I love doing science experiments with my son. One reason is that they help children become better readers. Also, they provide learning that is hands-on and uses the three senses of sight, hearing, and touch (sometimes smelling and tasting as well). They are the best way children can apply what they are learning.
In the past, I have used science experiments to teach my son lessons in hygiene such as the importance of washing his hands. The activity I will show you today is a great complement to that experiment. It is called the Tooth Decay Experiment. This could be your child’s next science fair project (for older kids).
The Tooth Decay Experiment will show your children the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day. Furthermore, it demonstrates what happens to your teeth when you drink certain beverages such as orange juice, tea, and water.
We have fun with all our experiments; even those that don’t work. It gives us opportunities to investigate and solve problems. I tell my son this is what scientist do!
The Tooth Decay Experiment has made my son a “Flossing and Teeth Brushing Advocate!” After you do this activity, it will probably have the same impact on your child. I will show you how to do it.
Let’s Get Started!
Warning: This post contains a lot of pictures.
5 cups (we used paper cups)
5 individual labels that read: Orange Juice, Soda, Water, Tea, and Vinegar
1 cup of orange juice (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of dark soda (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of water (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of tea (enough to submerge an egg)
1 cup of vinegar (enough to submerge an egg)
Plastic Gloves to protect hands
Goggles to protect hands
Make 5 individual labels that read: Orange Juice, Soda, Water, Tea, and Vinegar
It is about a boy named Merlin, aka Big Monty, who loves astronomy and wants to be accepted by a kid named A’Lo Jenkins. Big Monty discovered that the lunch lady in his school, Mrs. Findlehorner, created a monster out of leftover lasagna. This story takes the reader on a journey where Big Monty and his younger sister, Josephine, figure out how to stop Mrs. Findlehorner.
A wonderful feature in this book is it has scientific experiments and activities that kids can do at home. One activity that caught my son’s attention was the Archeologist activity. Archaeologists are scientists who study history by digging up old artifacts and other physical remains. This activity will keep your child busy and exercise their problem solving skills.
I will show you how to do it below.
Let’s Get Started
A few toys such as blocks and hard plastic toys
Little dinosaurs or Legos are good choices
Take a few toys and put them in a bowl
Cover the toys in the bowl with water
Put the bowl in the freezer until they become a block of ice
Tell your child that they will be an archeologist.
Tell them that archaeologist are scientists who study history by digging up old artifacts and physical remains.
Your child’s job is to dig out the fossils, which would be the toys frozen in water.
Remind them to dig out the fossils or toys very carefully without breaking them.
Give your child a spoon, toothpicks, and salt and tell them to get the fossils/toys out of the ice.
THE SALT IS A CHEAT BECAUSE IT WILL HELP THE ICE MELT FASTER.
You may immediately tell your child about the salt or let them figure it out for themselves.
Overall being an archaeologist was fun for my son. There are some changes I would make the next time we do this activity. They are listed below…
About three weeks ago, my family and I went to Orlando, Florida for a fun vacation! We went to Disney Land and Sea World. The tickets included musical shows you can enjoy with your family. One show that was “epic,” in my son’s opinion, was Finding Nemo.
Below is what we saw before the show started.
We wanted to ensure we sat near the front, so we got to the theatre early. My family had to wait about 45 minutes before the show started. I usually keep activities in my backpack in case we have to wait for long periods of time. These activities include crayons, paper, Boogie board, playing cards, coloring books, and activity books. However, I took these items out of my backpack while walking around Disney Land. It was too much for me to carry all day.
I needed to think of games to play without my activity book, paper, and crayons. I wanted to make the time go faster while waiting for the show to start. Therefore, my son and I played four waiting games. We enjoyed playing the games and I wanted to share them with you.
Let’s Get Started
Rock Paper Scissors
You are most likely familiar with this game. The best thing about Rock, Paper, Scissors is all you need is your hands. You need two players for this game. We play this game in a tournament style. Below are the directions and how we played.
Each player uses their hand to represent the three items in the game: Rock, Paper, and Scissors.
The hand signals are as follows…
Rock = Balled Fist
Scissors = holding your pointer and middle finger to the side (similar to making the peace sign with your hands)
Paper = holding all five of your fingers out flat
Each player will say Rock! Paper! Scissors!” and then do one of the three hand signals towards their opponent.
