5 Science Experiments and Videos to share with your kids!

My kids are officially on summer vacation and to prevent screen time overload brain mushiness, I nerded my heart out last month and concocted a summer plan of learning. It’s more of an outline than an actual concrete plan. Because each day and week of our summer will look different than the one before, I simply came up with a list of themes that will shape each week.

To decide on the themes that would most interest the kids, I had them write down things they wanted to learn more about on the whiteboard in our dining room. I noticed a lot of countries and landmarks written down with a few other topics like science experiments and astronomy. So the majority of our weeks will revolve around the wanderlust my kids seemed to inherit from me but THIS week we are learning about SCIENCE.

What does that actually mean? Well first I went to Pinterest and rounded up a handful of science experiments that I can do with the kids that are basically free and not so messy or complicated that it will end with me crying into a pile of paper towels. Things like:

mixing oil and water, making gummy worms dance, the disappearing egg shell, turning milk into plastic and making a fidget spinner using cardboard and pennies

Next I went to youtube and searched for videos of cool science experiments, creating my own playlist so that I could easily keep all my good finds organized. You can find my entire playlist here. Some of my kids’ favorites were:

My seven year old is officially hooked on the SciShow Kids video series. This video about cleaning a penny with things like ketchup or soda fascinated her.

Incredible Science is a good bet for older kids. We watched several of his videos and they have the shock and awe factor down and plenty of cool things to learn, too. My kids were particularly impressed with the shaving cream / food coloring rainstorm in a bottle.

I love the SloMo Guys – gorgeous videos that will appeal to fans of science, fans of filmography or even just fans of things blowing up in slow motion i.e. all of us. Watching a CD shatter at 170,000FPS was enjoyed by all.

So we love watching things spin and explode and since we have two young kids in the house we know all about the fidget spinner craze. What could be more cathartic than watching fidget spinners explode? This was a fun video although we had a tough time understanding their awesome accents sometimes, the video speaks for itself.

Maybe you’ve already seen this awesome video of Station Commander Chris Hadfield sharing science in space. If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a watch. Hadfield is a pretty awesome guy and his videos are always amusing. Plus now we get to combine science and space in one video! Extra credit, right?

So how else will we round out our week of science fun? Well we’re looking for science books, tv shows and movies when we indulge in some R&R and just generally being inquisitive as we go about our days. I think you’ll find that anytime you spend a good amount of time thinking about any topic, you will find that it pops up everywhere you go.

Any other favorite science videos or experiments that we should add to our list?

Minecraft Hour of Code

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Have you guys heard about Hour of Code at Code.org? They have a bunch of free coding tutorials geared towards kids as young as 4 and as old as grandma that walk you through the principles of basic programming in an hour, with the complexity getting a little harder with each “puzzle” that you complete.

And to help pique your interest (or the interest of your kids) they have coding tutorials featuring popular characters like Elsa and Anna from Frozen, the cast of Star Wars, Flappy Bird and Minecraft.

My kids tried the Minecraft Hour of Code this weekend and both of them really enjoyed it (and successfully finished the whole hour). I played through the hour of code myself just to see what the deal was before I bothered calling them over and I was definitely impressed. I’m not a programmer and I’ve tried tutorials like this before and found them massively confusing. If I can’t figure it out, what are the odds that my six year old can?

These were simple enough starting out that anyone could jump in – and perhaps most importantly, the tutorials actually TELL YOU what to do instead of just dumping you into the program and saying “Good luck!”  So I was really excited to hand the reigns over to the kids and even more excited when they totally got it and then clamored over whose turn it was to go next. I’m planning to let them try out some of the other tutorials soon.

The coding in these tutorials is drag and drop but after each puzzle it lets you view the actual code that you’ve “written”, giving the user a peek into both the front end and back end of coding. Hour of Code is clearly becoming popular – even the president has logged on!

 

Weekly Geekly Links: February 20, 2015

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It’s about -547 degrees outside right now where I live (or 4 degrees with a -20 windchill) but it’s been that way for long enough now that I think we’re supposed to consider it normal and just keep on keeping on. While I hide inside and pretend it’s June, here are some cool things I found online recently that you need to check out before you check out (+15 bonus points if you get that reference):

20150219_184648Geekologie informed us that Neil Armstrong had a secret stash of moon souvenirs! This is especially interesting to me right now because my son just did a big research project on Neil Armstrong that culminated in him dressing up like Neil and pretending to be a wax figure of him at his class’s Wax Figure Museum last night. Also every time I read I read about the items he stashed I start thinking about The Berenstain Bears on the Moon – anyone else weirdly in love with this book?

Bored Panda told us about a guy who secretly went around and created his own book sections at a local bookstore. Categories included things like: Meals You Intend To Make, But Never Will or Things That Scare Me (in which he moved books from other sections like The Expectant Father and a memoir by Regis Philbin among other things).

You might know that I’m Rainbow Rowell’s #1 Super fan (i.e. I really like her books) so it should be no surprise that her recent interview with TIME magazine about her newest book, fanfiction, 50 Shades of Grey and that quote from Franzen delighted me.

Lastly: This like literally made me lol:

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Have a great weekend!

fangirlingjen