Sensory Slime Fun!

Slime, slime, beautiful slime! It is one of our favorite sensory items to play with! We love how easy it is to make an how open ended it is. Plus it lasts a long time if you store it in a Ziplock bag! One of our favorite things to do is to use clear glue and add food coloring and glitter!! You can also add sequines, stars, little plastic toys…the options are endless!

Our favorite recipe uses clear glue, liquid startch and food coloring.

Slime Recipe:

1/2 Cup of Elmer’s Washable Non Toxic Clear Glue or White Glue

1/2 Cup of Liquid Starch

1/2 Cup of Water

Measuring Cup

2 bowls and a spoon

food coloring, confetti, glitter {optional}

Instructions:

1. In one bowl mix 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of glue {really mix to combine completely}. Pour glue into water. Stir the glue and water together well!

2. Add color, glitter, or confetti! Mix the glitter and color into the glue and water mixture.

3Pour in 1/2 cup of liquid starch and mix. The slime will begin to form. When it begins to turn into a glob, use your hands to mix and stretch it until it’s no longer sticky. Then it’s time to play!

One of our favorite ways to use Slime is to add in little animal toys, bugs, and play dough tools.  It really is so easy to whip up and the possibilities are endless. Need some more ideas? Check all of the gread slime ideas here: Best Slime Activities

 

Teaching Your Kids About Acids and Bases

Kitchens can easily become a science lab. Have you tried baking homemade dishes with your kids? Cakes, cookies, pies, and other baked foods can all be considered chemistry experiments, but there are also other projects you can try to get your kids to explore science at home? Here’s one cool way to teach your kids about acids and bases.

To begin the science lesson, let your kids watch a kid-friendly video about acids and bases. Then, see if they can tell you the difference between the two.

Recently, while teaching my daughters the difference between an acid and a base, we needed a way to understand the difference visually so we conducted an experiment. They also wrote down the definitions on a white board:

    • Acid – An acid donates a hydrogen ion, which is also called a proton.
    • Base – A base receives a hydrogen ion/proton.

Although I didn’t have any litmus paper, we were still able to show how acids and bases react differently. The experiment we conducted used red cabbage and different household items like vinegar, baking soda, hand sanitizer, bleach, etc. We used the key below to understand the outcome of the test results. Bases typically range in color from blue to yellow, and acids range in color from red to purple.

Red Cabbage Indicator Chart

Image source: handsonmuseum.org

I let the kids guess which household items were acids and which were bases, and then they recorded their hypotheses. Next, we boiled two red cabbage leaves and used the water as our indicator.

Acids and Bases Printable

I have included an original downloadable printable that you can use to record your kids’ science experiment results. Click here for the pdf.

acids and bases worksheet for kids 2nd grade +

Click on the image to download a printable pdf

On the back of the paper, have your children draw the experiment and indicate the results that were seen. This will help your child remember the difference between acids and bases, especially if he or she is a visual learner.

When conducting the experiment, don’t only use liquids; you can use powder substances as well, like home spices.

Be creative and let your children pick items to test; just be cautious and aware that some fumes can be harmful to breathe in. If you are planning to use bleach, open your windows are conduct the experiment outdoors.

Materials needed:

      1. Red Cabbage
      2. Pot
      3. Strainer (optional)
      4. Chemicals/ substances to test
      5. Glass jars for each substance
      6. Measuring cup (1/4 cup)
      7. 1 Tablespoon

To conduct this experiment, do the following:

      1. Remove 2 red cabbage leaves. Place the leaves in a medium pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil.
      2. Add a tablespoon of each substance to their respective glasses.
      3. Place 1/4 cup of indicator (the cabbage juice) in their respective glasses.
      4. Record the results on the worksheet as the colors change.

Watch our home video:

Tang Hulurs

imageWhen my son was small and we were just beginning our homeschool journey, my good friend, Tanya, loaned me her Sonlight curriculum for grade 1. Although I chose not to use it, I did read most of the books to my little boy. I have wonderful memories of sitting under the big maple tree in our backyard reading one of our favorites, “Little Pear,” by Eleanor Frances Lattimore. In this enchanting book, the main character’s favorite treat to buy is a tang hulur. My child liked this book so much that we borrowed the others in the series from the library. Our favorite part that has stuck with us all these years (he is 12 now, but still likes to be read to!) is the fascinating idea of a tang hulur. We have our own idea of what they look like, and when we see a resemblance of our conception, whether it be in a store or picture, we always exclaim, “Look! It’s a tang hulur!”

