Monday, April 30, 2012

365 Days: Big...Bigger...BOOM!

For this gas-tastic experiment you need: baking soda, white vinegar, warm water, ziplock bags, paper towel, stapler. We added purple food coloring to make it pretty!

There are exact measurements in Crazy Concoctions, which I just reviewed. I already turned in the book, so we tried it by memory this morning. I forgot to add warm water, but it still worked. We'll try exact measurements sometime to see the difference.

The first time we tried this, it didn't work because the paper towel was too thick and preventing a major reaction. I solved the problem by using 1/4 sheet of paper towel and stapling it.

To do the experiment, you put the vinegar and warm water in the ziplock and seal it. Then, put baking soda in the paper towel and staple it. Take it outside because it will make a mess. I held the paper towel pack out of the vinegar and water as I sealed the bag. Shake it up and set it down. Stand back, because it will pop.

Where was Bobo for all of this? Safe on the porch. He was wary of an explosion. Then, he got out the hose and we played in the water since it was actually warm today.

For the Kids Friday

Book Review: Crazy Concoctions by Jordan Brown

This week's book review is in response to questions I've received about science experiments. Where do I get my ideas? The answer is easy, from books of course! For the past month, Bobo and I have been using the Crazy Concoctions guide.

Like all experiment books, it is not meant to be read from cover to cover. Thus, I judge each science book on organization, content and ease-of-use. The book's strongest quality is organization. There are six, color coated chapters. Bobo could choose what type of experiment he wanted to do by the colors on the side of the page. Each experiment has an ingredients list, steps, explanation and fun facts.

Slime and Goo, Totally Gross, That's Gas-tastic!, Crazy Colors, Incredible and Edible and Create Your Own concoctions are the chapters that make up this book. Each chapter has several experiments varying in difficulty. Bobo can't read on his own, yet, so I read the experiments for him. I'm not sure what age this book is for because the illustrations are youngish, but the language is challenging (for my non-scientific brain). It also has funny comments in the margins, which remind me of Origami Yoda.

I could easily use this book for the experiments we do each week. Bobo could choose an experiment based on the illustrations provided. Some of the experiments call for ingredients you may not have on hand, like Pop Rocks or Mentos and Diet Soda. So if Bobo chose one, we'd have to run to the store before we could complete the project.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I found experiments I hadn't seen before and old favorites. My only complaint is that I couldn't find the experiment on the right of the cover (the orange fizzy one). Bobo really wanted to do that one.

I'll share an experiment we did from the book later on today. Most of them are very messy, so I didn't always take pictures. It's hard to hold a camera when your hands are covered in Gooey Glop.

Shibley Smiles

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lego Library Land

Lego Library Land is a monthly club I hold for all ages.

Each month, I set it up a little differently. This month, I put a Lego learning table in the front. 

The toddler area to the right. They love playing construction site with the little trucks.

We have four blue tubs. Each table has one with four chairs. Usually, we have 2-3 children per table plus one parent. These blue tubs are all mixed together along with some extra blocks purchased from Discount School Supply.

The rest of the sets are kept separate. The pink set is the most popular one for the girls.

The Brickmaster sets are coveted by the boys. I've put out the Star Wars set out each time since we received it and it is still very popular with the older boys.

Ninjago is popular with the younger boys.

We've been trying to find some more sets for the girls. When I open the door, they all run to find the pink set. I only have one of those, so we are going to try this Castle set.

I have a rather large room to work with, which is great for the most popular program we have at the library. It is easy to set up. I just have to break down all the Lego creations from the previous month and put them back in the boxes. 

We have free building for an hour. Children can move from table to table, but most work on one project the entire time. They can work in groups or by themselves, using library Legos or their own.

Lego club is great for families. It is also a fun activity to do with dad and grandpa. The children come up with some amazing and creative projects. They feel such pride when they see their designs displayed at the library for the rest of the month.

Bobo is a regular club member. His favorite part is playing with all the mini figures. This time, he built Harry Potter's tower.

learning laboratory at mama smiles

For the Kids Friday

365 Days Outdoors: Man-Made Wonders

We visited the children's museum, today. Since it was a free day, we arrived early and had a chance to play outside on the man-made wonder exhibit. Bobo played leap frog with the pyramids.

