Science and Slime = Fun for Kids

Science has some magic formulas: science and slime equals fun for kids. You don’t need to be a scientist to take advantage of it, either. Parents and caregivers can mix up a batch of slime and, at the same time, mix up some exciting learning.

There are many recipes for slime available. Here’s one I’ve used several times:

science and slimeTo make slime, you will need 2 bowls or other containers. I used glass measuring cups. In one, 1/2 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of white glue. Sometimes, getting the glue to mix with the water is easier than others. For some reason today, I had to use a little whip to get out the clumps. In the second, mix 1 teaspoon of borax and 1 cup of warm water. A few drops of food coloring can be added to either solution.

science and slimeNow comes the fun part. Dump the glue-water solution into the borax-water solution and immediately the  slime or polymer forms. Drain off the extra water and squeeze the slime all together. It looks like it will be wet and gloopy but it is like a very stretchy plastic.

Young kids won’t get the details of the chemistry but they notice how slime is very different from play dough. Slime feels cool and slippery but fingers and hands don’t get wet.  Slime can be rolled up and squished but  it also spreads out in a puddle or stretches really far. Fingers can poke and the holes and bumps will disappear.

We can ask children simple questions like, “What is the slime doing?” or, “Is this like your play dough?”  This encourages kids to notice what is happening and make their own observations. Slime is very sensory and as kids play, they are also exploring their sense of touch. (Note:  Although Borax is common and has many household uses, it can be harmful, so adult supervision is needed.)

Kids of any age can play with both science and slime. Do you remember playing with it? Has your child had fun with slime?

This month will feature lots more science fun with kids blog posts.

Science Fun with Magnets

Parents do not need to be rocket scientists to involve kids in science play and learning. Kids can have some exciting science fun with magnets.

science fun with magnetsThe most common magnets used to be fridge magnets, but with stainless steel appliances, kitchens haven ‘t got as many as they used to. Door latches on cabinets often have magnets and some toys. For some magnets to play with, toy stores have ones that follow safety standards for kids. Each year, some children are injured and treated for swallowing magnets so make sure any magnets are a safe size. Metal cookie sheets or large baking pans can substitute for fridge doors.

One of the first things that kids like to do with magnets, is to find out what magnets will stick to. Here is an excerpt from Big Sister’s explorations last year:

A metal foot that popped out from underneath an easy chair was too intriguing to be ignored. Especially, when it turned out to be the same size and shape as a fridge magnet. Lo and behold, it stuck to the magnet, at least on the metal side. What else would it stick to? Little hands tried tables, chairs, the floor, a spoon, the dishwasher and even the rocks and trim of the fireplace. To extend, the activity, I asked if other fridge magnets also stuck to those things. And off went the eager, but young, scientist.

A few months ago, we tried what would happen to magnets that were frozen in ice. No need to guess what was the inspiration for that. (How many times do you hear Let It Go?)

science fun wtih magnets iceAs Big Sister (6) and Little Sister (3) explored a bunch of little bits from the junk drawer, they quickly discovered that the magnets near the edge of the ice still worked. To make sure that any one item was attracted to the magnet, there was one magnet that wasn’t frozen in ice. We could check if the magnet would pick up the nails, screws, plastic spiders, and other assorted pieces.

fun with magnets

There are many other ideas for activities with magnets, such as trying to pull train cars with magnets using pipe cleaners, invisibly moving magnetic items on top of a thin piece of cardboard by moving a magnet underneath, putting pipe cleaners or bobby pins inside a plastic bottle and using a magnet outside to move them up and down, and more. Children’s easels often have a magnetic side so kids can play with letters and other magnets.

Kids will create their own experiments as they engage in science fun with magnets. Has your child played with magnets?

Science Fun with Eye Droppers

Would you do science activities with your child if it could be easy and simple? How about some ideas for science fun with eye droppers? There are several ways that kids can play with eye droppers. We used both regular eye droppers left over from liquids and also a child-size one that we found at a toy store which holds more and is easier for little fun with eye droppers

Playing in water is appealing for all kids. Either with a sink of warm water or just a bowl of water at a table or counter, kids can pinch and squeeze to fill up the eye dropper and then squirt it into small plastic containers of various sizes. This is fun to do with toy dishes or empty bottles. This can also be done outside on a patio or deck.

science fun with eye droppersFreeze some water in a few containers or ice cube trays. Pop the ice cubes or blocks into a plastic tray and let kids squirt them with warm water to help them melt. This is especially fun on to do outside on a hot day and kids discover that the ones they squirt melt faster.

science fun with eye droppersUsing a larger chunk of ice, the size of a sandwich container, kids can sprinkle a little salt on the top. Mix some different colors of water and food coloring and kids can squirt these onto the ice block. The salt melts down the ice and the colors go deep into the block.

Instead of salt, sprinkle some baking soda into a shallow tray or muffin cups. Squirts of vinegar make little volcanoes bubbling and flowing all around.

Not only are these ideas for science fun with eye droppers easy and simple, they are also very inexpensive. This activity from Learning 4 Kids used recycled bottle caps. Both Big Sister and Little Sister tried to fill the lids, although Little Sister traded her eye dropper for a spoon. Can you suggest some other activities with eye droppers?

Follow this series of science play-of-the-day activities.

Science Fun for Young Kids: Blowing Bubbles

Blowing Bubbles for Easy Science Fun   Science fun for young kids can be easy, simple, and ordinary. Unfortunately, many of us avoid doing science with kids in case we make a mistake or a mess. But kids are natural scientists, exploring, discovering, and experimenting. We can build on what they are already doing. During … Continue reading Science Fun for Young Kids: Blowing Bubbles

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #15

Rapunzel Science Play-of-the-Day The story of Rapunzel can inspire a science experiment with hair for a play-of-the-day. All of us can do magic with our very own hair. Rapunzel is a beautiful baby stolen by a witch. In some versions she is a princess and her hair has magical properties. In others, her mother has … Continue reading March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #15

Valentine Science Fun with Frozen Magnets

Valentines is about friendship and magnets really like certain metals. For valentines, how about a magnet and science play-of-the-day? Since February is still winter in many places, these magnets are frozen in ice. Will they still work? Does the ice make any difference? Before doing this, I froze magnets in containers just a little bigger … Continue reading Valentine Science Fun with Frozen Magnets

New Year’s Eve Bubbly, Fizz and Dancing Fun for Kids

While adults have champagne for New Year’s Eve, kids can have their own bubbly with some baking soda and vinegar that absolutely fizzes with fun! Just make sure you don’t get any glasses mixed up! Thank you to Liam and his mom at Little Bins for Little Hands for this sparkling idea and inspiration. Supplies … Continue reading New Year’s Eve Bubbly, Fizz and Dancing Fun for Kids