Tag: Safety Glasses

You know how sometimes you stumble across something that’s just so cool that you have to share it with the world?

I found this drawing of Ariel (from The Little Mermaid) as a scientist in a lab doing chemistry, wearing both her princess dress AND safety goggles that doubles as a colouring-in page. It’s so awesome!

Ariel as a Scientist colouring in page

When my eldest daughter Jewel first saw it, she squealed “Oh my goodness! I had no idea that Ariel likes science too!”

Girl colouring in Ariel (from The Little Mermaid) as a Scientist picture

Ariel as a Scientist colouring in - encouraging girls in STEM

This image is not my creation (obviously – I’m not that talented!). It’s a commission work by the artist NathanLee James. Its black and white outline make it great for colouring-in.

Click here to go to the artist’s original image, then right-click and select “view image”, and then select print from your top drop-down menu. (Or at least, that’s how I did it.) Then let the kids colour to their hearts content.

Cutting it out, sticking a chopstick on the back and turning it into a Science Ariel puppet is completely optional. 🙂

 

More images like this are needed to encourage young girls in STEM. We need images that show a range of girls enjoying STEM (yes, princesses included) so that any girl can see STEM as something they want to aspire to, something that fits in with the rest of their self-image.

Disney – if by you’re reading this by any chance, can I put in a request please for a new, cool, smart princess who loves both STEM activities AND wears princess dresses and tiaras and sings songs and stuff? (Granted Rapunzel does like reading and astronomy – she’s my favourite of your princesses so far…)

Thanks!!

Ariel as a Scientist colouring in page - encouraging girls in STEM

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

Make an interlocking crystal hearts necklace! Fun science & craft activity for kids.

Make an interlocking crystal hearts necklace - fun science for kids

Have you tried making crystals yet? They’re so pretty! This is our fourth ‘crystal craft’ we’ve made so far. We’ve also made crystal flowers, crystal candy canes, and a (preschooler-friendly) crystal snowy tree. This is our first interlocking-hearts design though!

Suitable for

Making Borax crystals is a classic science experiment for school aged kids. I’d recommend it for 5-6 year olds and up. (Jewel was almost 6 years old here). Older kids could experiment with a few different designs and materials, and see which works best.

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Two interlocking crystal hearts

How to make a Borax crystal hearts necklace

We used:

  • Borax (which you can buy at the grocery story in the laundry aisle, or online here)
  • pipe cleaners (also called chenille stems)
  • ribbon or fishing line (optional)
  • scissors
  • boiling water
  • spoons
  • glass jars
  • pencils
  • safety glasses (we have these ones)

To make our crystal hearts, the first step is to create the interlocking hearts shape. Cut a pipe cleaner in half. Bring the two ends of one half together and twist, making a loop. Thread the other half through the loop, and then bring those two ends together and twist making a second loop that goes through the first one. Pinch each loops to make two interlocked heart shapes.

Creating two joining hearts with pipecleaners

We made two sets of interlocking hearts – one for Jewel and one for me.

We decided to make ours into necklaces, so I tied a long piece of ribbon onto the end of mine. Jewel opted for blue pipe cleaners for her necklace. She twisting two pipe cleaners together to make an extra long one, and then twisting the ends of this around her hearts. (If you didn’t want to turn your hearts into a necklace, then I’d tie on something thin and slippery, like fishing line or floss, which the crystals won’t stick to and you can cut off later.)

The next step is to tie the ribbon / fishing wire / pipe cleaners to a pencil or chopstick, so the hearts can dangle below when your pencil is sitting on the rim of your glass jar. Measure it and check. (Don’t skip this step!) You need to make sure that your hearts dangle inside the glass jar, without touching the bottom or the sides. Make sure there’s a little bit of extra room too, as your hearts will become hard and slightly larger when they have crystals on them, and you want to make sure they don’t get stuck inside the jar. If in doubt, choose a larger container, or squish your hearts to make them smaller.

If you have safety glasses, put them on. It’s not strictly essential, but being safety concious around chemicals is a good habit. My girls love wearing their safety glasses whenever they get a chance – it makes it feel like a ‘real’ science activity! (If you don’t have any safety glasses, just make sure they don’t put any Borax in their eyes.)

With an adults help, fill your glass jars with boiling water. Add several tablespoons of Borax and stir until all the Borax is suspended (and looks dissolved). The actual quantity of Borax will depend on the volume of your jar – allow for about 3 tablespoons per 250ml of water.

(Please see safety notes at the bottom. Borax is not taste-safe. If you’ve happened to touch any of the Borax powder, please wash your hands. )

Adding Borax

Lower the hearts into the solution so that the pencil is sitting on top of the jar. Double check that your hearts aren’t touching the bottom or sides. Then place your jars in a safe spot where they won’t be disturbed.

