Magnetic Basket of Eggs

I’ve been wanting to incorporate magnets into my rotation of activities but wasn’t quite sure how to do it.  Then I stumbled upon this idea with plastic easter eggs and I tested it with my littlest one and he LOVED it!  The tots in the class enjoyed it as well and so now, it’s time to share it with everyone!  And it’s a great use for all those plastic eggs you have leftover after the egg hunts!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Plastic Eggs (I used 8/child in my class)
  • Magnetic wands (I got mine from Lakeshore Learning, a local school supply store) OR a strong magnet from your fridge
  • Magnetic objects that fit in the eggs (I used: nuts and washers, paperclips, magnetic chips and metal jingle bells)
  • Non-magnetic objects that fit in the eggs (I used: uncooked macaroni, rocks, pennies and beads)
  • Easter basket
  • Ice cube tray or muffin tin for sorting objectsIMG_5667

To set up:

I placed a few objects in each egg so that they made a fun noise when shaken.  To keep myself organized, I placed all the pennies in pink eggs, all the pasta in the yellow eggs and so on to ensure all the students had eggs with all the different objects in them.

Add the eggs to a small Easter basket.  Provide a magnetic wand and a sorting tray, either an ice cube tray or muffin tin works great! (If you don’t have a fancy magnetic wand like mine, grab a strong magnet from the fridge!  I know you have those letter magnets on your fridge!)

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To play/investigate:

I just left the basket of eggs with the wand and the tray and allowed the tots to investigate on their own.  All sorts of amazing investigations happened when they were left to make up their own “rules”.

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Some opened the eggs up right away and dumped it all out.IMG_5532

Others shook the eggs and put them back in the basket.

Some mixed the eggs in the basket with the wand like a soup.

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Once the tots realized some eggs “stuck” to the wand, the others got curious and started “sticking” eggs to their wands.IMG_5566

As the contents of the eggs were emptied out, the objects started to “stick” to the wand too!  Wow!

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Some objects did not stick to the wand, no matter how much they tried.

Some sorted by “sticky” objects.IMG_5553

Others sorted by the type of object.

IMG_5565Other didn’t sort at all but counted instead!

SO MANY different ways to play and experiment and lots of learning going on with no directions from adults!

My littlest one spent many hours testing out different ways to play before I set this up for my class.  That’s how I knew to be prepared for everything to get all mixed up at the end.

NOTE: If setting up for a class, I recommend pre-filling ALL the eggs and placing in a separate bag for each child.  I also provided 2 dump bins: one for empty eggs and one for the contents.

Science Behind the Activity:

There is so much learning to be had in this activity!  Just the discovery that the eggs are magnetic (“sticky”) is huge!  By shaking the eggs, they can make predictions about what is inside.  By sorting, they can discover which items are magnetic and which are not.  For older kids, they might notice that the “sticky” items are all metal items.  Sorting and counting are fantastic for young kids to order and organize their thoughts and discoveries.

Here’s where I got my magnetic idea from: http://www.modernpreschool.com/2015/03/magnet-science-with-plastic-eggs.html

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Peeps Sailboats

How many Peeps did your kids (or maybe, you?) inhale over Easter?  Don’t eat them all!  Set up a little water science activity with some of the Peeps! Your dentist will thank me for this!  Just some simple supplies from around the house is all you need to keep your littles one sugar-free, occupied and sticky.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Peeps
  • Bin of water
  • Scissors
  • Different materials for sails (We used: felt, foam, construction paper and cardstock)
  • Toothpicks
  • Tape

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Cut out triangle shaped sails out of the different materials.  My older superheroes were able to do this on their own, but for the tots in my class, I cut them ahead of time.

Attach a sail to the toothpick with the tape.

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Place the sail into a Peep and repeat with the different materials. IMG_1315 We ended up with 4 Peeps sailboats, each with a different type of sail.IMG_1317

Now it’s time to test the different sails by placing them in the water.  We used small bins, but it would be fun to do in a water table or a small plastic wading pool.

They started blowing on the sails to see how they move

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Some tipped over, others moved quickly, and one barely moved.

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They raced with each other.

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Eventually, they started playing with them and ended up all sticky!IMG_1327

We also noticed that the combination of blue and yellow Peeps in the water turned it green!

The science behind the activity:

There is plenty of room for experimentation with this activity

  • Which of the materials make the best sails?
  • Which spot is the best place to insert the sail?  Do some spots make the boat tip over easier than others?
  • How does the wind affect the movement of the boat?
  • Why do the Peeps float?
  • Might different shapes of sails affect the movement of the boat?
  • Try different types of Peeps (Bunnies vs. Chicks)  How do the different shapes of the Peeps affect their movement and the placement of the sails?

In a larger container of water, races are fun and a discussion of which boats floated the farthest or fastest involves plenty of critical thinking.

