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Popular posts on Go Science Girls

Make a ‘snowy’ salt crystal tree

How to make a ‘snowy’ salt crystal fir tree ornament – fun winter or Christmas science project.

Explore salt crystalisation and make a cool winter snow fir tree - fun crystal science for kids

Have you ever had that icky feeling, when you do something really cool with your eldest, but you can’t involve your youngest because it isn’t age appropriate yet?

And no matter how hard you try to make it up to your youngest, it still feels like they’re being left out of all the fun?

Yup, that’s how I’ve been feeling about crystals.

Making crystals is cool. It’s impressive to transform something from one form into another, especially when the new form is sparkly, faceted and gem-like.

How to make a 'Snowy' crystal tree - crystal science project for kids

My eldest daughter Jewel and I have made a bunch of pretty, sparkly, faceted Borax crystals, but so far my three year old daughter Bumble Bee hasn’t been allowed to join in.

So Bumble Bee was very happy that, this time, she got to try out a new way to play with crystals, which only uses everyday materials I’m happy for her to handle. And because this new way creates a beautiful, hazy, snowy effect, we decided to try making snow-covered fir trees.

We’re planning to use these as a science-themed Christmas ornament to hang on our tree.

Snowy fir tree Christmas ornament made with salt crystals

Read More Make a ‘snowy’ salt crystal tree

Crystal Candy Canes – fun Christmas science project

How to make Borax crystal candy canes – fun Christmas science activity for kids.

How to make Crystal Candy Cane Ornaments - fun Christmas science project for kids

This article was first published on 5th August 2015, and has been since updated.

Jewel and I had so much fun making Borax crystal flowers earlier, that we thought we would try growing some more crystals and try out other designs. New crystal candy cane decorations for the Christmas tree sounded fun!

(I know, I know, but Christmas will be here before you know it!) Read More Crystal Candy Canes – fun Christmas science project

Autumn STEAM: tracing the veins of a leaf

Decorating autumn fall leaves: fun STEAM (or STEM + Art) idea: learning about nature and leaf biology.

Decorating autumn fall leaves and learning about leaf biology

Aren’t these autumn leaves wonderful!

We discovered a HUGE maple tree last autumn. The girls played in the sea of orange and brown leaves, and we collected a few to take home. Autumn leaves like this are such a treat for us – most of our native Australian trees are evergreen, so it’s only when we stumble across a non-native deciduous tree that we get to experience a little bit of what the US call ‘fall’.

How fun are #autumn #leaves !! #playmatters #childhoodunplugged #playoutside

A photo posted by Danya Banya (@danyabanya) on

These collected maple leaves have been sitting in our (always evolving) nature collection for the past few months, until Bumble Bee and I decided to get a little crafty. Read More Autumn STEAM: tracing the veins of a leaf

Easter Egg Bubble Wands

Make your own cute Easter egg bubble wands… but what shape bubbles will they make? Fun Easter science project for kids.

Easter egg bubble wands and cool bubble science

Happy Easter everyone!

It’s Easter Saturday at our place right now, and this morning my 5.5 year old daughter Jewel came up with a cool idea to make some DIY Easter egg bubble wands, to see if we can blow Easter egg shaped bubbles. Sounds like fun!

Luckily we had everything we needed in our craft cupboard and kitchen drawers already. We made two Easter egg wands (as I have two daughters, and so making two of everything is just easier), but you could make as many as you like.

This post contains affiliate links* to similar products used.

How to make Easter Egg Bubble Wands

We used:

Materials to make Easter egg bubble wands

I created a loop in two of the pipe cleaners, twisting to create rough ovals, leaving about 2 inches at the ends. I then sat each oval on the end of a chopstick, and tightly wound the ends of the pipe cleaner around the chopstick, to act as a handle.

Twist pipe cleaners onto chopsticks

I cut the third pipe cleaner into quarters, and bent each piece into a zigzag. I then twisted the ends of each zigzag to attach to the ovals, so they look like an Easter egg shape.

Twist pipe cleaner quarters to create a zigzag pattern

Lastly, as an optional extra step, I added tape around the handle to secure the pipe cleaners in place.

(We’ve made pipe cleaner bubble wands without the tape before, and they still work. It just means kids have to be a bit more gentle when waving the wands around, lest the pipe cleaner falls off the chopstick. If it does fall off however, it only takes a second to put it back on…)

Add tape to secure the pipecleaners to the chopstick

And then all you need to do, is head outside, dip the new DIY bubble wands into your bubble mix, and blow!

Easter egg bubble wands and bubble science

Do they work? Do they blow Easter egg shaped bubbles?

That’s the big question! What’s your hypothesis? Now test and see if it’s true!

