Sunday, January 31, 2016

Little Scientists!

A while ago, I bought a really fun book called 150 Screen Activities for Kids by Asia Citro which is full of lots of different crafts and activities to do with kids. It's been a regular in our home since.

So when I came upon Asia Citro’s latest book: The Curious Kid’s Science Book I couldn’t wait to try it out at home with my kiddos. As a homeschooling family, we really enjoy doing projects and science experiments and I knew this would give us some fun new ideas.

It didn’t disappoint. Just like her other book, it was beautifully colorful and exciting to flick through with lots of fun yet educational activities. There are several categories in the book that seem to cover everything science-related. Such as:

  • Plants and Seeds
  • Water and Ice
  • Mold, Bacteria, and Fungus
  • Engineering
  • Food and Candy
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar
  • Environmental Science
  • Living Things
We got stuck into our copy right away. Willow and Ryder were most excited about the baking soda and vinegar section, which is what I figured – they love things that react and fizz etc, and so they chose the experiment on page 157 - exploring what happens to ingredients when you mix them with others (i.e. cornstarch, cabbage juice, baking soda, sugar, vinegar etc). It was so simpleto follow  and quick to set up using everyday ingredients suggested in the book. And it was a big hit! It was awesome seeing their reactions when they added the ingredients, especially the vinegar!
I have to say, another great thing about this book is the many suggestions it contains for further discussion after each project. Instead of an experiment ending when you have the result, Asia suggests inquiries and questions to ask your kids to engage their minds further and delve deeper. For us, this often led to more experimenting as they wanted to try ‘this out’ or ‘that out’ too to see what might happen. So much learning going on!

My son wanted to do the Design a Ramp to Make Cars Roll Farther project on page 111. And this page was in the Engineering category. I knew this one would intrigue him because he has been obsessed with anything car related since birth!
We used a piece of wood, several of Ryder’s little matchbox cars and propped one end of the wood up on some books. We tried a few different heights to determine how the speed of the cars would be altered as they ‘drove’ down the ramp. To find the answer we marked the spot where the car landed or stopped and then we measured the distance by cars! We also tried wrapping several of the cars up in tape to see if weight helped at all with the speed.
A third one we recently tried was on page 114 which was to build a boat that would hold the most weight. I filled a container full of water and had the kids make little boats out of foil. Then we chose some ‘weights’ to fill our boats with. Such as pony beads and pennies etc. We tried the suggestions given in the extension which were to try different sizes of foil and different weights/positions to see how this affected the outcome. It was so interesting to them! 

Normally they lose attention much sooner but this kept them going for so long! 

On Page 137 there is a simple but fun challenge. How to Make an Egg Float Using Ingredients. Assuming you're using a fresh egg, if you place it in water it will sink. So the kids experimented with different food items (such as coconut, flour, salt, sugar) to see if they could get it to float. And I think there was a silent competition going on between them!  
 Afterward I had my kindergartner draw a picture of the experiments and my 4th grader write in her science journal to record all our findings. It's so easy to make this book work for all different ages and be able to do the experiments together.

We seriously can’t wait to do more!

Go and grab yourself a copy of this book. Whether you’re a homeschooling family or not, you will be glad you did. It would make a great gift idea also. You could add a pair of safety goggles and a couple ingredients along with this book in a basket, maybe tie a ribbon. So cute!

Thank you Asia for letting me try a copy of your fantastic book. You really do so good! It has been a great addition to our book shelf. Not that it stays on it!

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