Invisible Ink Writing/Drawing Activity

One day, I was looking at the book, Crafty Science by Jane Bull. It has a bunch of STEAM projects for children to create at home. I showed my son the Invisible Ink activity and he said “Let’s do that mommy.” We looked around the house and gathered the materials.

I thought this would be a great drawing and writing activity for my son. He ended up writing numbers. This is a great project to expose your child to literacy and science. If your child is learning how to read, write words that will challenge them to use phonics or sight words. The science in this project is explained at the end of this post.

Let’s Get Started!

Invisible Ink

Materials:

  • Lemon
  • Bowl
  • Paintbrush or Cotton Swabs
  • Paper
  • Iron (for adult use only)
Materials for Invisible Ink Activity.

Method:

Squeeze a lemon into a bowl

Write your secret message on the paper in lemon juice using a paintbrush or cotton swab.

Draw quickly in order to check your work before it dries. It does not have to be as dark as the picture below. My son insisted on going over the numbers numerous times so he could see it.

To get the message, an adult should iron the paper with a hot iron until the message comes through

Warning:

  • This activity may stain your iron with brown spots. This happened to me. I was able to get my iron squeaky clean by following the video below.

Why this activity Works:

  • This works because lemon juice is an acid.
  • When it is put on the paper, the acid destroys some of the paper surface.
  • When you heat it up with the iron, the areas with the message turn brown first.
  • Milk also works with this activity because it is slightly acidic.

Have fun with this simple activity!

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Car Wash Fun for Kids – The Ultimate Learning Activity

My son loves to play, build, and race his toy cars. One day, I asked him if he wanted to have a car wash after seeing this activity on the Internet. I remember looking at this activity and thinking this would be a great idea for a kid who likes cars.

I had several reasons for suggesting the car wash. First, this activity was a fun way to encourage my son to practice his penmanship. The weekend we did the activity, it was raining. I was trying to find something hands-on to do in the house; although, a car wash is really fun when doing it outside on a sunny day. Furthermore, I wanted to incorporate three things that interest my son which are cars, counting, and getting messy.

Our Car Wash incorporated fun and so many aspects of hands-on learning. I thought I would share this activity with you so your kids can have as much fun as my son.

Let’s Get Started

Materials:

  • Big sheet of poster board or white craft paper
  • Toy Cars
  • Markers
  • Painters Tape
  • Towels (3)
  • Wash Cloth
  • Cash Register or Play Money (You may also make your own play money)
  • Two Rectangular Plastic Containers
  • Water
  • Dish Detergent
Some of the materials for the Car Wash

Preparation:

  • Have your child decide the Car Wash Prices.
  • If your child can write, have them write the car wash prices on the poster board or white craft paper.
  • My son decided to give each color car a different price.
  • If your child can’t write, you may create the Car Wash Price Sign for them.
  • You may have your child draw the various colored cars on the sign.
  • I created a template on construction paper to assist my son in organizing the Car Wash prices on the white craft paper.
My son writing the Car Wash Prices using the template I created on pink construction paper.
Continuing to write the prices
Car Wash Price Sign is complete.
  • Tape the Car Wash Prices to a wall where it is visible for customers.
Car Wash Prices taped to the wall.
  • Get the toy cars, cash register, wash cloth, and towels
  • Lay the towels on the floor if you are doing this in your home.
  • If you are outside, then you can skip this step.
  • Fill one rectangular plastic container with dish detergent and water halfway.
  • This is where you will wash the cars
  • Fill the other rectangular plastic container with water.
  • This is where you will rinse the cars.

Now the Car Wash can Begin!

