Idea No.

11744

Science Theme -6yr- Wacky Experiments Book

Award

Date

August 2005

From

Tricia in Auburn, GA  United States

Runner-Up

Science Party

I had a science themed party for my son's 6th birthday.  He is very into science and specifically asked for a molecule party, but we broadened the horizon's a bit. 

I made the invitations using clear contact paper, red card stock paper, a hole punch and computer.  I made a template in the shape of a beaker. I printed the invitation information on the red card stock paper. I then cut out the red paper to fill the bottom of the beaker. and placed it on contact paper.  I used a hole punch to make red cirlces (to look like gas bubbles floating up) and stuck them to the contact paper.  Then I placed another piece of contact paper of the top to hold it together.  I traced the beaker shape using a permanent marker and cut it out. I made sure they would fit into greeting card envelopes (the smaller kind).  Everyone loved them.  On the invitation I wrote "Come to Bryce's science lab and help him celebrate his 6th birthday".  

I used white kitchen sized garbage bags to make lab coats.  This was an inexpensive way to create them, and was very practical because it kept the kids clothes clean from "chemicals" that were used at the party.  I cut a half circle hole for the head, half circles for the arms.  Then I drew a line down the front and buttons next to it (using black permanent marker).  I also drew a pocket on the side with a pen in it, and wrote the kids names on them (i.e. Professor Bryce, Dr. John, etc).  I purchased black party glasses with the noses and mustaches for less than $1 each at the party store.  Before kids could enter the science lab I told them they needed proper clothing and that's when I brought out the coats and glasses (my husband and I had already had on real lab coats and glasses at that time).  I made sure to take a picture right away of the kids since I didn't know how long they would keep their clothing on.    As the kids were arriving, I had a video playing of the eruption of Mount Saint Helens.  This gave them something to do until we could start the party.   

Then my husband and I worked together as the scientists to do some experiments with all the kids together.  We talked about solid, liquid and gases, using those forms of water (later they would get to experiment with solids and liquids at a station).  We did an experiment testing acids and bases using the purple juice from a cooked purple cabbage as the PH indicator.  We tested : baking soda, lemon juice, soap (oyxclean), salt, cream of tarter, and vinegar.  I had the kids take turns putting the dropper of the indicator in and as a group we all determined if it was an acid or a base.  We talked about chemical reactions of acids and bases and made a volcano erupt (with vinegar and baking soda).  

Then we split into the groups for the stations (no more than 2 at each station- and I had 7 set up with an adult at each one).  I also gave the kids a card which I had made on the computer with card stock. I put cirlces on it and inside each circle was the name of the stations.  When the kids completed a station, the adult helping would give them a star on the circle so we all knew when they had done finished them all.  I made signs on the computer for each station with pictures to represent them as well (for more appeal, and to help the kids who could not yet read)  The stations set up were:

1. Sink or float- I had a clear bin half full of water, with a container of items next to it.  The kids had to guess if each one would sink or float.  The adult working at this station wrote their guesses on a dry erase board, where I had already made a chart on it listing each item and columns for sink or float.  I drew simple pictures of the items, so the kids who could not read could figure it out. 

2.  Lava, Lava, Everywhere - the kids made their own "lava lamp".  I saved the larger size baby food jars.  We filled them half way (I put water in a smaller container so the kids could do their own pouring),  then they chose a color (food coloring) that they wanted and put 1-2 drops in.  Then the filled the rest of the jar up with cooking oil.  The best part was when the sprinkled salt on the top- once the salt absorbed the oil, it became too heavy to float and sank the the bottom in the form of a "blob" like lava!  This can be repeated as often as they want, and the kids got to take their jar home. 

3.  Rocket Power- I went to a photo developing center and they gave me empty film canisters- Fuji works best for this.  I wrapped light weight cardboard around the tops to look like a cone and taped it to the canister ahead of time.  I also made wings and taped them ahead of time. I got colored duct tape and stickers and at this station the kids all decorated their own rocket (we launched them off after everyone was done with their stations- by putting 1/2 tsp of baking soda in the cap and a teaspoon of vinegar in the canister and putting the lid on quickly- the gas forms inside and the rocket blasts off.  We even did a couple at the same time to see which one would go higher.  The kids loved this.  They got to take their rocket home too). 

4.  Solid or Liquid?- I made goop using 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water.  I also added green food coloring for effect.  I put it in a pan on the floor with plastic paper underneath.  The kids had to guess if they thought it was  solid, liquid or both- this substance acts as both, so it's a trick question.  The little kids loved playing in this as did all the kids. 

5.  Molecule Madness- I used DOTS (candy) and toothpicks and the kids got to create their own molecular shape.  I had large storage bags for them to take it home in (if they didn't eat it before they left!)  

6.  Magnet Mania- I put a bucket of items (some that would stick and some that would not).  I made a chart on a black board with all the items (and drew simple pictures) and wrote "yes" and "no".  The kids guessed if an item would stick or not and then the adult tally marked on the chart.  7. Microscope Up-close:  A friend of mine that came had a nice microscope that connects to a computer.  The kids got to look at their cheek cells, pieces of wood, a leaf, insects and other items. 

The Volcano cake- I made 2 chocolate cake mixes and baked them in various sized round pans (9", 8" and round bowl).  I layered them and frosted between layers.  Then I cut a whole in the middle and put a small clear cup/dish in the middle.  I frosted the dish to hide it and the rest of the outside of the cake. I crushed up oreo cookies to look like chunks of rock.  Used red fruit roll-ups and trailed them down the side to look like lava.  I got sparkler candles (only found them at Michaels) and put dry ice in the cup.  When we sang happy birthday I added hot water to the dry ice and it looked so neat!  The kids practically stopped singing they were in such awe of the volcano erupting. 

The decorations - I used silver table clothes, and got lime green balloons and silver balloons to put up.  I printed a banner on the computer that said "Bryce's science lab".  I put a sign on the door that said "Ooze into Bryce's Lab".  On the main table I put beakers with colored water in some and dry ice in others- the kids loved the dry ice!  I put up silver stars in different sizes, and some spiraly silver decorations - kind of looked like DNA or a tornado.  All the plates, cups, napkins were either silver or green. 

The food - I had the party in the morning so I didn't supply a meal.  But did have snacks.  I got honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and watermelon and used a melon baller to make them look like atoms and called it a molecule fruit salad.  We had fresh veggies and dip, and pretzels, and the cake.  Another big hit was the punch- called it slime!  I used lemon-lime kool-aid (with half the sugar) and a pint of lime sherbet.  It tasted very good and everyone loved it. 

The Goody bags- The kids got to keep their lab coats, glasses, rockets, lava jars. In addition I put in pencils that had the solar system on it. I found pop rocks that came in a kit called "Science laboratory experiment" and it came with a test tube and other ingredients to make a neat experiment with the pop rocks.  I also made up a book that said "Wacky Science Experiments" and I put about 10 activities they could do at home, including how to launch their rocket, make more lava, and make the goop recipe, as well as some others.  I have a book binding maching so I put it together myself, but any copy store or mail box store will do this as well.  I did it on half size paper- using green cardstock for the cover and back.  Everyone loved that they could have their own science book- and I got feedback from parents later that their child was doing experiments the rest of the weekend!  This was a great party and everyone loved it (parents and kids!)

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