Week 4: Wacky Water Week Extension!

As you can see from last week’s posts, the boys and I kept extremely busy while Andy was away in Kenya. It was actually one of the best times we’ve ever had with Daddy gone. Last week more than ever, I was so glad that I took the time to put all of this Mommy Summer School stuff together because it truly helped us persevere through the week and have fun while we’re at it! By the time we made it through the end of the week and the weekend, though, I was exhausted, and my creative juices were no longer flowing freely. I have been using Saturday and Sunday nights after the boys are in bed to get the next week of MSS all prepped and set up, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it this time around. I wanted to have the house all in order for Andy’s return on Monday, and the boys and I had plans to paint a banner and make some other “welcome home” art, so I threw myself into that. Looking over all of my water plans, I noted that there were several activities that the boys and I hadn’t gotten to, so I decided to just extend Wacky Water Week into this week. You know? The boys were so excited on Monday morning about Andy coming home that day that they didn’t even notice that there was no new centerpiece on the table or signs of a new theme anywhere around the house. Phew…glad I didn’t kill myself to get a new theme whipped up. It’s been good this week just helping Andy get transitioned back from Africa, and both boys ended up with nasty summer cold bugs, so they haven’t exactly been in the best frame of mind anyway. So while we didn’t let down completely this week, it’s been intentionally go-with-the-flow. Here’s a recap of the cool ways we spent our time together this week…

1. Water Marbles: I learned about these little blobs of joy from the I Am Momma blog. Check it out here. She even has a link on her blog straight to Amazon so you can order the marbles. I concur that this is one of the best $3 I ever spent on the boys. They look like this when they arrive:


They are seriously eensy weensy teensy! Once we put them in water we did a Quick Think on our large paper:

ImageI absolutely LOVE giving kids a chance to make predictions about anything–a book, a movie, the way a game will turn out. It’s such a good critical thinking skill and one they will utilize a ton in school. Plus, it’s really rewarding to see them get all jazzed up when they nailed a prediction! (By the way, looking at our list, can you guess which prediction was contributed by the 3-year-old?) So back to the marbles…4 hours later, they looked like this:



I love how Luke reacted when he first immersed his hands into a bowl, “Cool! They feel like eyeballs!” Such a boy. (But they kind of do…) At about this time, I needed to get lunch ready, so the boys had fun just playing with them, rolling them around, trying to squish them (WAY more difficult than you would think!), daring each other to lick them, and more. Later on I had Noah do some color sorting, and Luke and I used them as manipulatives for addition, subtraction, and counting by 2s and 5s. I put them in a large lidded bowl in the fridge with a little water, and they are still going strong days later. The boys broke out the Thomas and Friends tracks and trains the other day, made an enormous track with hills and bridges and such all over the main level of the house, then loaded up the water marbles in some open cargo cars that we have with our trains and pretended that they were transporting “goods”. I thought that was quite creative! I wish I had taken a picture of them. Eventually they ended up just having a good time rolling the water marbles down the hilly parts of the track and seeing how far they would go. The boys are begging me to let them get in a bath with the marbles next. Ummm…we’ll see…

2. Melt the Ice Game: This was super fun! I can see us actually playing this many times over. It would be a lot of fun to play outside with the neighbor kids on a hot day. It was gloomy and wet out the day we played, so we plopped ourselves down right in the middle of the kitchen floor. (I wasn’t sure if the game would potentially get too messy for the play room. It really wasn’t bad. Just have a towel handy.) The basic objective of the game is that each player gets an ice cube, and the first person to melt his/her ice cube is the winner. There are six different ways that you can attempt to make your cube melt–you just roll a die and follow the directions for the number you roll. You can find a nice PDF to print out for playing here. We don’t keep a printer at home, so I just drew a quick mock-up on a large piece of paper and hung it on the fridge for us to easily see while we were playing.


Noah LOVED when he would roll a 2 and have to put the ice cube down his shirt:


Before we even started playing, I had the boys make predictions on which method or methods they thought would work the best. Of course, they said holding it and floating it in water, but they also included blowing on it which they learned later on was not really that effective! Luke was blowing on his cube so hard that little water droplets were flying up into his eyes. Not so fun after you had sprinkled salt all over your cube…


They realized very quickly that sprinkling salt on the cube is the most effective way to melt the ice, so they kept chanting, “Roll a 5! Roll a 5! Roll a 5!”


Final results: Luke 1st place, Noah 2nd place with a teeny little sliver, and Mommy in last place. Hey, I kept getting a 4 which was to drop it. Hands down the WORST roll to get!


3. What Dissolves in Water? Experiment: We had talked about certain substances dissolving in water last week when we made Jello and peach iced tea, but then I came across this activity online and thought this would be a lot of fun. What kid doesn’t love dumping random stuff in water and then stirring it up with a spoon? Such a simple pleasure. I chose the eight ingredients from our pantry myself and got it all set up for the boys while they were building Legos, but it could also be fun to let the kids ransack the pantry for substances that they would like to experiment with. Here’s what we worked with:


I also drew up a quick chart for Luke to record his predictions and the results. Reading and using charts is another good kindergarten skill to review. Kids need to be able to read information that is collected in a different format other than prose. I put the chart on a clipboard and told Luke that he was an official “experimenter” now!


Then the boys had at it! I let them take turns choosing what substance to experiment with. Luke would record a YES or NO on his chart based on whether or not he thought it would dissolve, then one boy would dump the substance in the water while the other one stirred. It was good teamwork! If you were doing this with more than two kids, it might be good to give each kid his/her own set of materials to avoid arguing and to really give each kid enough of a chance to interact with the experiment, otherwise they just get bored if they’re standing around watching someone else do it.

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In the end, Luke had predicted correctly on all of them except for flour and yeast. Not too bad!


4. Capillary Action Demonstration: This is another activity that I pulled from I Am Momma, but she had pulled it from another source. Here is the link from the Momma blog. Once there, she includes a link for her original source. The boys helped set up the experiment…


Then we, of course, made predictions about what might happen…


Then we let it do its magic while we were doing the dissolving experiment, eating lunch and taking rests…


When we came back to it a few hours later, this is what we found…


At that point, we reviewed our list of predictions and made a list of what we learned from this experiment. (See picture above of our Quick Think paper.) Luke thought that I had put blue water in the middle glass while they were in rest time. I assured him that I did not by having him feel how the entire paper towel was wet and how the two colors were meeting in the middle of the paper towel so that he could understand that it really was the water that had traveled. Now even more time has passed since our final observation, and some of the blue water is starting to travel up the yellow paper towel, so there is a small section that is green. Very cool! You can obviously do this experiment without food coloring, but I think the food coloring really makes the demonstration come alive in a more obvious way. Finally, I wanted to make sure that I was explaining capillary action, the scientific process behind this, correctly, so here is a site that I used. I mostly referred to the What’s Happening? section at the bottom.

I’ve got two more tricks up my sleeve, so stay tuned…


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