Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Of peat moss and oil.

And salt and water.

Today was water play day, apparently.

Seeking to contain it somewhat, I remembered some Steph's water experiments from a (long) while back.

First we did the hot water/cold water experiment which was 'awesome' for them when the two colors combined and made purple, and so cool for me when we switched hot to the top and the colors wouldn't mix. At their age, the girls were not so impressed. "So the colors stay separate. That's not exciting, they were already separate. It's only awesome when they join together and make purple."

Then we did salt volcanoes. Water and oil and salt make magic. And mini lava lamps.

Very, very cool. Had to do that one many times. The water gets saturated with salt pretty fast when you have three kids playing.

Then they played with the food dye. "Look, we made roots!"

They made brown water. Which Ainsley had to study.

That magnifying glass is an extension of her hand.

Because we were on a roll, we moved on to our experiment package from The Young Scientists Club.

My father got us this once-a-month subscription as a Christmas present this year. Best. Present. Ever. (Except for that little tool set he made for Hannah when she was three years old that had real tools and wood. That girl didn't go anywhere without her hammer and screwdriver for months.) He asked me what I wanted, saying that he'd prefer it to be an 'educational' gift. I'd been looking into this program for awhile because it reminded me of one that he was subscribed to when *I* was a kid. We used to get these packages in the mail and they'd have the best experiments in them - I still think of them every time I see a manila envelope. Those experiments (if I remember right) were aimed towards teenagers (I only ever got to watch them being done - that's what happens when you're #8) and these are aimed towards younger kids, though I think a bit older than my girls.

Last week we got our first kit. As the first kit, it included a little magnifying glass, ruler, notepad, and even ... a sand dollar. Random. But very welcome.

This first kit was filled with recycling experiments.

First we expanded peat moss pellets in water. This was surprisingly (or not, when you think about it) exciting for the girls, to watch these solid, thin circles become large, squishy, dirt-filled nets.

To one of these we added carrot peels and to the other we added a small piece of plastic bag. Actually, a piece of one of the plastic bags that the peat moss came in. Hannah has predicted that at the end of the week, when we check on them, the carrot peels will still be there and the plastic bag will be decomposing. This should be interesting.

Next we made paper. From paper. The irony of this was not lost on my five-year-old. "Why are we making new brown paper from a brown paper bag? Why not just write on the bag?"

Quit thinking and do the experiment.

The pulp was fun to play in. We had to use the next batch for paper.

So after blending and shaping ...

we had two 'new' sheets of paper drying.

Included in the package were four pieces of brand new colored paper that they said you could use to make new colored paper. That did not go unnoticed by my daughter either. "I thought they were teaching us how *not* to waste." Bear in mind, this is the girl that drives her daddy crazy because she doesn't want him to throw anything away. "I might be able to use it for an art project."

It didn't escape my attention either that included in this 'recycle/take care of the earth' package there were no less than four plastic envelopes.

They recommended using the new paper that you made as labels on recycling boxes. Problem is, we don't buy pop (so no aluminum or plastic there), we save our large yogurt containers for potting veggie starts in the spring, we save most other plastic buckets (like ice cream buckets) to organize stuff in the craft room or the shed... We buy very little prepackaged food, so all of that wrapping is nonexistent. Any paper goes to the fireplace. Any organic matter goes to the compost pile. We're still looking for something to recycle.

Now I'm going to sift through the links on the company's 'Kit 1' page and see if there are any other cool experiments to do.

It was a fun experiment package, but I expect the next ones to be much more exciting. And we have a sand dollar.


Stephanie said...

Awesome! What a fun morning you've had!! :)

Hey - can I link to these on olm2? List them in the science fair links?
They're perfect!

Sarah said...

Steph, you sure can, if you'd like. The first two are just basic repeats of yours, so it doesn't feel too exciting. ;)

Hey, we're planning on coming down for 'First Monday' at the museum there in March. Depends how I'm feeling. We had to cancel it this month because I'm ill again. If you want to meet up ... I'd love that.

Stephanie said...

We'd love to!
Maybe we can take show you our Big City Library, too. :)

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

I should try some of these with the kids! I bet they'd love it, thanks!

Stephanie said...

ps - isn't that hilarious that they were impressed and surprised by the purple, and not the weight of the water when it was the other way? :) lol. love that.

Joy said...

Fun stuff! I really want to try the lava lamp one.

moominmamma said...

These are great, and great photos of course too!

I'm surprised you don't have stuff to recycle. We recycle a fair bit. What about the plastic jug the oil comes in? Do you never buy tins of tomatoes? Dish soap in plastic bottles? We've made a huge effort to reduce the amount of packaging we buy but we still struggle with these sorts of things.

Chris said...

I just ran across your blog and have enjoyed reading many of your posts. I have three and a half year old twins, a boy and girl, and we are unschoolers, too.

Thank you for sharing so many cool resources. I will definitely be checking back here more often.

Sarah said...

Miranda, I did sound very nose-in-the-air, didn't I? Oops.

The dish soap container wasn't an issue when we used the powder, because we could burn the box, but now my husband uses the gel, so we do have those.

The oil containers get scrubbed and used as homes for fairies or My Littlest Pet Shop animals. We use the big bottles, so we don't go through them fast and they're the perfect size for homes once you cut doors and windows in them.

Paying more attention to things, I've noticed some other stuff we could recycle (packaging for My Littlest Pet Shop animals comes to mind).

And the tins - we do use those and don't have a local place to get them recycled. My sister saves hers up and takes them to Boise - maybe I should do that also.