Chromatography Experiment

In really simple terms Chromatography is a method of separating a mixture of chemicals. M and Z were interested to see what colours were in the ink of different coloured pens. They drew dots of different coloured ink on blotting paper about an inch from the bottom of the paper.

Next, they placed the blotting paper in a jar with about a cm of water in. The paper soaked up the ink and the colours separated.

We initially tried this experiment with Sharpie’s (permanent markers), these inks didn’t separate easily so we tried regular felt tips and achieved better results.

The purple, brown and grey felt tips pens produced interesting results. Have a go and see what colours you see…

In this photograph, you can see the difference between using sharpies and using regular felt tip pens.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

Ice Excavation Activity

img_6134.jpgMy children absolutely loved this activity. Although it needed a little pre-planning (which they were part of), this activity kept them busy for nearly an hour.

Collect (or get your children to) lots of small plastic toys. Put them into a large bowl and fill with water (leave about an inch at the top for the water to expand)! Put the bowl in the freezer.

The next day get a washing up bowl and upturn large frozen bowl into it. Give the children spoons and a squeezy bottle of warm water and let them get excavating!!

img_6139It took about an hour, and lots of warm water, to free all the plastic toys from the ice. img_6135What fun!! Thanks for reading!

How to make a water volcano 🌋

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Being able to do this activity is all about having the right size and shaped containers. Having said that, our small jar was far from perfect, right size but the shape was a little off! A small jar with a narrower neck or a very small bottle would have been more effective.

For this volcano, you will need a large glass jar, a smaller glass bottle, wire, red food colouring and hot and cold water. Tie some wire around the small glass bottle so that it can be picked up without having to hold the glass.

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Pour cold water into the large glass jar so it’s about 2/3 full. Fill the small glass jar with hot water and add a teaspoon red food colouring. Z went a bit over the top with the food colouring as she poured it in!

img_6094Carefully place the small jar into the large jar and watch the water volcano erupt. This happens super quickly so you (or the children) may want to do this a few times. This volcano shows how cold and warm water mix. The hot water expands, taking up more space. It is, therefore, lighter than cold water and rises to the surface.

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We found this activity in My First Science Book it’s full of 23 really simple, doable science experiments that can easily be done at home. Well worth getting for any young science enthusiasts.

Have you done any volcano experiments? I’d love to hear about them. Please comment below.

Thanks for reading

Sarah 🙂

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How to make a simple bird bath!

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This weekend is RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch and it’s time to prepare.

M loves birds, especially robins and swans. It’s highly unlikely a swan will pop by our garden this weekend, though we may well spot ‘Peck’ our resident robin.

We bought M this Robin Bird Feeder for Christmas. It’s designed specifically for robins who don’t usually visit hanging feeders, they prefer a flat surface to eat from rather than a pole to perch onto. This feeder has a tray they can sit on which makes it perfect for robins.

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We’ve been very impressed with this feeder. The small umbrella roof means the food stays nice and dry. This has proved true even in heavy rain and strong winds. The robins have come, which when something actually does what it says on the tin, it gets my vote. Though maybe that was because of the robin bird seed and insect mix, well whatever the case, the combination worked. You can find out the link to where we got the robin bird feeder from here and the bird food here.

As part of our bird feeding station (sounds grand but at present is just two bird feeders hanging from a buddleia plant) M wanted to make sure the birds had something to drink. We followed instructions from the RSPB’s activity ‘Build a bird bath’.

First M found 3 bricks and placed them on the ground in a triangle. He rested a large plant pot saucer (about 30cm diameter) on the bricks.

He placed some stones, and half a terracotta plant pot in the saucer and filled it up with rainwater.

M is really pleased with the result and now we just need to sit back and watch.

The RSPB run a wild challenge. In their words, “It’s a challenge for you to connect with the natural world in brave new ways – to reach out and touch it and meet it head-on, up-close and personal.”

The birdbath activity is one of their ‘Helping Nature’ activities. Children complete activities to receive their bronze, silver and gold awards. Well worth doing if you have nature-loving children. Now I just need to get organised and sign my two up!

Having our bird feeding station is going to be a great way to see if M is ready to have his own pet! Can he make sure the birds always have food and clean water?!!

Do you/your children have a pet? Who looks after it?

Walking Water – Mixing Primary Colours

Don’t you just love vibrant colours? We did this experiment to show how water can move and to learn about primary and secondary colours. It’s so simple and really fun to watch. All you need is 9 glass jars, some kitchen paper, water and food colouring.