The winner of a round is determined by three simple rules:
Rock wins against scissors.
Scissors wins against paper.
Paper wins against rock.
In our game, the first person to win 10 rounds won the game.
We played this way twice.
My son won one game and I was the victor in the other.
Try this game while you are waiting!
The time will go by faster.
Seek the Alphabet
My son and I love to play Alphabet Hunt Games at home. However, since we were at the Finding Nemo show, we played the Alphabet Seeking Game in the theatre. Below is how we played…
The object of this game to is find letters A-Z in the room where you are located.
The letters could be anywhere in the room like on clothing, books, pictures, magazines etc.
We found letters on our clothing, in the musical’s program, and on the theater’s backdrop
If you can’t find a letter in the room, you may either…
Say a word that starts with a particular letter
Find an object in the room that starts with a particular letter
We could not find the letter X, so my son said “x-ray” and moved on to Y.
Keep finding letters until you reach Z
There is no winner in the game.
The game participants are working together to find all the letters in the alphabet.
In this game, you are identifying words in a certain category in alphabetical order. This game will make you think.
Choose the categories you want to use in the game.
Ideas for categories are…
We chose food as our category.
Take turns saying words in alphabetical order until you get to Z.
The first person may say “A is for Apple
The second player may state ” B is for Banana.”
If a person gets stumped on a letter, the other players can assist them.
Once you have completed one category, choose another one.
This is a great listening game for players. It will help players practice their active listening skills. This game can be played with two or more people.
One player will pick an item in the room.
The same player will give clues to the other person(s) about the item in the room.
The other players’ job is to guess the item based on the clues given.
Once an item has been guessed, then another player will pick an item and give clues to others.
This is how we make waiting for long periods of time fun! It is a great alternative to having kids on a smart phone or tablet.
My family exposed me to money at an early age. As a four-year-old, my older brother Linsey, introduced me to counting money. Linsey is eleven years my senior, so he was my mentor along with being my sibling.
After learning how to write in cursive, my mother gave me the task of filling out checks to pay our household utility bills. After completing the task, my mom would sign the check.
This taught me valuable lessons. As a nine-year-old, I was familiar with how much my family paid for water, electricity, telephone, and cable services. As a result, I was conscious of turning off lights when I left a room and how much water I used when taking a bath. Once I started paying bills on my own, it was second nature to pay them in a timely manner.
This book is available on Amazon. Click the image above to access it.
During the summers of my middle and high school years, Linsey and his wife, Michelle, invited me to stay with them for two to three weeks. During these times, they exposed me to money topics such as the stock market, interest rates, and credit through games and role plays. They also owned and operated a business and it was my job to assist and learn what it took to be an entrepreneur.
Passing It On
When my son, Cory, was fifteen months, he saw a quarter on the table and tossed it in the air. He was amazed at the sound it made once it hit the floor. He seemed interested in the quarter and I decided it was time to show him a piggy bank.
My purpose was to let him touch, feel, and play with coins. Because Cory was fifteen months at this time, I stayed close to him. I did not want him to put the money in his mouth. He carefully took pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters out of the plastic bag and put them in the piggy bank. He was pleased with the clanging sound made as the coins hit the bottom of the piggy bank.
Cory and I have explored various financial literacy topics since his first encounter with the quarter as a fifteen month old. These topics range from money recognition and saving to real estate investing and business. He has been exposed to this topic through games and playful activities. For example, we discussed real estate investing by using Play-Doh, paper, and pencil.
We have also discussed the purpose of car insurance by using his toy cars. My son and I spend a lot of time in the car going to the grocery store, playdates, church, library, etc. Cory was curious about what happens if I hit a car. This led to a discussion about car accidents, police officers, and car insurance while we had a treat at Dunkin Donuts. We went home and defined terms such as liability and collision insurance by playing and crashing toy cars.
Watch the video below to learn how to teach children the financial literacy words, Assets, Liabilities, and Transactions by simply playing Monopoly.
Below are questions many parents have about teaching kids financial literacy…
How do you teach kids about finances?
