Ten Apples Up On Top

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd, we decided to try some fun STEM activities related to his fabulous books!  This particular activity is based on his book, “Ten Apples Up On Top”.  This activity would also be fun during the fall when doing a unit on Apples.  Whenever you do it, this is easy to set up and challenging for all ages!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Decorative small apples (I got mine from Hobby Lobby)
  • Playdoh or soft clay

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Here’s the challenge:  How many apples can YOU stack on top of each other?  For the littles the challenge was 3 apples.  For my older kids, it was 6.  For the parents in my class, it was 10.

So easy to set up!  Just give your little ones a box of decorative apples and some playdoh and let them start stacking.

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We removed the stems from the apples to make stacking easier.

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We tried putting apples upside down.

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We tried putting playdoh under the apples for stability.

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My older sons were able to get 5 apples stacked on top.  They had to work together, which was a WIN for this mama!

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A parent in my tot class was so engrossed in this activity and got 7 apples stacked.

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And the best part?  When they fall over!  (Or get knocked over!)

Finish off the activity by reading Dr. Seuss’s book, “Ten Apples Up On Top”.

For more fun Apple science activities, try the following:

For more Dr. Seuss STEM, try the following:

Science Behind the Activity:

This is a simple STEM activity that encourages creative thinking and problem solving to figure out how to best stack the apples.  Upside down or right side up apples?  Playdoh on top or on the bottom or none at all?  And early math skills for the youngest tots can be enforced by counting the apples as they are stacked (or fall!)  Best of all, it encourages teamwork and working together.

To see where I got my idea from and for more details, follow the link below:

http://theeducatorsspinonit.com/2016/09/stacking-apples-game-for-kids.html

 

 

Dancing Candy Hearts

Around Valentine’s Day, my kids get lots of those candy conversation hearts.  I remember as a kid, I loved reading the messages on them.  The messages are a bit different these days (“Text me”?)  Save a few of those hearts to do this quick 5 minute science experiment.  Use up some candy, do a little science, watch a little dance.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Candy Conversation Hearts
  • Tall clear glass (we used a tall glass and a test tube)
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Measuring spoon

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Add 1 cup of water to a clear tall glass or tall test tube.  You can color yours purple or red for Valentine’s Day but that is totally optional.

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Add in 2 teaspoons of baking soda and mix well.

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Add a few candy hearts to the glass.

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We used one of each color.img_0620Watch the hearts sink to the bottom of the glass.
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Add about 1/4 cup of vinegar to the glass slowly (or else it will will overflow!)

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Watch the candy hearts dance… or in our case, only the pink and orange hearts danced.  The rest stayed happily at the bottom of the glass.img_0627

It really looked so cool watching the hearts float up and then sink down.

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We will definitely be trying this again by testing the different colored hearts separately, testing different brands and testing different fizzy liquids to see if any of those change how the hearts behave.

For more Valentine’s Science Activities, try these:

For more floating and sinking activities, try these:

The Science Behind the Activity:

This is a great experiment demonstrating sinking and floating.  The hearts are denser than the liquid so they initially sink when you put them in.  When the vinegar is added, the reaction creates carbon dioxide gas.  As the carbon dioxide gas bubbles attach to the surface of the hearts, they decrease the density of the hearts and the hearts float to the top.  At the surface of the liquid, the gas bubbles pop and the hearts sink back down.  The process keeps repeating until there isn’t enough carbon dioxide left to raise the hearts.

To see where I got the idea from and more details, follow the link below:

http://inspirationlaboratories.com/valentine-candy-science-dancing-hearts/

 

Valentine’s Heart Crystals

We’ve made crystals using Borax so many times and it never fails to work.  This time we decided to make them for Valentine’s Day.  These are a great gift to make for friends and family and especially teachers!  They are so pretty and super easy too!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Borax (Found in the laundry detergent aisle)
  • Hot water (Obviously an adult will be needed to do this part)
  • pyrex measuring cup (one that can withstand hot water)
  • measuring spoons
  • pipecleaners
  • string
  • wide mouth glass jar
  • stick or pencil (we used craft sticks)

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Give each superhero a pipecleaner (we used red, pink and white for Valentine’s day) and have them shape it into a heart.

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Tie a string to the pipe cleaner and then attach to a pencil or craft stick so that the stick can rest on the top of the jar.

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Be sure the string is the right length so that the pipe cleaner shape can be fully immersed in the jar’s liquid and will not touch the bottom. (We just rolled our string on the craft stick until we got the right height.  As the crystals form, there will be a layer of crystals at the bottom of the jar and you do not want your candy cane to get stuck to it or else it will break when you try to remove it from the jar.