Blowing Easter egg bubbles

Fun Bubble Science Facts

Our (store-bought) bubble mix is made up of (mostly) soap and water. The soap makes the surface tension of water weaker than normal, and also forms a very thin skin (or film) that is flexible, perfect for making bubbles.

Bubbles are actually a film of soapy water with air trapped inside. There are two forces occurring here: the air inside the bubble is pushing out, whilst at the same time, the soapy film is pushing in. To balance these forces, the soapy film assumes the smallest surface area it can, and that shape (in the absence of other forces) just happens to be a sphere. Therefore, bubbles that float in air (without touching anything) always become round, regardless of the shape of the bubble wand used.

Playing with DIY Easter egg bubble wands

We’d done this experiment before, so Jewel knew the trick. She knew the bubbles would come out spherical, even though our bubble wand is an irregular shape. But she didn’t realise there would be three times as many bubbles, and they’d be smaller. That bit took her by surprise!

I haven’t delved into all the physics and chemistry to explain why the bubbles are round with Jewel just yet. I don’t want to overwhelm her! After all, fun science at this age is more about pondering, hypothesizing, experimenting, and being amazed. It’s enough that Jewel is learning that science is fun, that you can replicate a science experiment with slightly different variables to test results, and that bubbles are trickier than they seem!

Easter egg bubble wand science fun

EDIT: We’ve made a few more bubble wands since, and my kids understanding of bubble physics has grown too! If you’re interested, check out some of our other bubble science projects:

Or for more Easter science projects, you might also like

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How to make an articulated hand {with cool movable fingers}

Jewel's articulated hand with fingers that bend

Jewel and I made this cool articulated hand! But before I show you how to make one for yourself, let me tell you a little story explaining why.

A few months ago, Jewel fell over awkwardly and cut her little finger. It was a small cut, but something about it felt wrong. It just looked… strange. So after some deliberation, we decided to take Jewel to the hospital. It was evening by then, and the emergency department was busy with broken limbs, head injuries, suspected heart attacks, and goodness knows what else. So I felt about the size of an ant when I presented my 5.5 year old daughter with a tiny cut on her pinky finger.

The nurses ummed and ahhed. The doctors ummed and ahhed. The hand surgeons ummed and ahhed. The cut was in a tricky spot. No one wanted to send us home, just in case.

Jewel went into surgery the next day. As it turned out, Jewel had somehow managed to sever two tendons, a nerve and an artery, all in that tiny, not-even-1cm cut on her pinky finger. And that is the story behind why Jewel is interested in hand anatomy just now, and why we decided to make an articulated model of a human hand.

Jewel made this first (above) hand model, with a little help from me. It helps demonstrate how tendons work inside your hand, and how severing tendons could affect more than just that one joint.

I made a second hand, with a few minor modifications and the fingers now bend really well.

How to make an articulated model of a hand by Go Science Kids

Suitable for

This craft is a tad fiddly. 5-6 year olds, like Jewel here, will likely need some help. Older kids might be able to do it by themselves.

* Affiliate links are included to similar products as those used.

How to make an articulated hand

We used:

Step 1: Trace your hand on craft foam, and cut it out.

Trace and cut out your hand

Step 2: Cut paper straws into small pieces, and stick them on the hand and fingers to represent the bones and the tendon sheaths that are attached to them. (Leave gaps between each piece, as this will allow the fingers to bend later.)

Feel your hand and see if you can work out where the major bones are. We discovered there should be three small bones for each finger, and only two for the thumbs. Each set of finger and thumb bones connect up to corresponding longer bones in main part of the hand.

Jewel chose to attach her straws with small pieces of sticky tape. You could also use glue if you prefer.

Making an articulated hand model

Hint: when I re-did this step for our second hand, I discovered it is better if you leave a larger gap between the straws (as you can see below). This made a huge difference in how well the fingers bent later on.

Making a second articulated hand model

Step 3: Tie beads to five long pieces of twine. Thread each piece of twine through the straws on the finger and thumb, into the corresponding straws in the hand.

We used pony beads, but any beads would work, as long as they are large enough to not fit through the straw openings.

Make sure your twine is long enough so that you can easily pull on the other ends at the wrist. If in doubt, make them longer. You can always shorten them later on.

Adding string to represent tendons

Step 4: Tie a further five beads to the other ends of the twine. This stops you needing to worry about the twine falling out later on.

Creating an articulated hand model with craft foam, paper straws, string and beads

Step 6. Turn your hand over, and paint fingernails.

Painting the fingernails

Step 7: Tape a chopstick to the palm to act as a handle.

This makes it much easier to be able to hold and manipulate the hand.

Making articulated hand models

And now, have fun playing with your new hand! How many fingers am I holding up?

how to make a model articulated hand - fun biology science for kids

Hand Anatomy

There are 3 bones in each of your fingers, and 2 in your thumb. These bones are called phalanges. The phalanges connect to 5 bones in the main part of your hand, called metacarpals. (There are also 8 bones in your wrist called carpals, which aren’t featured in our craft.)