Fill up six of your jars with water, put red food colouring in two, blue in two and yellow in two. Fold up 3 pieces of kitchen paper and follow the diagram below.

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Water was absorbed by the kitchen paper and travelled into the empty jar. Here the two primary colours mixed making a secondary colour. We liked the green and orange but weren’t so impressed with the purple! Maybe our blue was too strong?!

From start to end this probably took a couple of hours. We were able to get on with other things and keep coming back to see what was happening. I think that M and Z will be asking to do this one again!

Have you done any experiments that your children ask to repeat? I’m always on the look out for engaging science.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah 🙂

First hand experiences – Butterflies

M was delighted when these tiny caterpillars arrived at the door as an early birthday present. They really were itty bitty tiny. Crazy to think that in just a few weeks they would be fully fledged Painted Lady Butterflies. I wanted to record our experience so I took photographs most days. From receiving the caterpillars till they turned in to chrysalis took just 13 days. Unfortunately one little caterpillar (he was definitely the runt of the group) never made it this far.

Our caterpillars came from Insect Lore. They guarantee that at least 3 of the caterpillars will become butterflies. If they don’t they will send you more. We started off with 5 caterpillars, one died before changing into a chrysalis. One chrysalis was on the bottom of the tub and never became a butterfly. Thankfully 3 became butterflies.

It took another 12 days before the first butterfly emerged. We received the caterpillars at the end of August when it was feeling cooler. I am wondering if we’d had them earlier in the year that we’d have had more success, as in 5 butterflies.

Unfortunetly we went on holiday (really not unfortunately!) and we didn’t see the last two butterflies emerge. Our friends looked after our butterflies and we had the pleasure of setting them free when we returned. We loved having these wild creatures resting in our hands before flying away.

There’s no better way to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly than to watch it first hand. It has been a truly delightful experience, one we will definitely be repeating next year.

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Have you ever experienced anything like this? I’d love to hear about it. Please comment below.

Sarah 🙂

Jurassic Kingdom

We were joking earlier today that maybe the dinosaurs would come alive and chase us. My son advised us not to wear red or the dinosaurs might think we were meat and try to eat us!

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We spent the day at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham where the dinosaurs from Jurassic Kingdom have come to spend a couple of weeks. They are touring round the UK so there’s plenty of opportunities to see them.

I thought I’d share small selection ​​of pictures and video from our day. I don’t want to spoil all the fun, just give you a taster.

​​​These animatronic dinosaurs are very clever and seem very life like. Each dinosaur has an information board with interesting information… Sadly no information of how to phonetically say all of the crazy dinosaur names.​​


​It’s always lovely to spend the day with friends, though the Botanical Gardens was super busy.

Little Missy spent a long time on excavating dinosaur bones and making a sandman. All in all a good day. Well worth visiting the dinosaurs! 

How to make Geodes

We have this lovely book all about rocks. A rock is lively by Diana Hutts Aston. It’s all about the ingredients that make up rocks. It has some beautiful pictures in it, in an attempt to recreate some of this beauty we made some Geodes. Geodes are rocks with sparkling crystals inside them.

We made our geodes by slightly heating up some water and dissolving as much salt as possible.

Processed with VSCO with s1 presetWe mixed the salt solution with food colouring inside some egg shells and left them. It took many days for our geodes to develop

The best geodes that we created were the egg shells in pots that started off with the most salt solution in.

Processed with VSCO with s1 presetWe loved how the molecular structure of the salt changed and in some instances created what looked like perfect squares.

Processed with VSCO with s1 presetWe’d love you to share with us about any fab science experiments you’ve done, please comment below. 🙂

When Okido meets Skittles

 I love our Okido Magazine that pops through the door every month. I shouldn’t really say I love it as it’s aimed at 3-8 year olds, but I do! And so does our son (who definitely does fall in correct age bracket).

This months magazine had a fabulous experiment that our children really wanted to try. We got together some skittles, a plate, a bowl and a jug of water.

After arranging the skittles around the upturned bowl, we removed the bowl and poured a small amount of water in the middle of the circle.img_0934We then watched and enjoyed the colour from the skittles dissolving in the water creating this beautiful pattern. It was fun to watch the colours mixing and inevitably turning into a brown mushy colour!

We were interested to see that when we turned over the skittles there were small dots of colour where the skittles were resting on the plate and the water didn’t come into contact with the skittle and therefore the colour didn’t dissolve away.

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Nice one OKIDO!

Whats your favourite kids magazine?