Tie the hearts onto pencils and dangle into the Borax solution

Over the next 24 hours, your crystals will grow! You should be able to see some of the progress through the sides of the glass jar. It’s fascinating! The longer you leave them, the bigger they’ll grow, up to a point. We usually try to leave ours a few days.

Removing the crystal hearts from the Borax solution

Once the crystals have stopped growing (or your patience has run out), remove them from the solution and pat dry. You can rinse them off in fresh water if you want to. Untie your ribbon / pipe cleaner / fishing line, and admire your new crystal hearts!

Borax crystal hearts

There’s likely to be some crystals that have formed on the inside of the jar – these are pretty too!

Borax crystals formed inside the jar

Fun Science Fact

Borax (also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate) is a naturally occurring mineral, that is mined from seasonal lakes. You don’t see it in crystal collections in museums though, because if it is allowed to fully dehydrate, it loses it’s structure and eventually crumbles into a white powder. Coincidentally it’s also, strangely enough, used as a detergent alternative and laundry booster, which is why you’ll likely be able to find it in your grocery store’s laundry aisle.

Water is made up of tiny molecules. If you mix Borax with water, some Borax can become ‘suspended’, which means that the water molecules can ‘hold’ onto it for a while. When water is very hot, the water molecules move further apart, and make room for the water molecules to ‘hold’ onto more of the Borax. As the water cools, the water molecules come closer together, and the water molecules can’t ‘hold’ the same quantity of Borax as they could before. This is called supersaturation. The extra Borax separates from the water molecules, and form crystals which stick to the pipe cleaners (and to the bottom of the jar).

Interconnected crystal hearts

The crystals formed are a mineral. They are hard. They are faceted. You can easily see their shape with your naked eye, but they are even more fascinating under a magnifying glass or a microscope.

Examining Borax cystals with a magnifying glass

Examining borax crystals

Your hearts will be ‘stuck’ together. If you’re game, you could try to break them apart, so the two crystal hearts are loosely entwined again. Some of the crystals may break off in this process though!

Joined crystal hearts

Two borax crystal hearts interlocked

Here’s Jewel, wearing her necklace. Doesn’t she look chuffed with her efforts!

Make your own interlocking crystal hearts necklace

Please note…

Be very careful with boiling water around young kids. Glass jars with boiling water inside will become too hot to touch.

Borax is a commonly used natural ingredient in grade school science experiments, and is safe for older kids to handle when used responsibly. However it is not edible, will irritate if put into eyes and is a mild skin irritant for people with sensitive skin.

With Borax being inedible, please make sure that your beautiful crystal hearts are stored out of reach of babies or toddlers.

All kids’ activities on this blog require attentive adult supervision. Parents and carers will need to judge whether a particular activity is appropriate their child’s age and skill level. Click here for more information.

Interlocking crystal hearts - science and craft STEM or STEAM project for kids

For more heart-themed science craft ideas, you might also like our DIY heart-shaped bubble wands. (What shape bubbles will they make??)

And for more crystal ideas, you might also like:

We also have a pinterest board dedicated to growing crystals and crystal crafts!

And you can always subscribe to our newsletter, to receive all our latest posts via email. We’d love to have you join our growing email community!

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a 'go science kids' book review of 11 Experiments That Failed, by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter

Product Reviewed: 11 Experiments That Failed, by Jenny Offill & Nancy Carpenter

Age Range: 5-8 year olds

Star Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

The Good: A humorous story that introduces kids to the scientific method in a fun and whimsical way.

The Bad: Slightly US-centric. May encourage kids to try a few experiments you wished they wouldn’t!

The Verdict: Would make a lovely gift for 5-7 year old girls.

Learning about the scientific process via a series of increasingly outrageous experiments (that fail)

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11 Experiments That Failed

This delightful story book features a young female protagonist who, armed with safety goggles, a lab coat, and a curious mind, proceeds through a series of 11 increasingly outrageous science experiments, each of which fail spectacularly.

The illustrations and layout are just delightful. They are quirky, with a mixed media feel, and add as much to the storyline as the words.

Each experiment follows the scientific method, listing the question, hypothesis, materials list, step-by-step instructions, and results. Some of the experiments you could try at home (if you dare). Others are perhaps best left to the imagination.

Whilst each experiment fails to confirm the original hypothesis, the results are still documented factually. This method helps kids to understand that, in science, we can learn from all experiments, even those that don’t work out how we’d planned.

As a mother of two science-loving young girls, I love that this book features a young girl who clearly loves dressing up like a scientist, doing science experiments and using scientific materials (beakers, test tubes, pipettes, etc). Whilst her mother may be bewildered by it all, this young girl clearly thinks that science is awesome, leaping from experiment to (failed) experiment with enthusiasm. She’s infectious!

