Science Lab -5yr- Junior Scientists
Maureen in Carmichael, CA USA
Matthew's Mad Science 5th Birthday Party Inspiration Matthew had been expressing a great interest in Experiments, Specimens, etc and greatly enjoyed the Junior Science toy Test Tube Wonders, Lab in a Bag. I was searching for a Birthday Party Idea when I found Mad Science listed in a Children's magazine. I hired the mad scientist, Dr. Energy and knew that she would be performing Bubbling Potions and Rocket Explosions. This was the inspiration for our Mad Science Birthday Party.
Invitation We used a black card stock invitation with cartoon science figures all over it in bright neon colors. On the white envelope I drew a flask in bright purple with bubbling potions pouring over the top and down the side. The child's name was then written in calligraphy on the envelope. Inside the card we described the location and theme of the party and asked for an RSVP. Welcoming the Invitees The RSVP helps in getting a firm list of attendees as well as when each child would RSVP I would ask them what kind of scientist they would like to be and give them ideas like Zoologist, Paleontologist, Herpetologist, Entomologist, Oceanographer, Astronaut, Meteorologist etc. We also let the families know that this was a family party and so younger siblings and parents were invited as well. In the end we had 12 Junior Scientists and 22 Adult Scientists in attendance.
As our Junior Scientists arrived with their families, they were directed to our garden gate by a sign that showed a Mad Chemist working in his lab and said, Welcome to Matthew's Mad Science Lab, find your personal protective equipment at the end of the garden path. There was a large display of neon green and purple balloons at the garden gate as well. They passed the side garage door on the way down the garden path and this door was covered with caution tape and had a large poster on it with an image of a Mad Scientist. It said, Matthew's Mad Science Lab Personal Protective Equipment required to enter. The guests were greeted at the end of the garden path and given lab coats, goggles and flashlights in preparation for the Mad Science Lab. I found disposable lab coats 30 for $20 on line, only available in adult sizes, but I was able to sew them down by taking fabric out of the center back and each side till we had child size lab coats for size two all the way to adult. I had also created neon green and purple name tags for each scientist including their first name in a large font and then their profession in a slightly smaller font. I had my 5 year old asking his friend's their parent's names to prepare these in advance.
Each name tag included a clip art image to depict something about their profession. I found the clip art just by searching on Google for black and white images under each profession. This yielded some really interesting cartoons and images to use on the name tags. Many of the children could not read yet, so the clip art was a way for them to ask questions about each scientist's profession. The Junior Scientists got to choose their profession, but I assigned many of the adult scientists, based on their hobbies or interests Metallurgist for the man who like gold mining, Forensic Scientist for the women who works on death row cases at the federal public defender's office, Political Scientist for the attorney who is a strong democratic, Botanist for the avid gardener, Geologist for the women who loved to wear gems, Anthropologist for the teacher who enjoys cultures, Kinesiologist for the woman who is a gymnast, and Genealogist for the woman who studies family histories. My son was a Chemist hence we needed a Mad Science Lab Entering the Mad Science Lab After all the guests had arrived we called the Junior Scientist together as they were now busy inspecting each others name tags and playing in the back yard. I gave them instructions about being safe in the lab and listening to the Lab Assistants.
We gathered at the Lab Door (garage side door) covered with caution tape and turned on our flash lights as we entered. We converted our garage into Matthew's Mad Science Lab. We purchased the vinyl table covering rolls at Wishing Well and draped the entire garage walls in black for $30. With florescent paints we painted Mad Science and a few other science themed sayings and cartoons on the walls. We set up two child height tables in the lab each with different experiments. We had two black lights, a plasma ball, a plasma wave light, and our battery operated florescent camping lantern covered in a white cloth for soft lighting in our otherwise dark lab.
One experiment was a color mixing station where there were three plastic beakers each filled with a primary color (red, blue, yellow), the children used the plastic test tubes and pipettes to mix their custom colors and then applied a small rubber stopper and set them in the test tube rack. We had several soda bottle fountains and cyclones that we had made from the soda bottle connectors available at Oriental Trading Co. or Steve Spangler's science store. We added oil and water in different colors and star sequence to create all kinds of interesting combinations when making the cyclones. We added dish soap to one which bubbled and bubbled in the bottle each time it was turned and swirled. At the other table we had bug impressions in plastic taped to the table. The children had black paper and metallic crayons to rub the impressions of the bugs onto the paper, a real cool effect. We also had glow sticks to provide each Junior Scientist as she/he worked in the lab.