  • Have your child role play the Car Wash owner.
  • You or your child’s siblings and/or friends can play the customers.
  • As a customer, get some play money so you can pay to get your car washed.
  • I started off with $30.00 divided into (10) one dollar bills, (2) five dollar bills, (1) ten dollar bill
My son giving me money to start the Car Wash Activity.
  • Have your child say the following:
  • “Welcome to the Car Wash, how may I help you?
  • You will respond by saying the following…
  • Yes, I would like to have my yellow cars washed please.”
  • Then your child will look at the poster they made to see how much it costs to wash the yellow cars.
  • On our poster, it costs $2.00 to wash the yellow cars.
  • I had three yellow cars, so I gave him $6.00 with (1) five dollar bill and (1) one dollar bill
Exchanging money during the Car Wash Activity
  • Sometimes I gave him more money than the cost of washing the car so he could practice his subtraction skills and give me change.
  • After giving my son the money, he took the cars and washed them.
  • He washed them in the soapy water container and then put them in the container with water to rinse.
  • Next he put them on the towel to dry.
My son washing the cars.
My son rinsing the cars.
  • We kept repeating these steps until all the cars were washed.
  • Another time we did this activity, I was the Car Wash Owner.
  • We have also done this activity where my son was the Cash Wash Owner for the red cars but I was the Cash Wash Owner for the blue cars.
  • In other words, we were alternating roles.
  • Tailor this activity to your child’s ability by doing the following…
    • Have your child wash only one car at a time so they don’t have to do any subtraction or addition.
    • Only give your child one dollar bills so they can practice counting by ones.
    • Make all the car wash prices the same to make things easier.

Subjects Learned in this Activity

Color Recognition

  • Sort the cars by colors.
  • Make different prices for each color car.
  • You may also have a car wash with one color car like the red cars.

Math

  • Adding the costs to wash multiple cars.
  • Subtracting when the customer gives the Car Wash Owner too much money and change is needed.
  • Multiplying the cost when multiple cars with the same price are needed to be washed

Science

  • We had some cars that would float in the water and some that would not
  • We discussed that cars with less density than the water will float.
  • Cars with more density than the water will sink.
  • We reviewed the word buoyancy, which is the ability to float in water.
  • You may discuss the science of soapy water and how it cleans the cars.
    • Soap attaches to dirt and grease and causes it to be pulled off the toy cars and suspended in the water

Writing

  • My son was able to practice his handwriting skills in creating the Car Wash Price Sign.

Customer Service

  • Teach your child the importance of being nice and respectful to their customer.
  • Also ensure your child knows to clean the cars well so the customer is happy.
  • If the customer is happy then they will bring more customers.

Entrepreneurship

  • Explain to your child that Entrepreneurs own businesses and their purpose is to solve problems or make things better.
  • A great business has happy customers who will tell others about their service or product.
  • Take your child to a real Car Wash and show them it is a Real Business.

Have fun with this activity and make this your own!

Happy Learning!

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Celery Experiment – How Plants Get Water

Spring is here and many kids are helping their parents and teachers grow plants and flowers. One of the most important jobs in growing plants is to water them regularly. My son helps my husband water the garden. As a result, by July, we have vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans.

This Celery Experiment is great way to show kids how plants get water from their roots up to the leaves. At the end of the post, I will explain why this experiment works.

Let’s Get Started!

Materials:

  • Glass Jar or Drinking Glass
  • Celery
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Knife
Materials for Celery Experiment

Method:

  • Gather the materials
  • Cut about one inch off the bottom of the celery stalk.
Here I cut about one inch off the bottom of the celery.
  • Fill the drinking glass halfway with water.
  • Put a few drops of food coloring into the drinking glass.
Putting drops of food coloring into glass


My son chose to put red and blue food coloring in the glass.
Mixing the food coloring together
  • Place the celery stalk in the colored water and let it sit over night.
We put the celery in the glass
  • Rip open the celery to see how the color travels throughout the stalk
Food coloring on the celery’s rib.
  • You should see that the food coloring has traveled to the leaves.
The food color traveled to the celery’s leaves

Why it works:

  • When you water a plant, the roots absorb the water from the soil.
  • The tiny tubes in the celery or plant stem, called xylem, draw the water up from the roots like a straw.
  • This process is called Capillary Action.
  • Capillary Action happens when water climbs up the tiny tubes.
  • The water droplets stick to the walls of the tubes and go upward.
  • The water sticks to itself and pulls more water as it climbs up.
  • Capillary Action lets water climb up to the various parts of a plant through the xylem tubes in the stem.

