October 11, 2013

Simple Kitchen Science with Clifford - Preschool Boredom Buster

This week we checked out the Clifford Kitchen Science set from the Young Scientists Club.  I was sent this item to facilitate this post but received no other compensation.

It's Sunday morning.  You're tired.  And if you're like me then you've already used up your fun, creative, stroke-of-genius mom entertainment tricks on Saturday.  Meh.  Here is where I am a big believer in having a box, basket or closet of go-to items that you can pull out and do with your child that requires minimal effort on your part.  

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So last Sunday we checked out the Kitchen Science set from The Young Scientists Club.  I had a nostalgic moment when I saw Clifford The Big Red Dog on the box.  I remember having a program on my computer in 1989 that let you create Clifford story books...and print them on your snazzy dot matrix printer.  Anyway, Kayla was super excited to see such cuteness and very curious about what kitchen science would entail.  

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A little bit of reading led me to determine that most of the experiments are pretty simple and call for basic things you'd likely have in your pantry.  We started with the test tube explosion experiment which just needed some baking soda and vinegar.  As a parent, you know what's going to happen here.  But it is really fun to watch your child piece things together.

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Sure, we could have done this experiment on our own, without the included equipment.  But it definitely made things feel more official to Kayla having the test tubes, the holders, the funnel and measuring cup.  Having a clear written out process to follow was a good test of her patience and ability to follow instructions.

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Kayla got to work carefully measuring out the baking soda.  In hindsight, my suggestion would be to take a permanent marker and draw over the measurement lines to make them more obvious for young children.  It was cute to see her keep checking the lines and how concerned she was about getting to the 5mL mark.

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With no help from me she funneled that baking soda into the test tube and then added some vinegar.  The furrowed brow of concentration and trying to figure out exactly what was going on in the tube made me smile because I know I make the exact same face when trying to figure out a new piece of software.

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I had only planned on doing one project with Kayla.  But with a box full of activities, I wasn't surprised that she begged to move onto  the volcano project.  Which I really like because you aren't forced to spend hours building a paper mache volcano, which would be way too much of a project for a child Kayla's age.  Instead she was able to paint the volcano with some acrylic paints we had sitting around.

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And much like her mother, Kayla was all too enthusiastic about the painting part.  Art + Science = incredibly happy child.  I don't know about you, but I'm familiar with the equation happy child = happy parents so I'd call this a Sunday morning win.  If you want to see our volcano erupting, you can check it out on Instagram.

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I happen to think that this is a great little basic set for the youngest of scientists.  The materials included looked a little flimsy to me at first, but I quickly realized they weren't and they gave an authentic feeling to the experiments.  I also happen to love that the creators of this set actually kept the mess factor in mind and the included test tube/volcano holding tray are self containing.  Read: your house won't be a disaster as a result of some preschool experimentation.

If you're thinking this kit might be for you, then take a look at the Clifford Science Kits If you'd like to learn more about the Young Scientists Club you can check them out on Facebook (where they post free experiments each week) Twitter and Pinterest.  
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