Crafty Experiments for Kids - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
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Crafty Experiments for Kids

{photo by Sarah at Little Bins for Little Hands}

Hello! We are so happy you stopped by Down Home on this first Monday of the holiday break! 

Today we are thrilled to have guest blogger Jeannett Gibson share some super-fun ideas you can use when you find that the kiddos need something to do. Jeannett and her husband Andy are a first year family on Track A, with two of their four children at SLOCA – Henry (Intermediate) and Lucy (Primary), plus Jill and Owen at home. So you know she’s one busy mama who has learned how to keep a household of active kids engaged and occupied! Jeannett is also our Lab @ SLOCA Developer, which means this post is right up her alley – fun with STEM! Thank you for putting together the following ideas, Jeannett!

As we officially begin our well-deserved three week break, it might seem counter intuitive to then post a list of HERE'S SOME MORE STUFF YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR KIDS!!!  I don't know about the rest of you, but I need this holiday break as much as the kids do (maybe more?).  But the truth is, that sooner rather than later, the kids will start whining about boredom, begging for too many hours of screen time, or, if the promised rain becomes a reality, have a California version of cabin fever (which sets in at about 2.7 hours cooped inside, from my experience).

Over the years, I've done many a craft with my kids, but I've found that they love a good science-y type experiment too.  The nice thing about experimentation is that artistic ability isn't required (how many of you have found yourselves finishing up a kid craft because it got “too hard”, meanwhile the kids are loooong gone?), and also….when the experiment is done, YOU GET TO THROW EVERYTHING AWAY.  

My fridge can only take so much art, people.

{photos, clockwise from left, by: Sarah at Little Bins for Little Hands, Sweet and Simple Things, Crystal at Growing a Jeweled Rose}

Making slime of any kind makes me a little nervous.  Add glitter to it and I might break out in hives.  But the instructions seem pretty straight forward and as un-messy as glittery slime can be.  This is a definite on our list this break. Mostly because I know I'll earn Mom Points for this one.  I'll let you know how it goes.

We've made borax based crystals before, but this is a fun twist on a classic.  Make a bunch and hang them in a window and watch them twinkle in the sunlight!

California kids don't get to see snow very often, so this sparkle snow recipe would make a fun substitute in a pinch.  I'd probably make my kids do this outside though.  I have a sneaking suspicion this one could get messy.


{photo by Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures}

What could possibly be cooler than Dissolving Candy Canes?!  My kids and I just love these types of science experiments.  They love seeing the reactions, theorizing why one liquid worked faster than another, and more often than not, the experiment continues for hours as they keep trying other items to dissolve and other liquids they find around the house.  I love it because it's foolproof and the set up couldn't be easier!


{photo by Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures}

And of course, no STEM holiday craft activity would be complete without a gumdrop and toothpick structure (you can also use mini marshmallows!).  This works great for all ages, from the littlest preschoolers, to big kids who can be as intricate as their imaginations!


{photo by Jeannett Gibson}

Last, but not least, is what I call the Go Outside And Be Scientists game.  A thinly veiled way to keep the kids occupied so I can read a book, surf the net, use the bathroom in solitude, or JUST GIVE ME A MINUTE TO THINK, I set my kids off with mostly free reign to mix, concoct, and mess make.  You'll always find a gallon of white vinegar and a 13 pound bag of baking soda in my pantry (thank you sweet heavens for Costco), partially for cooking, but mostly for mess making.  The only rules are: 1) experiments happen outside; 2) clean up when you are done.  The kids raid my mason jar/flower vase stash, they peruse the fridge and pantry for additional ingredients, they scour the yard for rocks and sand and leaves.  And left to their own devices, I overhear conversations hypothesizing “what happens if we put it in the tall, skinny vase?…how about the big, wide bowl?…what if we heat up the vinegar in the microwave first?…if we add sugar, does it change anything?…what about salt?…do you think ants would be attracted to this?…let's count how long until the bubbles fade…”  This play goes on for hours, and little bodies fly in and out of the house for supplies: mixing bowls, jars, measuring cups, “mom can we use your cooking thermometer???!!!!“, eggs, and lots of other things that make me cringe on the inside, but smile on the outside.  It's messy.  It's more or less unsupervised.  It's fun.  And I'm pretty sure they're learning.  Even if my dishwasher is suddenly super full afterwards.

Do you have any fun science projects your kids love to do?  I'd love to know what they are! Leave a comment below.


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