Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Little Scientists: Eggs-periments

I can't believe I missed posting about my egg-themed Little Scientists program! This was one of the most successful sessions so far, with a great mix of experiments, activities, and games. We were also lucky that the Ohio spring weather let us do the messiest bits outside. Usually, I would read a story at this program followed by an assortment of self-guided stations, but this time we went straight into stations and 10 minutes before the end of the 30 minute program we gathered for a group experiment. This program was for 2-5 year olds and lasted approximately 30 minutes.

This month's take home experiment was the dissolving eggshell trick. Kids got an egg in a cup (with vinegar if they didn't have any at home) and were encouraged to observed what happened to their egg. I used a address label to type up and stick right to the cup some ideas for what to do with their egg afterwards. Unfortunately, my sample egg broke right before the program but I think that lent a little mystery to the experiment.

Kids counted the bandages on each broken egg and matched it to the number on a card.

Kids shook 5 different eggs filled with 5 different things and tried to guess what was inside. There were examples of each filler outside of the egg to guide kids if they needed help.


Our group experiment! Throughout the first 20 minutes of the program, kids voted on what they thought would happen to an egg dropped on a variety of surfaces. This one was a ton of fun and kids loved finding out if their guesses were correct. It was also a great opportunity to get a bunch of kids to learn to say "hypothesis"!

This one was a HUGE hit! We learned about why birds can sit on their eggs without breaking them and then tested it out by walking on eggs ourselves. Kids and adults were all amazed that when they walked slowly and used a hand-hold for balance the eggs wouldn't break. Only 2 or so broke the entire time!

Last but not least, kids and their adults competed in egg spoon races. Smaller kids could use a plastic egg, but everyone was encouraged to try using a real one as well.

This edition of Little Scientists was one of my favorites so far! Everyone loved the experiments and activities and no eggs went to waste (hopefully my coworkers don't find out, but any unbroken eggs went into the frittata I made for a staff potluck later that week).

You may like to add your own fun fonts, but you can find the signs I made for the stations here.

End of Summer Reading Carnival

We don't always have a big ending for our Summer Reading Club program, but I always think it's nice to do a little something that day. This year, I threw a carnival with games, prizes, and even cotton candy! This was a 1 hour program (although some families stayed a little longer) and it was advertised for all ages (but most attendees were 2-8 years old). I didn't end up having a lot of teen volunteers to help with this program, so instead of having kids collect tickets and redeem them for prizes I just had a prize for each game won and relied on parents/the honor system.

Hand Golf! (because I couldn't find our set of kids' golf clubs) Kids had to roll until they hit 100 points to earn a sticky hand toy.

Potato Sack Race! Everyone who made it to the end of the course earned cotton candy (made by a teen volunteer).

Pete the Cat toss game (left over from Pete's birthday party in April). Kids threw velcro covered balls at Pete. When they got all four balls stuck, they earned a bag of popcorn.

Tin Can Knock-Down- kids threw balls to knock down cans. Little kids had a big ball and older kids (or kids who wanted a challenge) could throw a smaller ball. They had as many tries as they wanted and when they knocked down all the cans they earned a container of bubbles

Bean Bag Toss- I set out small containers labeled with more points and bigger containers labeled with fewer points. Kids who tossed until they earned 100 points won a sheet of stickers.

Plinko- this was left over from a program a coworker of mine did this spring. It was made using a lid from a box of printer paper and straws. Kids dropped their bottle caps until they landed in a prize spot and won a balloon sword or guitar (pre-made by the same coworker who made the plinko). Pre-making the balloons saved a TON of time.

At the end, kids could take a picture with a clown cut-out to remember the day! Kids and adults both loved this one and it was totally worth making a quick cutout (cardboard was from a coworker's new big screen TV).

This program went so well! Around 40-45 kids ended up coming by (which is really solid for a program at our library). The only thing I would have changed is planning ahead a little more with making cotton candy. I pre-packaged all of the popcorn but I wish I had asked our teen volunteer to start making cotton candy earlier so all of it could have been pre-packaged, too. We have a very small cotton candy maker, so it took a little while for each batch and some kids had to wait a bit. Luckily there were plenty of games to keep them occupied!

Little Scientists: Flowers

Little Scientists is absolutely one of my favorite programs! It's for 2-5 year olds and lasts about 30 minutes. This month, we investigated flowers:

First, we read Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson. This was perfect for this program- short enough for the attention spans of the age group but still showed parts of flowers and things flowers need to grow. After the story, we broke up into stations:

We always have a take-home experiment (usually an activity that would not be possible to complete in our 30 minute program). This month, kids all got a cup with a stem of Queen Anne's Lace and water dyed with liquid watercolor. I filled the cups right before the program started so that the flowers were still white when kids got there and they were encouraged to guess what would happen to the flower and observe changes over the next few days. The internet told me any white flower would work for this, but Queen Anne's Lace was fabulous- the colors showed up easily and quickly.

Building a flower- kids used roots, stems, leaves, and petals to "build" a flower.

To practice visual discrimination, we played an insects vs. flowers game. I though this would be most interesting to the younger attendees, but even the 4 and 5 year olds liked this one. I found this printable on Teachers Pay Teachers here.

Color matching game

Flower counting station- kids had the option of choosing an easier activity (counting petals on a flower up to 10) or a harder activity (practicing tens tables up to 20). Kids who were able ended up doing both.

I didn't take a picture, but we also used snap cubes to measure some flowers and compare sizes.

Parts-to-whole matching activity- this one was also a big hit. Kids tried matching a picture of a flower with a close up picture of a part of the flower. This one was also from Teachers Pay Teachers here.

We do a craft most sessions, and this one was a big hit. Kids used flowers (cut out using our die cutter) and beads to make "flower power" necklaces. They were encourage to make a pattern with the colored flowers or talk about the colors they used, but they could  really do whatever they wanted. Sometimes that's the most fun craft of all!

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