We are a few days into our ocean study month and we are very exited to dive in further! We currently have two experiments going on and have already done a few fun ones using the Magic School Bus kit, photos below. You can find the link to buy one yourself below. So far I have been very happy with it. It’s one of the very few kits I have found that doesn’t require you to provide several materials to even begin using what little they provided. So far we have examined sand and a starfish up close, had a mini dig for shells and things, and dissolved a shell. Links to most of the things you see here are below so you can buy your own!
The first experiment we have going is dissolving shells using vinegar. We’ve done this one already using what the Magic School Bus had in it, however the kiddo thought it was pretty cool and wanted to see how long it would take bigger shells. The shell the kit provided was quite small and dissolved in a matter of hours. We currently have 3 shells in vinegar, one flat brown one and two identical ones, with the only difference being one is painted. We are testing to see which will disappear first and if a painted shell changes anything during the process. It’s currently looking like the painted shell will take longer. If you try this experiment with larger shells, I recommend changing out the vinegar at least every other day. It can take three or more days to dissolve completely.
The second experiment underway has to do with water beads. If you haven’t used water beads before and have younger children you definitely should. They are inexpensive, a ton of fun, and reusable so long as you keep them clean and don’t leave them out to long to avoid black mold growth. The ones we bought are linked below. We bought two sized, normal and jumbo. We are now waiting to see how long it takes each to dry out in different conditions and if the color of the bead makes a difference. I highly doubt the color will matter, but it’s still a fun addition to the project. I did a little research on the different ways people have used to return the beads back to the original size. It appears one of the most common ways is by using salt, and my husband suggested using rice. We have a few in salt, a few in rice, and a few in nothing. We also have some packed into a cup to see how long it takes them to dry in bulk. We have never used water beads before this, to be honest I didn’t even know they were used for play until I was talking about our ocean study to a friend who suggested them as a fun activity. 😂 They were a perfect fun addition to our summer, especially since it had been raining for days. I used our water table in the playroom to set them up with magnetic fish and put kinetic sand on the other side with shells hidden in for kiddo to dig for!
Along with our STEM activities, we have also been making ocean themed art using shark teeth, sensory/discovery rice box, and various style sensory/discovery bottles! The fact that these bottles can be made anyway you and your littles ones can imagine (there’s literally no wrong way to make them) is one of our favorite things about them, they are so simple and fast to do. We have made four bottles so far. We did two liquid ones using oil, water, glitter, food coloring, water beads and other random things like basic beads and gems. The other two were made it using rice, rocks, popcorn kernels, and random small things to “discover” when playing with them. When we were done using the rice box, we refilled it with goodies and donated to a family friend that works with autistic children. I think a very important part (probably one of the most important parts) of parenting/teaching is to tech our children to not only be kind to other, but to also do whatever they can to help others. The children now using the rice box may not have needed it exactly, but it made their day a bit happier, and that’s important as well. It also made kiddo very happy to know we were able to do that for someone with one small, simple thing. It showed the kid that you don’t always have to do huge things to be kind and helpful to others. You can check out our lava lamp bottle in more detail and see how we made our DIY lamp really light up HERE!
We have so many more fun and educational things planned this month, from arts and crafts to STEM and everything in between, it should be a pretty productive, fun filled few weeks! Keep an eye out for the results of our two mini experiments and enjoy the first themed pack below, many more to come!
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