Exposing children to lessons in finance does not have to be dry and boring. In fact, as adults we deal with money almost on a daily basis. You can include your child in some of those real world experiences, like my parents did, by having them pay for their own item at the store or helping you pay bills.
Another idea is to use your child’s toys to explain financial concepts similar to how we used toy cars to explain car insurance.
With over 30 years of combined experience in teaching financial literacy, Linsey and I have written a book called, Teach Your Child About Money Through Play.There are over 110 games/activities, tips, and resources on how to teach kids financial literacy at an early age. The activities include materials and toys that you already have in your home. They also include fun field trips that create a hands-on approach and a supplement to your child’s learning.
It will help you take the guessing game out of how to expose kids to money topics and concepts.
What is taught in financial literacy?
In the book, Teach Your Child About Money Through Play, we address money topics such as the history of money, various ways people earn it, and how it is used. You will learn fun ways to teach your child about budgeting, basic banking, the difference between liabilities and assets, and debt.
We also teach you how to use items in your home, such as toys and clothing, to introduce your child to real estate investing, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Learn to use household items to create fun scenarios and role plays so your child will have an understanding of these subjects.
If you have a child who has a lot of ideas or has a desire to earn money, starting a business may be appealing to them. You will receive a step-by-step guide on how your child can be an entrepreneur. Even if your child is not interested in business, it is great to expose them to this subject to encourage them to act on their ideas.
How did you decide on these financial literacy topics?
It was important for Linsey and I to teach children the history of money, how it is used, how to earn it, and making it grow. The purpose of this book is for children to have a basic understanding of money since they will manage it in their future. We included games and activities so you will know how to present the information in a relaxed and fun manner.
These financial literacy topics were based on Linsey’s and my teaching experience. I have experience in creating curricula and hiring over 25 teachers to expose kids to real estate investing, the stock market, budgeting, saving, etc. In previous jobs, I helped kids start businesses where they made money.
Linsey is the financial expert in our family and has 27 years experience in financial services and teaching kids about money. He and my parents were my first teachers on financial topics. Linsey is a former bank manager, stock broker, tax strategist, health insurance specialist, licensed in life property and casualty insurance, investor, and recipient of the US Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year.
This why I asked him to co-write the book with me. I trust his judgement especially when it comes to financial topics. He approved the topics and content in the book.
Why is financial literacy important for youth?
Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said when you are an adult your report card is your credit score. This statement is very true. This is one reason why teaching kids financial literacy is so important. Once a child becomes an adult, handling money becomes inevitable.
It is best to make this process easier for children by exposing them to money topics while they are young. Teach Your Child About Money Through Play shows parents and teachers how to accomplish this with resources they use daily.
Let’s get our children a financial head start and strive to reduce the number one stress in our society today, money.
The Book’s Mission
Linsey and I have made it our mission to expose children to money topics in a fun way. With over 30 years of combined experience in teaching youth financial literacy, we give you a first-hand view of how to make money a conversation that is fun, natural, and interesting!
This is a great tool for parents and educators of children ages 4-10!
This book provides the following and so much more…
How to use real-world experiences to expose kids to financial literacy
Fun activities to introduce toddlers and preschoolers to money recognition.
How money is used in our society now and in the past.
Various ways that people earn money
Important lessons in budgeting money
The basics of banking
The difference between a liability and asset
Various types of debt and how it is used
How people invest in Real Estate
How people invest in the stock market, bonds, and mutual funds
Starting and operating a business
Kid Business Ideas
The purpose of having insurance
Here is What Others are Saying About the Book
I love that this book gives children an understanding of money and finances. Not only does it delve into ideas that make money, but it teaches the facts of money; its purpose, how to use money as a tool to grow in all areas of our lives and other vehicles that help accumulate financial growth.
Each night before bedtime, my son and I say a prayer. In every prayer we are thanking God for our many blessings such as a home, food, toys, water etc. As a parent, I try to instill in my son gratitude, appreciation, and gratefulness for his many blessings.
I do remind him that there are people in this world who don’t have homes, toys, and clean water. The first time I explained this to him, he was in disbelief. This led to discussions about people who are homeless and suffer from poverty.