In this blog post, I share with you the day we made tang hulurs, better known as rock candy. This is a fun activity to go along with a science lesson or unit on rocks. We actually made the rock candy with our small Pathfinder group as part of the Rocks and Minerals honor. We had attended a gem and fossil show the week before, a first for all of us. A day or two later, I received an email to sign up for a free online science class to learn about rocks, including experiments to do at home. Thinking this was perfect timing, I bought the necessary supplies for the experiments and showed the video to the Pathfinders. To be honest, the video wasn’t a big hit, but everybody loves an edible experiment so that saved the day!

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Here is what we did to create our version of tang hulurs. This makes a big batch, so you might want to reduce it. We added eight cups of sugar, which was a small four-pound bag, to three cups of water gradually, and then heated it on the stove. Do not let it boil. We did not use a candy thermometer, but you can. The mixture should change into a cloudy yellowish color with all the sugar dissolved, and should be hot to the touch. Let it cool enough to pour into a glass container. We used mason jars. You can add flavorings and/or colors at this point.

imageThen position a skewer in the middle, holding it in place with a clothespin laid across the top.

image

The skewer should be moistened and rolled in sugar to give the crystals something to adhere to.

image

Now you just wait for the crystals to form. That can take hours or even days; we just kept checking ours.

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Break up the edges and pour out the excess liquid after it has crystallized, and set the jar in hot water to remove your creation. It’s not the healthiest treat, but fun to make to demonstrate crystals when studying rocks. Enjoy your tang hulur while reading a good book, like “Little Pear,” or even a book about rocks.

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Oh, and by the way, here’s what tang hulurs really look like! Much more tasty to me!

 

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Teaching Kids Entomology While Hiking

white-caterpillar

Hickory tussock caterpillar

Homeschooling offers families the chance to go outdoors in nature and learn together. Although we are called “homeschoolers,” we are not required to stay in our homes and teach our children from books all day. Homeschooling gives us the freedom to make the world our classroom. As parents and educators we have the responsibility to teach our kids about the world we live in, how to protect it, admire it, and grow with it. One fun way to give kids a hands-on science lesson is to go hiking with them. One of the lessons that kids can learn about while hiking is entomology.

bug-on-flowers

Dog fennel plant

Entomology

The study of insects is called entomology. In our vast world there are millions of insects worldwide. Bugs can have a bad reputation, but are the most plentiful animals on earth. Thus, hiking can be a great way to teach children about bugs and their global contribution. While hiking, have your children answer these questions: Who, What, Where, and When? (This is a also wonderful chance for parent/teachers to ask students to jot down their answers in a science journal.)

moths

Two white moths

 

  • Who – While hiking look for bugs. Students should snap a photo or draw a picture of the bugs they find. Kids should observe the bugs with their eyes and not their hands. Allow students a few minutes (about three to five) to watch the bug and follow it briefly, if possible, to see what it does.
  • What – Try to identify the bug on your own. If you cannot, visit insectidentification.org; there is a bug finder at the bottom. You can also try to identify adult bugs with information from BugGuide.net, a site managed by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. Also check out Bug Info from the Smithsonian Institution to learn more cool facts about entomology.
  • Where – Encourage your child to record where the bug was found. A description of the bug that includes color and size is helpful. What state or country or region of the country the bug was found? Answer whether the insect can fly, or identify how it moves from place to place.
  • When – Also, jot down the time of day the bug was found, the weather, and if it was found alone or with other similar bugs. Does the bug live in a colony? Older students can look up the bug and find out if it is used for special purposes by scientists and researchers. Also, find out if the insect is native to the region it was found in.
Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park

Compare and Contrast

Discuss whether you have seen the same bug in the past and if so, what similarities are present. Also, write down the differences.