Have fun with this experiment!

Happy Learning!

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Make Writing Fun for Kids with Household Ingredients

Writing letters and numbers is a skill that many parents and teachers ensure their children possess. My son wrote his first letter, A, at 21 months. He revealed it to me through abstract artwork that left me in shock.

This made me realize that the artwork he created previously such as finger painting art and scribbling, set a precedent for his writing skills.

Now he is four-years-old and his writing has improved tremendously. However, I like to find ways to make writing appealing and fun for him. One way to do this is through making our household, when possible, our writing canvas. This means writing in the tub with bath time crayons or writing on our screen door with window markers.

Today I will show you how we used household ingredients to write and create art. The project is called Pan Frescoes. Frescoes is painting with watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling.

In this project, we make our wet plaster with cornstarch and water! Instead of painting on a wall or ceiling, we will do it in a pan. You may also choose to do this outside on concrete. Just remember to rinse it with a water hose when done.

Let’s Get Started!

Materials:

Method:

  • Mix together the cornstarch and water with your hands in the tray.
2 Cups of Cornstarch
  • The mixture will resemble glue or slime.
  • Give your child time to play with the mixture.
Playing with the mixture.
  • After your child has played with the mixture, have them flattened it out in the tray.
  • Let the mixture sit for 5 or 10 minutes before you begin painting on it.
  • While the mixture is sitting, get the plate and food coloring.
  • Have your child put drops of food coloring on a plate or in individual cups.
My son putting food coloring drops on a plate.
  • Use the paintbrushes to write letters and numbers or to create art.
  • Watch the video below of my son creating art.

Let’s have more fun! Here is the science behind why this works.

  • The cornstarch and water mixture acts more like a solid than a liquid.
  • The food coloring, which is a water-based pigment, is absorbed into the cornstarch mixture.
  • The food coloring doesn’t travel far since the cornstarch mixture is so thick.
  • This is why you can do artwork on the mixture.

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Magic Kitchen Balloon Science Experiment

Did you know that science experiments can make children better readers? The book, The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick, which is about early childhood learning supports this fact.

In this book she talks about an experiment where some kindergartners in a school district received extensive instructions in reading while the others spent the same amount of time learning science.

The kids that learned science melted ice, observed thermometers in hot and cold places, played with magnets, grew plants and learned about animal life. Books and pictures were available for these children but no formal lessons in reading were held.

The school district learned that by the third grade the “science” children were far ahead of the “reading” children in their reading score. The reason is their vocabulary and thinking skills were much more advanced. They could read on more topics and understand higher levels of material. The playful, hands-on activities the “science” children did taught them analytical and problem solving skills and how to make connections in what they were learning.

This is why I think EXPOSING KIDS TO NEW WORDS AND READING THROUGH PLAY IS A GREAT CONCEPT.

So let’s talk about our exciting science experiment!

Today we will…

Blow Up A Balloon Without Blowing At All!

To incorporate literacy in this experiment, help your children read the Materials, Method, and Why it Works headings in this post. As kids are reading these sections, have them do the action. Children can use the pictures to help them read the words. If your children can read independently allow them to do so.

How to incorporate literacy in this experiment…

  1. Read the Materials and Method sections.
  2. Re-read the Materials section as you get the supplies.
  3. Re-read the Method section as you do the steps.

Let’s get started!