One day he was drinking water after being outside playing. He thanked the Lord for ‘good clean water.’ I told him it is great to be thankful because there are some people who don’t have clean water. We talked about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan after their water source was changed. This change contaminated the water, which led to elevated blood lead levels in the city’s children. It also caused hair loss, itchy skin, and skin rashes.
Let’s Put on the Thinking Cap
Whenever my son, Cory, hears about a problem, he thinks and asks questions about solutions. After doing research, we learned that Earth is covered with 70 percent water. Almost all of Earth’s water is salty in the oceans and we can’t drink it. Only about three percent of the water is drinkable fresh water. Most of this drinkable water is frozen in the Arctic and in Antarctica. Therefore, only about 1 percent of the world’s water is available to drink.
Possible Solution, Maybe
Cory wanted to explore how we could turn saltwater into freshwater to drink. He thought this will provide clean water to Flint, Michigan.
We talked about the three properties of water, which are liquid, solid, and gas. We learned how a liquid turns into a gas and solid. Afterwards, Cory asked we could turn gas into liquid. We started doing some research and found the Saltwater to Freshwater Experiment.
This experiment answered his questions about turning gas to water and finding a POSSIBLE SOLUTION to provide freshwater to those who don’t have it.
I will show you how we did this in our kitchen.
Let’s Get Started
A glass bowl
Put water in a glass
Pour salt in the glass of water
Mix the water and salt
Pour the water in a pot
Put a glass bowl in the middle of the pot
Boil the water and put the lid upside down on the pot
Observe what happens
You will see water dripping in the glass bowl
Turn your stove off and wait until the pot cools
Take the glass out of the pot and let the water cool
Watch the video below to see how condensation makes water.
One day my son was playing with dice from a Monopoly game and play foam numbers. All of a sudden I hear him say, “Mommy, I made up a game!”
When I hear the word “GAME,” I get excited. I think games are the best way to learn because they incorporate the three basic learning styles: Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic learning.
I sat on the floor with him and he gave me directions for the game. After playing the game with him, I realized it would be perfect to help kids with number recognition. Since we had a great time playing the game, I would like to share it with you.
In our household, we have something called “Creative Time.” This is when my son chooses an activity or a game he and I can play. This is my time to follow his lead in whatever creative project he wants to do.
This time, he pulled out his bowling game and said, “Let’s play!”
While playing the game we incorporated addition so my son could practice his math skills. If your child is not doing addition yet, use this game to practice counting and number recognition. Like all games we play, we had a blast!
I have always admired people, young and old, who can play the game of Chess. Throughout my life, I have heard the many benefits of playing this strategic game. Also, people who play Chess seem intelligent to me.
Honestly, I have tried three times to learn chess and failed. It was the time and energy it took to learn the name of the pieces and how they moved. I would read or watch online videos about the game and eventually become bored.
The idea of tackling Chess again came from my mother. One of her gifts for my son’s third Christmas was a Chess game. It was the same cycle again.
I read the book that came with the game she gave my son and I got bored. Additionally, I thought my son was too young to learn the game. However, in the back of my mind, I knew Chess would be a game that he would like because it challenges the brain.
My Bright Idea
My decision was to wait until he got a little older to introduce him to the game.
My future plan was to take him to some type of community program that would teach him how to play Chess. Then, maybe I would learn through him. This was a win-win situation!
It wasn’t until one night while skimming Facebook, I saw an advertisement for Story Time Chess.After seeing the advertisement’s picture of young kids playing chess with their parents, I wanted to learn more. On the website, I saw these words, “A revolutionary new game that lets you teach your child how to play chess as young as the age of 3!”
It is revolutionary because it teaches kids to play through fun stories with colorful diverse characters instead of rules. Each piece has a story about how it moves. Each piece holds a character’s picture from their story which allows children to visually connect it to the chess board and understand how to play.
Another helpful aspect of Story Time Chessis each story is concluded with a mini game that reinforces how the pieces move.
We love it! My four-year-old son and I learned how to play chess within a week and a half of opening the game! He was highly motivated to learn because of the engaging stories and pieces in the game. We currently play almost daily. Sometimes, he wins and other times I am the victor.
Watch the two videos below of my son and I playing chess. The first video is footage of us playing a game. The second one shows my son winning against me in the game of Chess.