The Junior Scientists explored the activities for about 20 minutes when we introduced Dr. Energy. Dr. Energy had a table set up in a corner of the lab. We pulled out child chairs (from a rental company) and had every one sitting to watch the show. Dr. Energy demonstrated many science experiments like making water disappear, color changing liquids, bubbling potions, color changing fire, and Troll Bugers a take home project. The Science Continues After Dr. Energy was done with her lab presentation she offered a rocket launch in the back yard.
We all headed out for the water rocket launch. All of the children pressurized the rocket and launched it again and again. Many people got wet. Dr. Energy was now finishing up and I called all the Junior Scientists together and told them that several creatures had lost their eggs in our back yard. I needed them to search for bug eggs, snake eggs, and dinosaur eggs and bring them back to the nest I was holding as soon as possible. We had hidden a variety of plastic eggs with bug rings, rubber snakes, and plastic dinosaurs in them. The dinosaurs were actually in eggs that had T-rex cracking out of the top (available at Easter time with cars in them at Target). The Junior Scientists made quick work of finding around 50 eggs. Once the eggs were in the nest everyone helped crack the eggs and one of the parents help by taking all the creatures and distributing them in the take home bags to be given out at the end of the party. The Junior Scientists were instructed to go to the patio for Dinner in the Lab.
Dinner in the Lab The eight foot child height table was draped in black table cloth with 12 neon green placements, purple place settings and child sized chairs. There was a 17 balloon bouquet in the middle of the table in neon green and purple with foil Happy Birthday balloons as well. Menus were printed on purple cardstock featuring a Mad Scientist drinking from a test tube and flask. Miniature clip art depicted each item on the menu; Blue Potions, Genetically Intact Fruit, Ooey-Gooey Pizza, Giant Bug Jigglers, and Explosions of Delight. Each Junior Scientist sat down to a place setting with a plastic beaker filled with Blue Potion (Kool-aid) and a silly straw. The next course was Giant Bug Jigglers, these were two inch gummy bugs from Oriental Trading Company that I had placed in plastic champagne glasses and covered with Jell-o in yellow, orange, green, and blue. These were really cool and gross and the Junior Scientists loved them.
Next we served several varieties of Ooey-Gooey Pizza (Pizza Hut Pan Pizza), and Genetically Intact Fruit (Large platter of fresh fruit cut in finger-food size pieces). The meal was cleared and we served birthday cakes from our local European Bakery. We had two cakes a Lemon-filled Italian Butter Cream cake served with sparklers on top, and a Chocolate Mousse cake with whipped cream on top and large rolls of chocolate shavings exploding out of several points on the cake and curling neon candles. Each cake said, Happy Birthday Mad Scientist Matthew. We sang Happy Birthday and then gave each child small containers filled with Pop Rocks to sprinkle on their piece of cake, hence, Explosions of Delight.
Presents and Favors We moved to the adjacent picnic table and open presents. Matthew got lots of science themed toys, microscope with bugs, National Geographic sky viewer, hand-launching rocket, etc. Finally we gave each Junior Scientist a personalized bag of take home Science-Themed treats that included, silly string, bubble up blowing bubbles in a soda bottle, pearlized putty in a sealed miniature beaker, plastic bug rings, rubber dinosaurs and snakes, a large sticky eyeball, fingers socks, dinosaur, planet and animal stickers and tattoos, Fizz candy, and smoldering gum, purchased at either Wishing Well or Oriental Trading Company. The Junior Scientists played with the presents and favors for awhile longer.
All the Scientists had a splendid time and expressed their appreciation. The personalization of the name tags meant a lot to several people. Summary This was a fun and educational birthday party. I enjoyed planning it and found most of the supplies on line at a couple of lab or science web sites along with our local Wishing Well, and OTC. I hope you give this party theme a try; it really jazzed the Junior Scientists about pursuing careers in Science. Science is cool.