Question, hypothesis, ingredients, method, results - learning the scentific process via this charming story book 11 Experiments That Failed

 

Pros and Cons

Positives

  • This book does a great job of making science look cool.
  • More importantly, it does a great job of making science look cool for girls.
  • It encourages girls to invent their own experiments, using items from around the house.
  • It teaches kids how to structure an experiment using the scientific method, and helps to familiarise them scientific words (such as hypothesis), and scientific equipment (lab coats, safety googles, beakers, pipettes, etc).
  • It opens up discussions about how experiments can fail, and may help perfectionist kids to understand that an experiment that doesn’t confirm the original hypothesis can still provide useful results.
  • Humorous for kids and adults alike.

Review of science picture book 11 experiments that failed that introduces kids to the scientific process

 

Negatives

  • As Australians, we found some of the words to be US-centric. In Australia, we say tomato sauce instead of ketchup, for example. And I’d never heard of bologna before (which I think is similar to what we call it devon).
  • Young kids may take the story more literally than it’s intended, so the humour may need some explaining.

 

What does my daughter think?

My almost 6 year old daughter Jewel views this book a bit like slapstick comedy. The experiments that the protagonist undertakes are so outlandish and exaggerated that Jewel finds it hilarious, but I don’t think she could actually tell you why.

Jewel said that she thought she was a lot smarter than the girl, because she already knew these experiments wouldn’t work! I asked Jewel how she knew, if she hadn’t tried them? At which point, with a twinkle in her eye, Jewel suggested attempting to grow mould in one of her sister’s old shoes. Then we started brainstorming good mould growing locations around our house: apparently under the stairs looks promising….

 

Other Key Features {that might be handy to know}

  • Published by Schwartz & Wade books (Random House), 2011.
  • We have the hardcover version, which measures 29cm x 24.5cm x 1cm, with dust jacket.
  • The end papers are quite lovely too.

Eleven Experiments That Failed end papers

 

Where to Buy

We bought our copy of 11 Experiments That Failed online from The Book Depository. You can also find it on Amazon.com (for the US) and Amazon.co.uk (for the UK). It might also (hopefully) be on-shelf at your local book-store. I understand it’s been in high demand, so fingers crossed it’s in stock for you!

 

Check out our other book reviews:

Review of the book 11 Experiments That Failed, which introduces the scientific method and encourages girls to love science

 

Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid for this review. All opinions are my (or my kids’) own. This post does, at my own discretion, contain affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn referral / advertising fees if you make a purchase through my link, without any extra cost to you. Referral / advertising fees from various sources help keep this little project afloat. Thank you for your support and understanding, I really appreciate it.

How to make an easy, upcycled catapult! Fun physics for kids. Choose your own projectile….

Easy Upcycled DIY Catapult - fun physics science play for kids

Have you heard of the 28 Days of Hands-On STEM Activities for Kids blog hop that’s running all this month? We’re tickled pink to be joining in. There’s 4 weeks of fun science, with each week revolving around a different theme. This week’s theme is STEM Goes Green, and we’re sharing a fun environmentally-friendly science project that kids can make, using upcycled materials that you can find at home. Bonus that it takes only a few minutes to make, so the kids can start having fun straight away.

Toddler playing with a DIY catapult

Suitable for

This is a fun physics experiment that can be easily tailored to suit different ages:
Toddlers will simply enjoy the cause and effect. (Choose a soft projectile).
Preschoolers might like to experiment with different projectiles to see what will shoot the furthest or highest.
Kindergarteners and early primary school kids should be able to make this themselves, perhaps trying out different materials from around the house. Experiment with moving the fulcrum and/or using a longer beam to see how this affects the results. Set up a target and see if they can hit it. Keep score.

Launching a DIY Upcycled Catapult - physics fun for kids

To make this easy DIY catapult, you will need:

  • a sturdy cardboard tube
  • a large hair elastic
  • a wooden spoon
  • a projectile of your choice
  • safety glasses (optional)

Read More Easy Upcycled Catapult {STEM goes green}

Castle in the clouds - blending science and imaginative small world play, by Go Science Kids

The kids have been asking to do some more fun acid-base reactions ever since we made our erupting volcano a few months back. Did you know that by adding a small amount of dishwashing liquid, you can turn the classic baking soda and vinegar bubbly reaction into a frothy, foamy one instead? We used this theory to combine fun science with imaginative play, changing a castle moat into a ‘castle in the clouds’ small world scene. Fun!

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To make a ‘castle in the clouds’ small world scene

We used:

  • White Vinegar
  • blue food colouring
  • dishwashing liquid (aka dish soap / liquid dish detergent)
  • baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate / bread soda / cooking soda / bicarbonate of soda)
  • a large bowl
  • a smaller bowl
  • castle & various figurines
  • blu-tack
  • jug and spoon
  • kids safety glasses (optional)

Read More Castle in the Clouds: science & imaginative play