Mad for Science -8yr- Scientist Names
Katherine in Walnut Creek, CA USA
This was a wildly successful party. I did do a lot, but it could definitely be pared down to one's own tastes. I am listing all of our activities anyway so that you'd have some ideas to choose from. I spent about a full year research all of these ideas, so hopefully, you won't have to reinvent the wheel.
Invitations: I found a cartoon clip art of a scientist holding test tubes and added large googly eyes for the eyes and clear dimensional glue to add bubbles coming from the test tube. I mounted these onto already prepared cards and inside attached another card with the party information.
Activities and Set Up: When the children arrived, each got a small brown handle bag, with their name on it, containing a lab coat and goggles. I found a web-site with disposable lab coats with chest pockets and ribbing at the wrist (about $1.50 a piece). They were adult sized so I purchased size small. I made name badges for each child and attached them to the breast of the lab coat. The badges had Professor X with the child's name (eg. Professor Michael Smith). I used the adhesive pin backs (sold at craft stores) on cardstock that I put through the computer so that they would look like real badges. The party helpers, including me, my husband, my father-in-law and some high school students that I hired to help each had a lab coat with name tags such as Ana Bolic" and "Poly Mer" . We also had a "Victor Frankenstein" and such.
After donning their coat and goggles the children went into the "Science Lab". I had hired a few high school students for some extra help but a lot of it the kids got on their own. I had set up four long tables and covered each with a silver plastic table skirt and silver plastic table cloth. These made the tables look like the counters you might see in a lab. Each table/area had a theme: Optical Illusions Wacky Weather and Disasters Experiments in Energy and Cool Chemical Reactions.
The Optical Illusions Table had lots of Optical Illusion Pictures to look at with a little explanation for why our eyes see what they do. I also had a Praxinoscope (one of those things that you put pictures onto and spin so that they look like they are moving). We had one from Amazon.com (about $16 I think). I had paper that the kids could make their own "movie" to spin on the Praxinoscope too. I also had 3-D glasses with a bunch of 3-D pictures and 3-D paper that you draw on normally then look at with 3-D glasses to see your picture in 3-D (Amazon). I also purchased kaleidoscope making kits from Oriental Trading (about $12 for 12 so that each child could make their own kaleidoscope. We also had different types of refraction glasses and I put a lamp on the table so that the children could experiment with different types of the glasses and different types of light. The brown paper bags that originally held their goggles and coats were used throughout the party to carry their take-home items.
The Wacky Weather and Disasters table had a volcano that we had made out of paper mache and paint. I mixed vinegar with red food coloring and put baking sode into a small portion cup at the top hole of the volcano. Then each child could set off the volcano by squirting the vinegar (in a squirt bottle) into the baking soda. We also had make-your-own snow. I found boxes of the snow-stuff at the dollar store but it is pretty widely available now. If you have trouble finding it SteveSpanglerScience.com has a lot of great items such as this. I divided the "snow" (actually a polymer) into little portion cups. The kids added water and--instant snow flowed up and out of the cups. We also had a tornado-in-a bottle and a Cartesian Diver experiment.
The tornado-in-a-bottles are availabe at SteveSpanglerScience.com and many other places. I bought the multi-pack of the Cartesian Diver set so that each child could make one to take home. The diver set I used was the Squiddy one at Steve Spangler's website. They were glow in the dark and very inexpensive.We also had a thunder in a tube (Scholastic.com) a "Fountain In a Bottle" (Steve Spangler) and a Hand Boiler (Steve Spangler). Our Energy table was very busy. We had batteries clips and fanslights etc. . .so that the children could experiment with what combinations would say make a light bulb light or a fan spin. We experiment with wind-energy using balloon cars (you know the little plastic ones from the party store where you blow up the balloon and it makes the little car go. I got a bunch from Oriental Trading (about 50 cents or less) and each child took one hom. We also had various types of magnets for magnetic energy experiments.
Finally our Cool Chemical Reactions table was cool indeed. I found a recipe for silly putty and one for slime and the children could make some of each to take home. I had all different colors (including one that made the slime glow-in-the-dark) for them to add. The silly putty went into plastic easter eggs after (just like real silly putty) and the slime was transported home in portion cups. You can purchase slime kits with everything you need from Steve Spangler if you don't want to gather everything for this. For the second part of the party I hired Mad Science to come entertain with an interactive Chemistry Show. But the kids didn't want to leave the lab area that I had set up. They were having too much fun. The Mad Science show ended up being great but I definitely had enough experiments so that we could have done without them in the end.
After Mad Science it was time for pizza and cake. Unbelieveably no stores/bakeries had a science cake. So I had Safeway create a dinosaur cake (minus the dinosaurs) and made a chocolate volcano (using the plastic volcano mold in a kit--use before making the volcano). Just melt chocolate and paint the inside of the mold. If you want to get a little fancy you could drizzle some colored white chocolate down the sides for "lava" first. Then let it cool and remove it from the mold. It was so simple I surprised myself. I put the chocolate volcano on top of the cake and used sparkler candles. Just for grins I also made an exploding volcano cake using the cake mold for one of those barbie doll cakes (it is the skirt of the doll). I frosted the cake with chocolate and used redorange and yellow frosting for the lava coming down. Then I put a tube in the center of the cake (pushed all the way down). I loaded it with dry-ice then when we were ready I poured marshmallow fluff mixed with red food coloring then hot water. It made the cake explode with lava--very cool.
For drinks I made a made scientist punch with neon green Kool Aid 7-Up and dry ice. The party tables were set with orange table cloths with bouquets of neon green and orange balloons down the middle. I used neon green plates and cups and plastic silver forks/knives/spoons. In between the balloon bouquets I put molecule models that my son and father-in-law made using painted styrofoam balls and pipecleaners. Around the room I had signs that I had made such as a caution sign that read: "Caution! Mad Scientists At Work Explosions May Occur". As the goodie bags the kids had the items they had made (they also made floam with Mad Science) and some inexpensive science I had gotten wholesale online. Everyone is still talking about the party!"
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