I am so excited to share this post with you! Have you visited Animal Jam Academy with your kids yet? It’s this awesome online platform for kids where you can learn all about animals, be inspired by science and technology and engage in amazing design and engineering ideas. I am seriously into this site. I am always look for new and innovative ways to bring STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) into the lives of my children and the children in our community. Science is a perfect match for a child’s quest for knowledge and natural sense of wonder and curiosity. It is so fantastic to see companies reach out to children in a safe way that parents can feel comfortable with. Animal Jam Academy is an extension of National Geographic Kid’s webiste called Animal Jam. I really encourage you to check it out. In the meantime, here’s how we were inspired to bring STEAM into our lives. It’s SCIENCE LAB time!
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I started with a very simple set up. In a large tub from Ikea I poured in a few boxes of baking soda. I happen to have had some corn meal laying around from the dollar store so I figured why not, I’ll pour some of that in too. Science is all about experimenting! Then I added different color drops of food coloring all around the mixture. A drop here, a drop there. Around the outside of the tub I put spray bottles with different colored water and several bottles of lemon juice and vinegar in squeeze bottles. Of course I added in our favorite toy for imaginative play just for good measure. We had a Science Lab sign hanging over the doorway to make it all very official. It’s amazing what a little sign can do.
We did this at play group so lots of kids could participate in our science exploration. Though I set up a bunch of different stations, almost all the kids were immediately drawn to the Science Lab. They loved squeezing the bottles over and over again into the tub and mixing the concoction with different spoons. The vinegar caused the mixture to bubble and fizz, which the kids loved. The birds added a great element of imaginative play. Soon the mixture became a bird bath filled with bubbling rainbow shampoo.
Before long the kids discovered that the mixture made a really cold interesting “clay” that felt great to touch. They passed it around, mushed it in their hands and before long their feet were inside it too. I always say the measure of a successful activity, is if someone ends up in a bucket or tub.
Gigi was the oldest play group member (3). She could have squirted the vinegar and lemon juice on the baking soda for hours. She was fascinated by the bubbles and fizz. I think the ideal age for this activity is 3-5, though the little ones definitely loved it too. The older the kids, the more questions you can ask, and conversations you can facilitate. There is a science tab on the Animal Jam Academy site with tons of science minded inspiration. It would be fun to create a science lab based on one of the topics there and then check the site for more information. Hmm…that gives me an idea. Stay tuned! I love introducing basic science concepts to young children. Kids are natural investigators. Science feeds their never ending curiosity in a rich and organic way.
After everyone left play group my girls decided to get right in the science bucket. YAY! Success! Our science exploration lasted another messy hour and they couldn’t have been happier. This is just one way to set up a science lab. There are so many ways to do this. Stay tuned for more ways to set up and use a homemade science lab for kids. Thank you Animal Jam for inspiring us to bring science into our lives. I am holding onto our science lab sign and will definitely be bringing it out on the regular. This was awesome!
This post was sponsored by Animal Jam.