Climbing the Wall of China.

Sitting atop the Taj Mahal.

Riding the Sphinx with Daddy.

Scaling the Mayan temple. Playing outside the museum was the best part of the day, by far. Have I mentioned I don't do well in crowds? Luckily, we got in early enough that the HUGE crowds didn't come in until the afternoon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cute Crafts: Bugs

Simple ladybug craft. We cut ovals out of red and black paper, making a slit in the red paper before gluing them together. Bobo used a Q-tip to make black dots on her back. He made a circle head and glued "spiky" eyeballs on her. He painted a toilet paper roll black and I cut strips for him to glue as legs.

Ladybugs are my favorite bugs, but I've only found a couple books I really enjoy. Lara Ladybug by Christine Florie is about a ladybug who's lost her spots. The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn has a fun surprise ending. Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming has lots of different beetles with her classic large illustrations. If you have any suggestions for ladybug books, please leave me a comment.

Bobo also made a simple butterfly craft for our Spring Theme. He's really into the "spiky" balls as he calls the glittery poms. He made a spiky caterpillar. Then, he filled a sandwich bag with Easter grass from our sensory bin to make wings. She looks so pretty in the window.

We read Velma Gratch & The Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison after our craft. Velma is a kindergartner who has trouble making herself distinct from her two older sisters. She struggles to find something that makes her special and resorts to negative attention. Bobo fell asleep before the end, which is sweet and worth staying awake for, so don't miss out.

Tuesday Tots

Shibley Smiles

365 Days Outdoors: Moon Paint Bombs

These bombs are a great rainy day activity, like today. They can be prepared inside ahead of time. Ninjas are one of Bobo's favorite things. These moon paint bombs were inspired by ninja smoke bombs.

You only need a few things to make these: paper napkin, powder paint and/or flour (we used moon sand) and string.

Open the napkin up all the way and place ingredients in the middle. Bobo didn't know what the middle was, so I showed him where it made an X. Each time, he hit the mark he'd say, "X-cellent!" Fold the corners up and tie.

Take the bombs outside and throw.

They make pretty colors.

The ones Bobo threw straight down came out in a blob, not very pretty. The ones thrown at a side angle, came out like a comet. The ones he threw at the garage stuck there, then slid down because they were wet at that point. This would be an interesting science experiment for an older child.

We stick with simple science. We focused on mixing colors. A few of the bombs had red, some red and blue and one with yellow and blue. We had a break in the rain, so Bobo used the hose to clean up and mix the colors.

He also made a big puddle for jumping. "Jump, kick!"

Science SundayTuesday Tots

Friday, April 27, 2012

Flannel Friday: Rainbow Kittens

Rainbow Kittens
Six little kittens found a box of paint.
The jumped right in...their mother will faint!
The first little kitten came out red.
"I'll be orange," the second one said.
The third little kitten turned bright yellow.
"I'll be green," said the next little fellow.
The fifth kitten said, "My favorite is blue."
"Purple for me," said the sixth with a mew.
Dancing home the little kittens go
To show their mother a KITTEN RAINBOW!

"Rainbow Kittens" is a favorite of mine. This is the third version I've used since starting at the library. Miss Angela used our cat Ellison die-cut and laminated them. I like how she cut the hook and loop circles to look like a smile.

I don't usually use a rhyme with this story. First, I put out the colors and we say them all. Then, we count the kittens as I put them up. This week, I asked "What baby animal is a kitten?" Finally, the kittens get into some trouble.

First, the kitten is tentative and puts in a paw. Then, "OOPS!" he fell in and turned...

Giggles erupt each time this happens. When all the kittens fall in and change color, they set off to find their mama forming a kitten rainbow.

When mama sees the kittens,

She has to give each a bath. But cats don't take baths like people do,

Lick, lick, lick. There, all clean again!

The books I read for our Rainbow storytime:
A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
Red, Blue and Yellow, Too! by Scholastic- I read this to the older children. The illustrations are balloon animals!
What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz
Duckie's Rainbow by Frances Barry for the babies.

Storytime ABCs is hosting this week.

Shibley Smiles