Materials:

  • Vinegar
  • Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Balloon
  • Empty Water Bottle
  • 1 Funnel
  • Spoon
  • Safety goggles (we didn’t have safety goggles so we used sunglasses)

Method:

  • Put on your safety goggles (or sunglasses).
  • Pour some vinegar into the water bottle
    • Vinegar should fill 25% of the water bottle.
  • Pour baking soda into the balloon.
    • Stretch the balloon over the funnel’s neck.
    • Take the teaspoon of baking soda and put it in the funnel.
    • Ensure the baking soda reaches the inside of the balloon.
Balloon stretched over the funnel’s neck.
My son is looking for the teaspoon to measure the baking soda.

The baking soda is in the funnel. It goes down the funnel into the balloon.

  • Stretch the balloon over the water bottle’s neck.
It is hard to see but there is vinegar in the water bottle. The balloon has baking soda in it.
  • Pick up the balloon and empty out the baking soda into the water bottle.
    • AFTER THE BAKING SODA GOES INTO BOTTLE, PLEASE BACK UP IN CASE THE BALLOON POPS.
    • The balloon popped when we did the experiment for the first time.
    • Safety goggles will protect your eyes in case the balloon pops.
  • Stand back and watch the balloon BLOW UP!

Below is a video of my son and I doing the experiment!

Why it works?

  • As the baking soda mixes with the vinegar, it creates bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that escapes into the balloon.
  • This makes the balloon blow up by itself.
  • If the mixture creates a lot of gas, then the balloon will get so big until it pops!

Have fun experimenting!

Resources:

Easy Art Fun Do-It-Yourself Crafts for Beginning Readers by Jill Frankel Hauser

Crafty Science by Jane Bull


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4 Simple & Fun Kitchen Science Experiments for Young Kids

Science is such a great subject because it allows you to mix substances and create  simple and fun experiments.

My son and I did four experiments using ingredients from the kitchen. We enjoyed the process of gathering tools, reading instructions, mixing substances, and observing the outcome.

Join us in doing the experiments below!

Want More Tips? Get 3 Tools Every Household Needs to Boost Children’s Academic Skills

Let’s Get Started!

Milk Rainbow

Ingredients:

  • Sturdy Paper Plate
  • Milk
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
  • Cotton Swab

Method:

  1. Pour enough milk onto the plate to cover the surface.
  2. Drop food coloring into the center of the milk.
  3. Dip a cotton swab into dish soap and then touch the tip into the center of the food coloring.
  4. Watch what happens.
  5. You should see the colors move when the cotton swap touch the milk.

Why it Works?

  • The dish soap does not mix with the milk.
  • Instead, the dish soap floats on top and spreads.
  • As the dish soap spreads, it grabs the food coloring.
  • Soap attacks grease so its molecules go for the fat in the milk.
  • This causes movement and the colors to swirl around.
The yellow food coloring spreads in the milk and soap mixture.
The green food coloring is spreading in the milk and soap mixture.


The green circle is getting bigger.

 

Bubble Worms:

Ingredients:

  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • Scissors
  • An old sock
  • An aluminum / plastic container
  • Spoon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dish soap

Method:

  1. Use scissors to cut the bottom off the water bottle.
  2. Place the elastic part of the sock over the bottom of the water bottle.
  3. Mix the water and dish soap in a container with a spoon.
  4. Dip the sock end of the bottle into the soapy mixture.
  5. Blow on the mouth of the bottle to create a long bubble worm.
    • Adults and older child should blow on the mouth.
    • I let my son blow ONCE just to experience it.
    • Sometimes small children will inhale on the mouth of the bottle instead of blowing out.
    • Let young children grab the bubbles at the bottom as you are blowing the mouth of the bottle.

Why it Works?

  • Water and soap are the basic ingredients for bubbles.
  • Bubbles are formed because of the air in them.
  • The surface of the sock on the water bottle has tiny holes.
  • Each of the holes are acting as individual bubble blowers.
  • Each hole is taking a bit of air in a layer of soap.
  • This combines to create the Bubble Worm.
Bubbles Galore!
My son had so much fun with this experiment!

