours – salt crystals are beginning to form along the string where it laps over the edge of the cup. Given enough time and water and salt, there might begin to form in the center of the string salt stalagmites and stalactites. We did not pursue those formations in this experiment. Instead we were satisfied to see the salt was carried up the string by the water and then left behind when the water evaporated. Other things to notice at this point, the string is now stiff and crunchy, not soft and bendy as in the beginning. If kids are curious as to what the crystals are, suggest they give them a little lick. It will become obvious quickly that it is indeed salt!
1 Cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
1 three ounce package of jello – flavor of your choice. *Note, the flavor you choose will be the scent of your playdough. In our case we used lemon, so the final result is lemon scented and yellow.
The young lady in the photo is almost five and is able to do most of this with only minimal assistance. We couldn’t fit our tablespoon into the cream of tartar container, so i filled the spoon for her to dump, and I poured the oil – that’s a mess you don’t want to have to clean up, ever!
Homemade playdough is also fun as they can taste test the ingredients. Don’t let them scoop a big bunch of salt into their mouths – they might throw up. More of a reaction than you’re probably looking for. Its interesting to taste jello before its turned into its more recognizable jiggly form.
If you’re doing this with a smaller someone, I suggest premeasuring ingredients so the ingredients are ready to be dumped into the big bowl. Also, be ready to help guide younger hands so the ingredients don’t get dumped before reaching the mixing bowl!
Cooking – this is a mommy job, not a kid job.
Pour into a saucepan. I prefer a teflon coated saucepan to reduce sticking.
*This scalds easily, so use a medium (not high) heat.
Stir continuously. It will gradually begin to thicken, first becoming thicker, then lumpy, then clumpy, then just one big ball!
Once the dough begins to clump don’t let it remain over the heat. Dump the hot ball of dough into something where it can sit, away from little fingers, for a minute to cool. This doesn’t take very long. When it is cool enough to touch, put some flour down and dump the dough ball out and start to knead! Do this for a couple of minutes, taking turns (mom/kid/mom/kid) to ensure the elasticity is built up properly.
If you want to alter the color, or enhance the color, add some food coloring. Glitter is a grrls best friend, so don’t hold back!
Craft stores sell a fine, brightly colored craft sand that adds nice texture, and using a contrasting color can really make the playdough fun. Pretty much the skies the limit when it comes to add-ins, just beware organic add-ins can mold!