Thursday, October 23, 2014

Glow in the Dark!

This was by far an easy and FUN program!  The kids were on Fall Break, so even our normally hyper after school group was nice and calm and our numbers were a little lower, but that didn't stop the kids from having a great time.

We started by discussing the book, The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton.  I read a few pages of the book describing to the kids how fluorescent paint was developed.  Then the kids moved on to the waiting stations.

We have a large room for our story time programs that can be divided in two.  Usually we keep the divider open so we can easily monitor both rooms at the same time.  However, for this program we wanted almost complete darkness for our games, so we kept the divider closed and turned off the lights.  I stayed on the craft side, while my partner stayed on the game side.  It took me a while to figure out how to take low light pictures with our work camera. Once I did, I was able to get much better pictures of everything!  I don't know if I'd be able to recreate it, but it worked for the evening I needed it.

Game 1: Glow in the Dark Bowling

Game 2: Glow in the Dark Tic Tac Toe

Game 3: Glow in the Dark Ring Toss

We also played some fun music for the kids and handed out glow sticks for them to wave around while dancing.  Here are some fun photos I was able to capture, once I figured out how to get the shutter speed on the camera to slow down.

On the lighted side, the kids could do three different crafts.

Craft 1: Fluorescent Collages
We put out a whole range of materials.  We had some sticky collage sheets left over from a previous program that the kids could use, or they could use regular paper.  There were fluorescent stickers, pipe cleaners, wiggle eyes, pom poms, feathers, ribbon, buttons and paper.  The creations were awesome!

Craft 2: Fluorescent Painting
Kids had yellow, orange, pink, blue, green fluorescent/neon acrylic paint at their disposal.  They also could use glow-in-the-dark paint.  They could choose between leftover circle paper (again, from a previous program) or use plain white.  Most chose to use the circle paper.

Note the completed k-cup night light.

Craft 3: K-Cup Night Lights
Over the summer we had collected and cleaned a huge number of k-cups for a program, but ended up using regular white 3 oz plastic cups instead.  We decided to go ahead and use the k-cups for this neat craft, especially since our program fell so close to Halloween.

However, we didn't want the kids to feel like it had to look Halloween-ish, so ours was much more generic, which meant the kids did the same.  They used sharpies to decorate the k-cup however they wished.  Since we had so many k-cups, the kids were able to create more than one, although they only got one battery operated tea light (which we purchased at Dollar Tree).

Super, super fun and easy low-key program to pull together, especially as it utilized some left over craft supplies.  The games were a huge hit and inexpensive since I purchased the bracelet glow sticks at Dollar Tree  (20 count tubes for $1--I purchased blue, orange and pink) and Big Lots (2 50 count pkgs for $5).  We were able to send each child home with an unlit glow stick bracelet.  The evening group could take already lit ones home for siblings.  Luckily we already owned a bowling set (from S&S Worldwide) and ring toss (also from S&S).  The crafts really helped extend the program.  I only wish we'd invested in a black light to view all the fluorescent stuff.

Attendance: 27, 18

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Science Camp: Science of Bubbles

For this program we started with a Steve Spangler video on the Science of Bubbles:

Then we created three different bubble wands and tested four different homemade bubble solutions, which I made up ahead of time.  In addition the kids could make Popped Bubble Art.
We added food coloring to a bubble solution.

Here are the solutions we tested.

Solution #1
6 cups water 
½ cup Dawn dish detergent 
½ cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp glycerine
Dissolve the cornstarch in the water, stirring really well.  Then gently stir in the remaining ingredients.  Avoid creating a lot of froth.  Allow your mixture to sit for at least an hour, stirring occasionally if you see the cornstarch settling to the bottom. 

Solution #2
4 cups warm water
½ cup sugar
½ cup dishwashing liquid

Combine the sugar and warm water.  Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.  Add the dishwashing liquid and stir again.

Solution #3
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp liquid dish soap or laundry detergent
1 Tbsp glycerine
1 tsp sugar

Gently stir all ingredients together.

Solution #4
1 cup dishwashing liquid
15 cups water

This program was MESSY and the floor got very slippery!  Definitely a program that is better suited for outdoors. 

Making bead bubble wands.

More bead bubble wands.

Straw and yarn wands.

This was by far the funnest wand, straws inside the top of a water bottle.  Lots and lots of bubbles!

Some even got creative and tried to make 3D wands.

The straw and yarn wands allowed for HUGE bubbles!

Getting creative and using other things for wands.  We also got out clean socks to see if they could hold the bubbles.

 Solution 1 was by far the favorite of both sessions.  I had put together a testing sheet so they could record results (which solution made largest bubbles, most bubbles, longest lasting bubbles, etc.), but the kids never got around to using them.  They were having too much fun playing!

Ideas came a variety of blogs and websites, including:
Bead Bubble Wands:
Bubble Blower:
Straw and Yarn Wand:
Popped Bubble Art:

Science Camp: Float Your Boat

Our second Science Camp dealt with buoyancy with the kids creating boats using a variety of materials, such as aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, styrofoam, cups, corks, etc.  Their task was to build a boat that floated and could hold the weight of 20 marbles.  The metal pans we used for testing were left over from a catered luncheon and were the perfect size and depth in which to test the boats.  Again, the kids worked hard, testing over and over their creations.  Some created multiple boats using different materials.

Hard at work.

Back to the drawing board.  It didn't float.


Science Camp: Roller Coaster Science

Over the summer we ran three different Science Camp programs for kids entering grades 3-5.  Each program began with a short Prezi covering the science concepts needed for the activity and detailing what they were to work on.  Our first was Roller Coaster Science.

I purchased 14 pipe insulation tubes from Lowe's and cut them in half.  Each person got two halves, although they could pool theirs together to create a longer run.  Each roller coaster needed to have one loop.  The kids could work in groups or individually.

This was a fun, easy program to do.  The kids spent 45 minutes building and would have gone on for longer if we'd let them.  I was amazed at their perseverance.  We did have two teen volunteers at each session to help the kids and one dad even stayed to enjoy the fun.  We let parents/caregivers come in five minutes before the program ended so they could see what their kids accomplished.

Here are pictures of the fun.