 

Corn Starch Slime:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Corn Starch
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • Bowl
  • Washable paint or food coloring (I prefer paint because it washes off easily).

Method:

  1. Dump corn starch in a bowl.
  2. Add water to the bowl
  3. Keep adding corn starch or water until it reaches the consistency you like.
  4. Add washable paint to mixture to make it colorful.

Why it Works?

  •  The grains of the cornstarch are NOT dissolved in the water.
  • The cornstarch grains are suspended and spread out in the water.
  • The cornstarch grains can hold its position in water when pressure is applied.
Creating the Cornstarch slime mixture!
Fun with Slime!

 

Sparkle Explosion:

Ingredients:

  • Vase or Cup
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food Coloring
  • Glitter
  • Pan

Method:

  1. Place 2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda in the bottom of the vase or cup.
  2. Put the vase or cup in the pan.
  3. Add 6-7 drops of food coloring and 1-2 teaspoons of glitter
  4. Pour in the 1/2 cup of vinegar.
  5. Watch for the sparkles.

Why it Works?

  • Baking Soda is a base and Vinegar is an acid.
  • When Baking Soda and Vinegar mix, the hydrogen ions in the vinegar react with the sodium and bicarbonate ions in the baking soda.
  • This mix is the result of two new substances called carbonic acid and sodium acetate.
  • There is a second reaction called decomposition reaction.
  • Decomposition reaction is when carbonic acid is formed.
  • The carbonic acid is decompose into water and carbon dioxide gas which causes the bubbling action.
Mixing the Vinegar and Baking!
Colorful Explosion!

Happy Experimenting!

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4 Fun & Simple Activities/Games That will Teach Kids about Germs

germs activities

As adults, we most likely want  to prevent children from getting sick. It disturbs their playtime and they often look helpless lying in bed during an illness. One way to keep kids healthy is to teach them how to prevent germs.

I have provided 4 FUN and SIMPLE activities that will complete this mission! These activities will have your child wanting to help with chores and pinpoint the importance of good hygiene.

Learn How to Teach Kids to Cover their Mouths in a Fun Way

Let’s get started by answering basic questions about germs/microbes.

How are germs spread by hands?

 When you cough or sneeze, this is the lungs’ way of doing their job to force bad germs/microbes out. Some people cough in their hands if they don’t have a tissue.  Coughing in your hands leads to germs being left there. When you touch anything such as a doorknob, pen, sink, utensils, or someone else’s hand, you will spread germs.

How can you prevent germs from spreading?

 There are good and bad germs. You want to keep good germs and get rid of bad germs. Good germs can help make vitamins that your body needs. Foods that increase good bacteria or germs are asparagus, beans, spinach, and bananas.

One way to prevent bad germs from spreading is to cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow. Furthermore, if you don’t cover up at all while sneezing and coughing, the germs can go really far. Some germs can travel 100 miles (160km) per hour and spread over 100,000 more.

Another way to prevent germs is to wash your hands frequently with soap. Soap helps to remove dirt and microbes. Hand washing should occur before eating, after using the bathroom, when playtime is complete, after using public transportation, or visiting public places.

How can kids prevent germs?

 Germs can enter the body through the mouth, nose, breaks in the skin, eyes and genitals (privates). Below are 5 ways to prevent germs…

  1. Using tissues to wipe and blow your nose.
  2. Staying home from school when you are sick.
  3. Keep hands out of mouth.
  4. Do not use other’s forks, spoons, or drink from the same cup. 
  5. Teach kids to wash their hands.

 

How do you teach a child to wash their hands?

Have kids do the following steps to wash their hands…

  1. Wet their hands with warm or cold water.
  2. Use soap to lather their hands while singing “Happy Birthday” twice.
  3. Scrub between fingers, on the backs of hands, and under nails.
  4. Rinse well and dry with a clean towel.