Below I will answer frequently asked questions parents have about Chess. It will be through the lens of our experience.
What age can a child learn chess?
The programs that I have researched in my local area start teaching kids chess at the age of seven. However, I have seen kids learn chess as young as five-years-old. My son learned how to play through Story Time Chess as a four-year-old. However, if I’d known about this game earlier, our starting age would have been three.
If your kids love fun engaging stories with colorful characters, they can learn at an early age.
What is the easiest way to play chess?
Of course you know the easiest way for us to play chess was to learn through Story Time Chess. We learned how the pieces moved in this order: king, pawns, knights, rooks, bishops, and queen. There were mini games at the end of each story that gave us a hands-on perspective on how each piece moved.
The best way to learn is be consistent with playing. It is important to learn the basic steps first and then take it a step further by learning various strategies.
We play daily which helps to hone our skills and learn new strategies.
What Chess teaches?
Chess teaches children so many important skills. I will concentrate on three skills below.
Chess teaches kids problem solving skills. During our games, my son spends time concentrating on how to keep his king safe while capturing mine. I can see him thinking about and planning his next move.
It also increases your child’s creatively. There is one piece my son loves to use when capturing my king. When I take that piece away from him, he has to be creative and think outside the box to win the game.
Chess has improved my son’s memory and observation skills. I use a particular strategy to win games against him. One day, I noticed he began to remember my first three moves while playing. He told me what the moves were and asked why I always did that. Then he developed some strategy to counter my moves. Amazing!
This book gives children the history of soap, how it is made and why it works. We learned that before soap was invented, people used urine, incense smoke, clay, sand pumice, and ashes to clean themselves.
The pictures in this book are colorful and appealing to children. It will make your children laugh, say “ewwww”, and become more curious. The authors have included hands-on activities and tips that will further your child’s understanding of soap and its purpose.
One experiment we did involved ingredients you have in your home such as oil, water, and dishwashing liquid. It teaches kids why soap is a better cleaner than water by itself. My son learned that water and oil don’t mix, so washing with water only leaves most of the dirt behind.
I will show you the experiment and other discoveries we made.
Let’s Get Started!
Put cooking oil and water in a jar.
Screw on the lid and shake
The oil and water should separate into layers
Add drops of dishwashing liquid to the jar and shake again
This time it should make a cloudy mixture
Oil and water are no longer separate layers
Compare two jars.
One jar should have oil and water.
The second jar should have a mixture of oil, water, and dishwashing liquid.
Why this Experiment Works and How Germs are Washed Away
Most dirt contains oil.
Oil and water do not mix so washing with water only leaves most dirt behind.
Soap binds to water, dirt, and oil.
The tail of soap molecules attach to oil.
The head of soap sticks to water.
When soapy water mixes with dirt, the soap molecules form tiny clusters called micelles.
When you wash your hands with soap, dirt mixed with oil from your skin is pulled inside the micelles, then rinsed away.
In the experiment, the soap molecules grabbed the oil and water making a cloudy mixture in the jar.
Today I challenged my son to find something creative to do while I cooked dinner. He spent some time blowing up a balloon then watched it fly through the air after releasing it. He played with his cash register and a DIY water gun we made earlier that day.
Next he saw the book, Draw Alphabeasts by Steve Harpster laying on the table. He decided to view it while he ate a snack. This book teaches you step-by-step how to make over 130 monsters, aliens, and robots from letters and numbers.
I checked this book out from the library about a year ago. We enjoyed drawing the characters so much, that I purchased it from Amazon.
This month is October and I thought his book choice was great because Halloween is soon approaching.
My son, Cory, skimmed the book and decided to draw a monster named Zeep starting with the number 4. After drawing, he showed me his picture and I was very impressed.
Cory then asked if I was almost done with cooking. My reply to him was “yes.” He wanted to pick a character for me draw. He chose a character named Freddy Bones, who resembles a skeleton and robot simultaneously. Again, it was the perfect picture for Halloween.
Below is a picture of our drawings, along with the step-by-step instructions we followed from the book. This book is perfect for beginning artists and for those who just want to be creative.
Try these out. There are characters drawn from numbers 1-20 and the alphabet in this book. Buy this book if you want to draw more characters! I highly recommend it!