Make a Shaving Cream Rain Cloud

 

If you’re a regular here, you know that we’ve been studying clouds lately.  We had so much fun with our earlier experiment, creating a cloud in a jar, that the kids couldn’t wait to make it rain with their very own shaving cream rain cloud the next day

 

Make it rain with your own shaving cream cloud!

 

Materials Needed to Create Shaving Cream Rain Cloud:

 

To create your cloud, fill your clear container partially with water.  (About half full worked well for us.)

Then spray your shaving cream “cloud” on top of the water.

how to make a shaving cream cloud

 

Once your cloud is formed, use the eye dropper to drip your liquid watercolors (or food coloring) onto the cloud.  (This is a great opportunity to talk about how clouds can only hold so much liquid.  As water droplets bump together and get larger, they eventually get too heavy for the cloud and fall as rain.)

I asked the kids to predict how many drops their cloud would be able to hold before it “rained.”  Then they counted carefully to see if their predictions were right.

making a shaving cream cloud

 

 

Eventually, we were able to see our own rain shower!

how to make rain with a shaving cream cloud

 

 

We had so much fun learning about clouds, I am sure the rest of our weather unit is sure to be a hit!

 

 

 

Spring Break Activities for Kids

 

Looking for some new kid-friendly activities for spring break?  Here are some fun (and free) spring activities to do with the kids.

list of free spring break activities for kids

 

Go on a nature walk.  Look for signs of spring.  Are there tulips blooming?  Tree buds?

Start some seeds indoors.  Plant a few small seeds in a paper cup with soil, or try some of these other terrific seed activities for kids from How Wee Learn. 

As long as your planting seeds, why not create a mini garden the kids can take care of?

Pack a picnic lunch, grab a blanket and head to the park.

After that picnic, take a moment to lay back and check out the clouds together.  What do you see?  Bunnies?  Cars?  A princess in the sky?

While you’re at it, check out a new park.  We were super excited when we discovered one 40 minutes from us with a petting farm, tractor rides, and a pretty neat play ground to boot!

Want to hang out at home?  Get out the sidewalk chalk and get artistic!  Tired of just drawing with it?  Try some of these fun sidewalk chalk ideas.

Create your own fairy garden using recyclables.

Build a birdhouse.

One thing my father-in-law looks forward to each spring is taking the kids kite flying.  Don’t have a kite?  Check out these directions from East Coast Mommy and let the kids decorate and make their own paper bag kites!

Blow bubbles.  Sometimes it’s the simple things!

How about a bike ride?  Pedal around the neighborhood or check out a local bike trail together.

Hunt for a good tree and let them climb!

Have a creek nearby?  Go wade in the creek, or just toss rocks in if it’s too cold to get wet.  (It always amazes me  how long my son is content to just toss rocks into the creek.)

If you’re feeling really adventurous, pick up a few of the bigger rocks to see what creatures may be hiding!  (Keep in mind, that snakes like to hide under rocks, so be careful!)

Set up a tent and camp out.  Even if you don’t stay in it all night, the kids will have a blast with it during the day.  (You could even set it up inside if the weather isn’t cooperating!)

Rainy day?  If it’s warm enough and it’s not a thunderstorm, grab the raincoats and boots and go puddle jumping!

Or, let the rain inspire some learning!  Here are 12 Hands-on-Weather Activities from Kids Activities Blog that are sure to get the kids excited about weather.

 

What fun activities are you looking forward to doing with the kids during spring break?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

Early Reading Scavenger Hunt

 

 

I love to read.  My husband loves to read.  Our son loves books and is excited to finally be starting to read.

The other day my daughter caught me off guard with, “Mommy, I hate just sitting and trying to sound out words.”

I could have panicked, I mean, how can she hate reading?  But then I realized something…she is a mover!  She didn’t say she hated reading, just that she hates “just sitting” and trying to sound out the words.  So lately our reading has incorporated a lot more movement.

This week we had a reading scavenger hunt,  a simple idea that helps make learning to read more fun!

 

simple scavenger hunt to practice reading skills

 

 

Yes, we’ve had scavenger hunts before.  I used to draw the clues for them when they were younger.   But for some reason I haven’t done one with written clues before.  Sometimes you just need inspiration to remember those simple ideas!

 

While the kids were otherwise entertained, I jotted down very simple clues on Post-It Notes, and then quickly hid them in the appropriate spots.

I left the first clue on the kitchen table, where I was sure it would be found.

getting kids excited to read with a scavenger hunt

 

At first my daughter told me, “I can’t read this.”

But eventually curiosity got the best of her, and she started sounding out the unknown words, and she found the next clue.

reading scavenger hunt -- getting kids excited to read

 

With each clue she got a little more confident in herself.

With each clue I saw a little spark, a light if you will, going on when it came to reading.

 

reading scavenger hunt idea

 

This time around I used very simple clues, but this idea could easily be adapted for older children to give them more of a challenge.

And, since it’s a scavenger hunt, don’t forget the “treasure” at the end!  (We were working on a gingerbread man book at the time, so our treasure was a few small gingerbread man-shaped marshmallows I had hidden in the pantry.)

 

I’d love to hear how you’ve made reading fun for the kids!  Leave a comment below, because we are all in this together!

 

 

Science of Sledding

 

Snow means sledding!  Not only is sledding fun, but with each giggle and grin as the kids fly down the hills, there’s also an opportunity to talk about the science of sledding.

Science of Sledding

 

Just What Is the Science of Sledding?

For starters, as the kids sit in the sled at the top of the hill, there’s potential energy.  With a push it suddenly becomes kinetic energy as the sled starts to fly down hill.

Then there’s Newton’s first law of motion.  It states that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force.  This is easy for even very young kids to understand as they sit at the top of the hill, waiting patiently (or not so patiently) and not moving until mom or dad gives them that little push.  I repeated Newton’s law several times for my children as they waited for that push on our last sledding excursion.  By then end of the day they were quoting it right back to me.

Newton’s first law also states an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force.

I asked the kids what they thought could make the sled stop.  They both mentioned that running into something would make it stop.  (One of my son’s favorite ways to stop, no doubt.)  We talked about how the grass poking up from the snow could also affect the sled.

Which brings me to friction.  Sledding is a perfect hands-on opportunity to talk about friction!  They both noticed that the sled stopped faster if it ran over a lot of grass or the rope that was tied to the sled versus just running over the smooth snow.  It wasn’t hard for them to figure out that the snow caused less friction than the grass.  You could easily take it a step further and challenge older kids to try to find ways to further reduce friction on the sled.  Could rubbing wax on the bottom of the sled help?

After an hour or so of sledding, we threw in one more bit of science.  I challenged them to try different positions on the sled to see if how they sat on the sled would affect how far it went.  We had some crazy positions!

It didn’t take long for them to figure out that if they laid flat on the sled they would go further than if they sat up.

science of sledding -- what makes the sled go further?

It was easy for me to tie this into my son’s favorite thing:  cars!  We talked about race cars and what his fastest Hot Wheels look like and that by laying down on the sleds they were cutting down on the wind resistance.

By then it was time to go in for some much deserved hot chocolate!

 

The next time you have snow, be sure to check out some of the science of sledding with the kids!

 

 

And when the temps dip below freezing, explore a bit of freezing science, too!