Add 3 tablespoons of Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle) to the jar.

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Measure 1 cup of hot water.  Add to the jar with borax (An adult should do this part)

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Stir until the borax dissolves completely. Each one of our jars held 1 cup of water.

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Place the heart into the jar with the hot borax mixture so that the craft stick rests on top.  Make sure the pipe cleaner shapes do not touch the sides of the jar or the bottom of the jar. Once the crystals form, they will be hard, stiff and brittle.

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Within a few hours we saw the crystals forming but the next morning the superheroes saw their sparkly hearts!

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Take them out carefully from the jars and let them dry.

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The crystals are strong and heavy.  What a pretty gift to make!

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*Note of Caution: Borax is toxic if ingested and can irritate eyes.  If you have young children or pets who might ingest a broken particle, you might want to think twice about making these.

For more Valentine’s Science Activities, try:

The Science behind the Activity:

When dissolving the borax in hot water, you are creating a supersaturated solution which means you are using heat to get more borax to dissolve than you would with water at room temperature.  As the water cools, the borax “falls out of solution” and solidifies (recrystallizes) on the pipecleaner and on the bottom of the jar.

To clean the crystals off the bottom of the jar, just add more hot water and redissolve the borax and then you can pour it out easily.

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Read my original post on Borax Crystals and to see where I got my idea from.  Also, try making Candy Cane Crystals during the holidays for a perfectly sparkly tree ornament!

Hopping Corn and Cranberries

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I’ve got a fun quickie experiment to do with your cranberries and some popcorn kernels.  If you’ve tried my Dancing Raisins experiment, then this will be familiar.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Dried Cranberries
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Soda water, Ginger Ale, Sprite, Club Soda, sparkling water or whatever clear bubbly (kid-friendly!) you have at home
  • clear jars or cups

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I asked the tots to touch the dried cranberries and the popcorn kernels and describe how each felt.

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For younger tots, I prompted them with simple questions such as:

  • Is it soft or hard?
  • Is it smooth or bumpy?
  • Is it sticky or slimy?

Fill one cup with water and one cup with soda (we used diet Ginger Ale because that’s what we have at home), but any clear bubbly soda should work fine.

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We also compared the difference between the soda and the water.  They immediately noted the difference in color and the presence of bubbles in the soda.

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Next, I asked them what they thought would happen if the cranberries were added to the water? They all thought they would sink to the bottom.  After making their predictions, they added the cranberries to test their theories.

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Yes, the cranberries sunk to the bottom.

I then asked them what they thought would happen if the cranberries were put in the soda.  They again thought that they would sink.

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So they did sink… at first.  But then they “hopped” to the surface… and then dropped again… and rose again.

We repeated the same steps with the popcorn kernels.  When we added the popcorn kernels to the water, they sank as well.

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Then we added them to the Ginger Ale.  And discovered that the popcorn kernels did the same thing!

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It was mesmerizing to watch them “hop” up and down.

We will definitely be trying this again with several other sodas and sparkling water!  You can also make a bubbly solution with vinegar and baking soda as well.

Another extension/variation of this experiment is to try out different items, other than cranberries that might behave in a similar way, such as raisins, dried macaroni, etc…  Search your pantry.  The options are endless.  Happy Hopping!

Also, try my Dancing Raisins experiment for a different twist to a similar activity!

The Science behind the Activity:

This is a great experiment demonstrating sinking and floating.  Cranberries are denser than the liquid so they initially sink when you put them in.  As the carbon dioxide gas bubbles attach to the surface of the cranberries, they decrease the density of the cranberry and the cranberry floats to the top (dances and shimmies its way to the top!) At the surface of the liquid, the gas bubbles pop and the cranberry sinks back down.  The process keeps repeating until there isn’t enough carbon dioxide left to raise the cranberries.  The same holds true for the popcorn kernels.

 

Inflating Spooky Ghost!

You have to try this super easy experiment that will WOW! your littlest ones.  Using my favorite 2 ingredients and a balloon, this one is great for Halloween parties or just for fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Funnel
  • Empty water bottle
  • White balloon
  • Black sharpie

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Inflate the balloon slightly and draw a ghost face with the sharpie

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Let the air out.  Place the funnel into the opening of the balloon and add about 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda into the balloon.

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Place the balloon aside and add some vinegar to the empty water bottle

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Place the balloon over the mouth of the water bottle taking care that none of the baking soda (the secret) drops into the vinegar below…yet.

