Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Science of Kitchen


By Rachel Goodchild

CHILDREN enjoy learning new things, and the kitchen can be just as instructive as the classroom. Turning your kitchen into a makeshift laboratory doesn’t have to involve test tubes and white coats.

Using everyday pantry items and with you playing the part of Laboratory Assistant, handling the hot and trickier parts, you can create fun, educational, spectacular experiments, which will wow your children and lay the foundation for an interest in science and problem solving. Here are a few you can try at home:

The Milk Trick
(milk, food colouring, washing up liquid)
Pour some full fat milk into the base of a dinner plate so that it covers the bottom. Using a couple of colours, drop a little food colouring into the milk around the edge. The kids can dot it around, making little patterns in the milk. Make sure the milk stays in drops, no mixing. Now give them teaspoon with a little washing up liquid on it and get them to dribble it into the milk at the edge of the plate, near a spot of food colouring. Watch the patterns swirl!

Kitchen Bubbles
(washing up liquid, cornflour, bendy wire or an old coat hanger)
Measure and mix together 6 cups of water, 2 cups of washing up liquid and ¾ cup of corn syrup in a large bowl. Let it sit for around 4 hours and then put it into a shallow dish. Bend the wire into any closed shapes to use as bubble wands (leaving a little handle for little hands to hold). At this stage it is advisable to move outside! Now get the kids dips their wands in the mixture and wave them through the air to make magical bubbles.

Melting Moments
(balloons, a large container)
Fill balloons with water to different sizes, adding a little food colouring if you have some, and freeze them overnight. Peel the balloons off the ice shapes and let your child play with them in a large container as they melt. You can experiment with ideas such as whether your child will think they will float and what makes them melt faster. When you are done, have a cosy hot chocolate together to warm those little fingers and talk about your experiment…

(4 cups flour, 1 ½ cup salt, 1 cup water and some food colouring)
Mix the flour and the salt together in a large bowl and add ½ cup of water and stir it together for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining water gradually while you continue to mix. Make the dough into a big ball and knead it for 5 minutes, adding food colouring if you desire. And now the fun begins! Let the children mould and shape the clay with their hands or with cookie cutters. Put the finished creations on a foil covered baking tray and bake at 120 degrees Celsius for approximately 5 minutes (for 3 cm sized pieces). Once the masterpieces have cooled down, let the children paint them with acrylics to make them really come alive!

That sucks!
(a hard-boiled, peeled egg, a bottle with a neck slightly smaller than the diameter of the egg, boiling water, oil)
This experiment will have your little charges believing that you a magician. Place the bottle on a tray for safety, and pour some freshly boiled water into it. Very quickly place the boiled egg over the top of the bottle and stand back! The egg should get magically sucked into the bottle, demonstrating how cooling air shrinks and catapulting you into Wizard status.

Now grab a book and a cup of tea and leave the children to work out how to get the egg back out without breaking the bottle.

The art of parenting
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

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