For more details and to see where I got my Peep-y idea from, please visit:  http://www.kidsplaybox.com/science-for-kids-easter-science-with-peeps-boats/

Check out my other science activity using Peeps: Dissolving Peeps Experiment

Dissolving Peeps Experiment

What to do with all those Peeps your kids got form the Easter Bunny?  My oldest superhero came up with this fantastic idea on his own!  He wanted to know what liquids a Peep would dissolve in.  You can set this experiment up in just a few minutes with a few common items from your fridge and pantry and of course, ALL those Peeps!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Peeps (we used 5 to test 5 different liquids)
  • 5 common household liquids (we used: water, apple juice, milk, vinegar and ginger ale)
  • 5 glasses
  • Observation sheet (optional)

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We set up the experiment by filling each glass with a different liquid.  My oldest superhero wrote labels for each of the glasses.

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I had the superheroes make a prediction of what they thought would happen when the Peep was placed into each of the different liquids.

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They placed the Peeps into the liquids and we left them overnight.  (The Peep in the milk was placed in the fridge)

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After 2 days, this is what we observed:

IMG_1398The Peep in the water looked a bit bloated.  The water turned blue from the clue colored sugar on the Peep.  The bottom of the Peep turned white where it was submerged in the water.  It did not dissolve in the water.

The Peep in the milk looked much like the one in the water.  The milk took on a slight yellow color from the sugar.  The Peep did not dissolve in the milk.

The Peep in the apple juice also did not dissolve.  The apple juice turned to a brownish green color form the sugar on the Peep.  It also began to grow mold as you can see from the photo I took looking up from the bottom of the jar.

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Looking from the bottom of the jar with apple juice

The Peep in the vinegar bubbled a bit and was pretty bloated and also colored the water yellow.  Even the vinegar could not dissolve the Peep.

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Lastly, we checked the Peep in the ginger ale soda.  It was also bloated with a bit of bubbling.  It also turned the liquid a funky brownish green color but what was interesting was the dark brown line where the Peep began to grow mold.

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Here’s a view of the mold that grew on the bottom of the Peep.  But even soda could not dissolve this Peep.

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Moral of the activity: Peeps are indestructible.  Kind of makes you wonder why we bother to eat them?

Science Behind the Activity:

This experiment was fantastic for a number of reasons.  First my eldest superhero came up with the idea on his own and selected the liquids he wanted to test.  Second, the boys made predictions and recorded them on his observation sheet which is great to get their awesome brain juices bubbling in there!  Lastly, the boys observed the changes over time (requires patience on their part).  This is a great example of using the scientific method without specifically teaching the scientific method.  And as a bonus, we got a chance to discuss several interesting phenomena:

  • Why some liquids grew mold and others didn’t
  • Why the liquids changed colors
  • What might have happened if we had left the milk at room temperature?
  • What other liquids we can try next time?
  • What connection the inability to dissolve a Peep might have to do with how unhealthy it is to eat.

Extension:

This could also be done with a variety of different substances or just plain marshmallows.  Upon doing some research on the internet, it appears that liquid laundry detergent might be an interesting liquid to try.

Here’s where I got my idea from: http://www.momto2poshlildivas.com/2012/03/dissolving-peeps-experiment.html

Check out my other science activity using Peeps: Peeps Sailboats

Fizzing Easter Eggs

The tiny tots in my class LOVE baking soda and vinegar experiments and I’ve posted several different variations of them.  Here’s my latest version, just in time for Easter.  So grab an extra pack of eggs at the dollar store and set up this fun experiment in a few minutes!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda (Bunny Powder!)
  • Vinegar (Bunny Juice!)
  • Food coloring (I love my liquid watercolors)
  • Plastic Easter eggs (I have amassed a large collection over the years)
  • Muffin Pan or styrofoam egg carton (cardboard will leak and make a mess)
  • Glitter (because sparkles are FUN)
  • Droppers (I use the ones I get from the pharmacy with my kids’ medications)
  • Cups for the vinegarIMG_1244

To set up:

I placed a dozen halves of plastic easter eggs in my muffin tin.  (You can also use a styrofoam egg container but don’t use the cardboard ones.  Once the vinegar gets added, you will have a leaky mess)I placed about 1/2 tsp of baking soda into each egg and sprinkled some glitter on top.  You could also add some foam bunnies or beads or anything else for some extra fun!

Pour vinegar (Bunny Juice) into small cups.  I used 6 different colors to create a rainbow.  Kids love choosing different colors.

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To play: 

I placed a muffin tin with the eggs in front of each of the tiny tots in my class.  The colored vinegar was ready for them to play with droppers.  The tots already know what to do with the droppers at this point 🙂

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They added their favorite colors to the eggs and watched them bubble and fizz!  So easy!  So fun!  So colorful!

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That’s IT!  See, you can do this at home too!  And the little ones love it!  Adapt it for any seasonal occasion as I did with my Fizzing Leprechaun Pots for St. Patrick’s Day, Fizzing Christmas Trees or as Pumpkin Volcanoes for Halloween.

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 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://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/fizzy-eggs-easter-baking-soda-science-experiment/