Giving our children hands-on learning experiences is one of my favorite reasons to homeschool. Many children may not like bugs, but by learning more about them, their habitat, and how they live and survive, will help us learn to appreciate the role they play in our huge world.

*images by David Cavins*

5 Tips to Get Your Kids to Love Science

Five Tips to Get Your Kids to Love Science

Schools around the country are trying to get students more interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related fields. The goal for educators is to encourage a love of science in students and hopefully motivate students to pursue a STEM career, which can in turn lessen unemployment and improve the nation’s economy. According to SciencePioneers.org, “If the United States is to maintain its global leadership and competitive position, then we just have to motivate our most promising students into the STEM fields. Science has been identified as a national priority, but science teachers can’t do it all on their own. Parents have to become more interested and knowledgeable.”(1)

Science is also a way that God reveals himself to us.

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind,” Job 12:7-10.

Thus, we need to encourage our children to have a well-rounded educational foundation by promoting science in our homes. We can start by instilling a love for science while our children are very young.

Five ways homeschool families can build a love for science in their children:

Walking through science – Walking in nature you can teach your kids about different types of plants, animals, erosion, cloud formations, weather patterns, insects, rocks, etc. You can also help your child start a garden, nature collection (rock, leaf, insect), or ant farm. The key is to let your child’s personal interest guide him or her into learning more about God’s creations (science).

Parents of preschool-aged children can encourage their students to play “eye spy” and point out things they may see in nature. Older students can play a scavenger hunt game or use nature walks as a time to take pictures of what they see in nature. Every day will be different; you just have to look for opportunities to point out the science in the world around them.

Learning science by journaling – A form of science can be found in almost everything we do. To help students began to recognize the presence of science, allow them to create a nature journal. Journals can be used to create hypothesis, document research, analyze observations, and brainstorm educated guesses about what will happen in the future as seasons change.

Younger children and visual learners can document what they see by drawing or sketching. Rubbing leaves, identifying patterns, comparing color variations, recording sounds, etc. Kids can also create their own experiments and document the results.

Science experiments – Don’t be intimidated by science experiments. There are many experiments that can be done using regular household items. Just remember, if you are trying something new, consider testing it in advance before you introduce it to your child. There are many books, websites, and YouTube videos with great ideas for experiments.

Science curriculum – The SDA Homeschool Blog’s science curriculum recommendations can be found here.

Science in the kitchen – Cooking with your homeschool student is a fun bonus. Although we may not realize it, baking and cooking are both science, and we experience chemical reactions in our food everyday. Cooking with your children will help guide the dialog around what is taking place within the food and why the outcome occurs.

Here are a few fun cooking science books that we enjoy:

Science with technology – technology has given us extra resources that we can use in our homeschool classrooms, such as DVDs, apps, board games, YouTube videos, and computer games.

Consider looking for videos that will help reinforce a concept you are teaching. Many libraries have DVDs that are free to check out. For example, Schlessinger Science Library is a series of DVDs we enjoy, and it even has questions to go along with the DVDs.

Whenever you want to get your child to practice a new concept, make it fun. Using technology is great practice. Here are a few science-friendly apps that you can incorporate into your teaching:

  • The Human Body by Tinybop (Just like we teach our kids the names of their body parts when they are little, we can continue to teach them their entire anatomy and physiology. This app makes it easy to identify and name different parts of a person’s body.)
  • Kid Weather (Perfect for the early pre-k years: A kindergarten student and his meteorologist dad to help kids learn how to dress for the daily weather created this app.)
  • Like That Garden (This app helps users identify local plants. Take a picture of the plant, and the app with tell you its name.)

Science can be found in all subjects. Taking time to document our changing world helps students realize that nature and science are all around us. Science is a changing environment that can be observed, studied, and manipulated. God has given us a vast world, and we can learn so much about Him and His magnificence when we take time to study it. I love how Romans 1:20 states, “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” So, homeschool parents, what are some of your favorite ways to teach science in your home?

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(1) Why STEM Education Is Important For Everyone. (n.d.). SciencePioneers.orgRetrieved September 4, 2016 from http://www.sciencepioneers.org/parents/why-stem-is-important-to-everyone.