 Tip: Create a colorful chart with the steps above and display in all bathrooms.

Here’s a Great Book that Teaches Kids about Germs

Have you ever asked a child to wash their hands and they asked “Why?” The story, Do not lick this book* by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost, provides a fun and engaging way to answer this question.

How this Book makes Learning about Germs Fun!

This book is about an oval shaped microbe character named Min, who teaches children about germs, by going on an adventure. Min begins her journey ON the book and involves readers by asking them to take her various places.

For example, the book says “Let’s take Min on an adventure! See the circle on the next page? That’s where Min lives. Touch the circle with your finger to pick her up. Min is now on your finger!”

Taking your Child on a Germ Journey

During Min’s travels, she meets friends and takes them along the way. Somehow Min and Rae end up on the reader’s shirt! At each stop, the authors show children a microscopic view of their destination. Additionally, commentary from other microbes explain how they function. While Min and Rae on are the reader’s shirt, one microbe says “Can you give me a hand spreading this dirt around?” Another microbe says “We’re making this shirt smell.”

While Min and friends are on the reader’s belly button, one microbe asks, “Did I tell you about the time soap got all the way in here? Another microbe replies “I don’t like scary stories!” This book teaches children the importance of brushing their teeth, washing clothes, and taking a bath in a humorous manner.

At the end, the authors show readers what microbes really look like and where they can be found.

Let’s apply it with 4 FUN Activities!

 Use the activities below to….

  1. Teach your Child about germs.
  2. Encourage them to help with chores.
  3. Promote Hygiene and Self-Care.

 

I do these activities with my son and he loves it!

Create the Germ/Microbe

  1. Have your child draw a germ/microbe.
  2. Tell the child to give the microbe a name.
  3. Have your child draw the microbe a friend and name it.
  4. Tell your child the microbe is going to travel to three places…
    • Their clothes
    • On their teeth
    • On their hands
  5. Tell your child you are going to get rid of the germs by doing the next three activities.

Laundry

  1. Explain to children that microbes get on our clothes and make them dirty and stinky.
  2. While doing laundry have your child help you put the clothes in the dryer and washing machine.
  3. While your child is handling the clothes say the following…
    • “Let’s get the Microbes off the clothes by putting them in washing machine.
  4. Make it fun and urgent by saying the following…
    • “Oh no! The microbes are multiplying let’s put them in the washing machine quickly!
    • Make it into a race against the Microbes.

Brushing Teeth

  1. Explain to children that microbes get on our teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities.
  2. Explain that cavities are holes in your teeth.
  3. The microbes also cause your breathe to stink.
  4. These microbes love sugars like candy.
  5. In order to get them off, they must floss and brush their teeth.
  6. While your child is brushing their teeth say the following..
    • “Hurry Hurry, the microbes are running because they know we are about to brush your teeth!
    • Let’s brush your teeth to remove them now!”
    • I hear the microbes saying, “No, No don’t brush your teeth! We don’t like the smell of toothpaste!”
  7. When your child is rinsing their mouth and spitting, say the following…
    • “The microbes are down the drain and they are yelling “No, No!”

Washing Hands

  1. Explain to children that microbes get on our hands as we touch various things like the doorknob and sink.
  2. We often touch our noses, mouths, and eyes allowing microbes to come into our bodies and make us sick.
  3. We need to wash our hands to decrease our chances of getting sick.
  4. While your child is washing their hands, laugh and say the following…
    • “We are going to get those microbes by washing our hands with soap!”
    • “The microbes are scared of soap so let’s keep scrubbing!”
  5. When your child is rinsing their hands, say the following…
    • “The microbes are down the drain and they are yelling “No, No!”
    • “Yes! We conquered the microbes!”

When I forget to do these activities, my son usually asks me to play the Microbe Games!

Get creative with your children on how to remove microbes!

Happy Cleaning!

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