Investigating Bubbles

Posted: April 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Child Care Providers, News, Science | No Comments »

IMG_3642Who doesn’t love bubbles, little orbs floating in the air, colors swirling on their surfaces, the fleeting moments you have to watch them before they pop into thin air? Not only are bubbles fun, they are a wonderful medium for experimentation and were the topic of our latest science training “Investigating Bubbles.”

Most people I know have had only a limited experience with the many ways to play with bubbles.  They might have used a variety of bubble wands or an automated bubble blower, but most have never made a bubble wall with a dowel rod and two pieces of string or blown bubbles right on the table with a straw.


Using everyday, inexpensive items from around the house, there are endless creative ways to experiment with bubbles. Basically any object with a hole can be used, cookie cutters, rubber bands, pieces of string, cardboard tubes, funnels, even a Slinky…the list goes on and on.

The biggest hit of the night was being able to hold a bubble in your hand, and all you need is a winter knitted glove, the kind you can find for $1. With gloves on you can hold and bounce a bubble in your hand! The other secret to holding bubbles is to make your own bubble solution. It is so much better than the store bought kind. It will also make longer lasting bubbles if you make it ahead of time and let the solution sit for at least a day.

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Ultimate Bubble Recipe

1 gallon water

1 cup Dawn or Joy Dishwashing Liquid

1/8 cup of Glycerin (found at drug stores



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Early Childhood Science

Posted: December 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »


Water Drops on Wax Paper

Posted: February 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

As with most quality science experiences, the materials are simple (water, wax paper, toothpicks and food coloring), but the science learning is complex. Look at the concentration on this child’s face.

On wax paper, water will bead up into a dome. Water will cling to a finger, straw, or toothpick and can be led around to join other drops and make big drops or break large drops into smaller ones.

Try placing a simple maze underneath and challenge the children to move the water through it, or try moving the water in other ways such as shifting the paper or blowing on the drops. Use different colors of water so they can join the drops to mix colors. Try drops of other liquids such as oil or soap, and see how they are different. Try drops of water on other materials such as regular paper, aluminum foil or fabric and see what the water does.

This type of activity engages children, because water is something they are so familiar with and yet in this setting, they are surprised by what it can do. By providing a variety of materials to explore, you can use the same basic activity but add something different everyday to extend the learning and deepen the understanding.


Posted: February 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Child Care Providers, News, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Check out this newsletter from The Louisville Science Center on fun science activities to do together! 

Early Childhood Newsletter 3

Frost Paint

Posted: January 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Want to add a little science to your art? Try making Frost Paint! The recipe is simple –water and Epsom salt- but the result is amazing. Crystals will form right before your eyes!

Add ½ cup Epsom Salt (found in the pharmacy section) to ½ cup boiling water. That’s it! Boiling the water is the key to make sure the salt dissolves completely in the water.

  • Draw a picture on a piece of colored construction paper.
  • Paint over it with your Frost Paint.
  • When it dries, the water will evaporate and leave the long, thin Epsom salt crystals. It will look like frost on your drawing.
  • Do some experimenting. Try it with a larger amount of salt in the water. How is the result different?
  • Try adding food coloring to the water. Do you think it will make colored crystals?
  • What do you think would happen with table salt or rock salt? Try it!

Ice Explorations

Posted: January 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Ice explorations are wonderful science experiments for children. Watching something change through freezing and thawing, adding salt to alter the way it melts, and dripping colored water on it to see the path the drips take, all provide engaging ways for children to play with science. Try freezing small objects in ice cubes and give children tools to free them (be sure to use goggles!). Try freezing water in large containers such as an orange juice carton or water balloon so children can see the air bubbles trapped in the middle, or try freezing water in unusual shapes by using a rubber glove or other plastic molds. By adding droppers for children to transfer colored water, you are also providing an activity that strengthens fine motor skills.

Easy Homemade Play Dough

Posted: December 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: | No Comments »

What you need:

•1 cup flour

•½ cup salt

•1 cup water

•1 tablespoon cooking oil

•food coloring or tempera

Optional: 1 tablespoon cream of tartar or alum

(Cream of tartar gives the play dough a silky texture. Alum is a preservative that will allow your play dough to be kept longer.)

What you do:

Mix all of the solids in a bowl. Mix all of the liquids in a sauce pan. Add the solid mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick like clay. Let it cool, and it’s ready to use. Store in an air tight container. Try adding glitter or sand for texture.

Building with Gum Drops

Posted: December 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Want to try an unconventional building material for play? Gum drops, marshmallows, thin pretzel sticks, spaghetti and straws are all great building materials that challenge children to try making structures in a new way.  The softness of the gum drops and marshmallows make them easy to work with as connectors, and the ability to break or cut the pretzels, spaghetti and straws means that children can easily adjust how long they want the pieces to be.

Besides being fun, working with unconventional materials helps children to add more experimentation to their building play. Sometimes a small marshmallow is better than a large one, and although spaghetti is lighter, it also breaks easier than straws or pretzels. This encourages problems solving skills and achieving success through trial and error. In addition to being great for learning, their structures are also delicious!

Wrapping Paper Tubes Make Great Ramps!

Posted: November 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

With the holiday season upon us, it is the perfect time to collect empty gift wrapping tubes to use at home or in the classroom. Have you ever put your ear up to one? The tubes are great for exploring sound and can also be fun to explore looking through, but perhaps my favorite use for cardboard tubes is making ramps!

Simply cut the tube in half down its length, and voila, you’ve created an instant ramp ready for cars, balls or anything else you want to try. Use a little masking tape to secure it to something tall like a chair or shelves and watch how far the ball rolls. Try changing the height and see if you can get the ball to roll farther. Try taping more tubes together to make an even longer ramp. Slide it through a shorter tube to make a tunnel. The possibilities for experimentation are endless!

Toddler Science: It’s Never too Early to Start Exploring!

Posted: November 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: News, Science | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

It could be argued that toddlers are almost always doing science…listening to sounds as they bang two blocks together, playing in the sink as they “wash their hands,” exploring the textures of food and toys, or watching what happens when they drop something over and over again.

For young children, science is learned through play, hands-on, open exploration of things they can look at, touch, smell, hear and sometimes taste. Science is often best when it relates directly to their world (rocks, leaves, water, worms, clouds) instead of topics they usually have had no experience with (rain forests, oceans, space).

Science is also best when adults can see the world from a toddler perspective and understand what they might find interesting…adding sand to homemade play dough to change the texture, switching out water toys to give a new way to pour, providing a bunch of cardboard boxes for stacking and hiding things in, or collecting bugs in containers so they can look more closely.

We have a lot to learn from toddlers. Every day is a new day, full of wonder and curiosity. They are fascinated by all of the small things adults take for granted…the feel of sand pouring between your fingers, a butterfly landing on a flower, the zooming sound of cars going down the road.

The way to lead great science explorations with toddlers is to rediscover your own wonder about the world. Get in touch with your inner toddler…pay attention to sounds and textures, play with water the next time you wash your hands, ask questions, model curiosity and excitement, notice how things roll and move. Science does not have to be complicated. All you need to do is explore the world along with them.

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