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Now, the fun begins!  Turn the balloon upside down so it dumps the baking soda into the bottle and watch!

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The kiddos LOVED it!!!  Such an easy and simple little experiment to set up!

To see my other “fizzing” experiments (perfect for any holiday), click on any of the following links:

Science behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  Since the gas is trapped by the balloon, the balloon inflates and reveals the ghost!

 

 

 

 

Monster Mud!

With Halloween around the corner, I decided we needed something besides Pumpkins to spook up our science class.  So we finally made Ghost Mud, except ours turned out to be more like Monster Mud!  Either way, it was goopy fun with the most surprising of materials

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Bar of white soap (we used Ivory soap since we used it in our Soap Souffle experiment)
  • Roll of toilet paper (yup, you read that right!)
  • Water
  • Bin or tray to play with
  • Googly-eyes (optional but super fun!)
  • Old Cheese grater

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First, grate the bar of soap.  I did this for the little tots in my class because I did not want any little fingers getting sliced!)

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While the adult grates the soap, your little one can shred the toilet paper.  This is a great fine motor activity.  (Just don’t blame me if they start shredding the toilet paper in your bathroom!) We used about 1/2 roll.img_8892

Add some water to the soap and mix with your hands.  For a bar of soap, I used about 3/4 cup of water.

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Now comes the fun part!  Add the soapy mixture to the shredded toilet paper.  Mix it up!  I promise it will turn into a fun mold-able “mud”.  Adjust the consistency by adding more paper or water.

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Some tots liked smooshing and squishing it.  Others wouldn’t go near it!  For the littlest ones, this sort of sensory messy play is vital, BUT, it takes a lot of exposure for some tots to get used to it.  Don’t worry.  Just keep exposing them without forcing them.  They will come around when they see how fun it is!

We also added lots of monster eyes to make them look like ghosts but I think they turned out more “monster-like” so I’m calling it Monster Mud.

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Such an easy activity to set up with some surprising materials!  And because you’re playing with soap, you just have to rinse with water at the end!  Easy clean up!

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To see my other Halloween science experiments and activities, click on any of the following links:

Extension:

A great way to do TWO science experiments in one, is to try my Soap Souffle experiment first and then use the same soap to make Monster Mud! It will save you the step of grating the soap and you get learn even more science!  Win-Win!!

Science behind the Activity:

While not a science experiment in the strictest sense, mixing substances together to get a new substance is definitely a great “cause-and-effect” science activity.  There is great fine motor skill development with shredding toilet paper.  And of course, this activity encourages sensory and messy play, which is an important part of exploration and investigation at this young age.

Here’s where I got my spooky, muddy idea from: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/09/ghost-mud-play-recipe.html

 

 

 

 

Fizzing Jupiter

For those of you who follow my activities, you know how much I love my baking soda and vinegar experiments.  To be fair, the tots and my littlest superhero LOVE baking soda and vinegar so it’s not ALL about me 🙂

This one is a simple and easy addition to your space theme.  I call them Jupiters (even though my color mixing wasn’t as successful as Jupiter) but you could make them any planet or leave them white for the moon.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Tray for drying the rocks
  • Vinegar
  • Black or purple food coloring (optional – but colors make everything more fun!!)

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To make the planet:

Combine 2 cups of baking soda and 1/2 cup of water (add the desired color to the water) in a large bowl.  To make the the Jupiters, I split this into two bowls, one with red (looked orange) and one with yellow.

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Then I mixed both together to get an orange-yellow swirly Jupiter look.  Kind of.

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Using your hands, take a handful and roll into a ball.  If it’s too dry, it won’t stay together, if it’s too watery, it will melt into a sloppy puddle.  Add water or more baking soda to adjust the consistency.  

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Let them dry overnight.  I placed mine in a plastic container and put them in the freezer to harden. 

The next morning, the planets were hard.    Note: this recipe will yield about 10 balls.

To explore:

I gave each little one a “Jupiter” and a cup with vinegar that had black food coloring and some silver glitter (“Starry Space Juice” is what I called it!).

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The tots definitely know what to do with the dropper and the vinegar.  Space juice was added to the planets for some fizzy fun!

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Such an easy and simple little experiment to set up!

To see my other “fizzing” experiments (perfect for any holiday), click on any of the following links:

Science behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  The fizzing and bubbles are just way too much fun for the kiddos!

Here’s where I got my fizzy idea from: http://fun-a-day.com/fun-science-space-theme-fizzing-planets/