The muscles that move your fingers and thumb are in your forearm. Long flexor tendons extend from these forearm muscles through your wrist and palm to your fingers and thumb. The tendons slide though a snug tunnel, called the tendon sheath, which is attached to the little bones in your fingers and thumb and keep the tendons in place. When the muscles in the forearm contract, they pull on these tendons to move the bones.

The straws in our craft represent these tendon sheaths, and the twine represents the tendons. Because the tendons are connected from forearm to fingertip, if you sever a tendon at a lower joint, like Jewel did, it breaks the connection to the upper part of the finger as well.

Also in your hand are arteries and veins that transport blood to and from your fingertips. And there are nerves that allow you to feel what your hands and fingers are touching. Hands are such wonderful things!

how to make a model articulated human hand - fun biology science for kids

If you’d like to see the difference that the extra gaps between the straws makes, have a look at these two shots below – the top one is Jewel’s original hand, and the second one is the one I made with larger gaps, which can bend much further.

Bending a finger on Jewel's articulated hand

Bending the finger on the second articulated hand model - and noticing the difference the extra gaps make

Afterwards, Jewel took full advantage of the free access she had to the usually off-limits nail polish, and added crazy designs to her model hand. Fun! I love her artistic mind. 🙂

Jewel adding crazy nailpolish designs to her hand model

(In case you’re wondering, the main nailpolish we used is Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Grapevine – not that we’re #fashionbloggers, lol).

* This post contains affiliate link(s). An affiliate link means I may earn referral / advertising fees if you make a purchase through my link, without any extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little project afloat. Thank you for your support.

‘Magic’ Drawing with Refraction of Light: an art meets science activity for kids

How to ‘magically flip’ drawings using refraction of light. Fun art meets science activity for kids.

Create magic drawing with refraction of light - fun art meets science activity for kids

This is a fun ‘magic’ science trick that even little kids can do.

Draw two arrows, both pointing the same way, and then look at one (or both) through a glass of water. Which way are they pointing now? Does it matter how far away the glass of water is? What happens if you move your head from side to side?

Suitable for

This activity is fun for 5-6 year olds. (Younger kids can certainly have a go too, but they don’t seem to be as amazed as the school-aged crew are.)

Thumb image flipped due to refraction

You can do this science experiment almost anywhere. I love that it’s one of those activities that takes just a few minutes to set up and do, although you can spend more time on it if you want to. It’s also practically free as well, as it uses only common everyday items.

We’ve done this experiment a couple of times when we’re at a restaurant with the kids, as a way to keep everyone entertained while we wait for the food to arrive….

Drawing of a girl with 'magic' eyes due to refraction of light

What you need:

  • glass of water
  • paper (or paper napkin works if you’re at a restaurant)
  • pen

Draw something on a piece of paper, and see how it looks when you look through a glass of water. You don’t have to limit it to arrows! Be creative! You can draw anything you like and see how it looks through the glass.

Questions to ponder: How does your picture change? What bits stay the same? Does image size matter? What happens if you try with a wider (or narrower) glass? What happens if you move the glass closer to the image? Or further away? You could use a ruler to measure the distances and record your results. Does it change if you look at it straight on or slightly from the side?

A fun idea is to draw a picture of a face, with the eyes looking one way, and see which way the eyes are looking when you look through the glass.

Magic eyes drawing using refraction of light through a glass of water

Can you change the variables around so that the girl is looking at herself?

Magic drawing with refraction of light - fun art meets science activity for kids

The more creative you are, the more this activity becomes a STEM + Art, or STEAM activity. STEAM is a way to link art into STEM activities, which is a great way to make STEM subjects fun and relevant for young kids, especially those who are creatively inclined.

JJ drawing a girl and then seeing it change due to refraction

Once you’ve played around with it for a while, can you start to guess (hypothesise) how you think a picture might look given particular variables, and then look through the glass to check if your hypothesis was correct?

Art and Science - flipping drawings using refraction of light

Fun Science

What we are seeing here is a physics concept called refraction, or the bending of light. When light passes through transparent objects (in this case, the front of the glass, the water, and the back of the glass), it refracts or bends. When the glass is full of water, it acts as a cylindrical convex lens, and produces an inverted image. The inverted image may appear larger, smaller or the same size, depending on where you position the paper, the glass, and your viewpoint. Another variable is the size (diameter) of the glass.

Fun art meets science activity - flip drawings using refraction of light
 
This is post is part of the 28 Days of Hands-On STEM Activities for Kids blog hop, hosted by Left Brain Craft Brain. This week’s theme is STEM on a Budget. Pop over to find loads more budget friendly STEM (and STEAM) ideas!

28 Days of Hands On STEM