Kids love making bath bombs! It’s an activity I have done in several settings and it’s always popular with both boys and girls. Most recently, I ran this as a school fair where it was so popular it was hard to keep up with demand! It is better in a more controlled setting such as a classroom or youth group.
The main things in a bath bomb that make it fizz are bicarbonate of soda (an alkali) and citric acid (an acid – clue’s in the name really). When these chemicals mix in water they react and form a gas (carbon dioxide), this gas is what causes the fizzy bubbles you see in the bath when you drop them in. The other chemicals in the bath bomb are there to make it smell nice or add effects to the water (e.g colour or glitter). If you ever make these yourself my top tip is only put a teeny tiny bit of glitter or petals or whatever in your bomb, believe me they get all over your bath as well as all over you!
Why are you doing that?
What’s that for?
What is gas?
What does this do? [breaks something]
What is that man/lady doing?…usually followed by “why?”
These are just some of the questions my kids as pre-schoolers asked me in the past. You can’t say they’re not inquisitive…of course when you have it all day it drives you crazy. But it got me thinking about little people and the innate curiosity that they have and was the inspiration behind Sci Babies. You can take pre-schoolers to all kinds of activities: dancing, gym, singing, French, sign language, swimming, the list goes on but science seems to be missing unless you live near a museum or science centre.
I spent a lot of time thinking about creating science workshops for pre-schoolers, and linking to their natural ability to question everything and want to explore things for themselves. Obviously standing up and talking at them for any length of time isn’t going to work, so whenever I thought of an idea I jotted it down. Several obvious themes have been developed into workshops. The activities are fun and appealing for the kids and the overall themes link nicely to the early years foundation stage framework (EYFS) so nursery staff should be pleased too.
The Forces workshop was easy to create, there’s so many fun activities that you can link to a toddler’s world. I ran this at a local nursery recently. We played games using lolly sticks as levers to propel rice crispies in to the air. They thought this was hilarious especially when they landed in one lad’s hair! We also made rockets and finished with a mentos and diet coke fountain. I know this workshop went well because the offices above the nursery all shut their windows to block out the noise of noisy excited little people!
I also developed a workshop about the weather as requested by a nursery in Durham. In this workshop we made clouds and simulated the water cycle which they enjoyed immensely, played with ice and at the end they made windmills which they then span round using a fan.
Suggestions for other topics are welcome! If you are interested in having a workshop in your pre-school or nursery, please see our sister site Sci Babies or contact us.
I have recently supported two primary schools in County Durham to put on a science fair in their school. I worked with the year 6 pupils over four weeks to help them take charge and put on a great show for their peers. In the first couple of sessions, I took lots of short, fun activities for the pupils to try. They critiqued them, changed some, chose some, added new ideas and rejected some until they had their own repertoire of activities for their fair.
In each school, we ran a half day science fair for key stage (KS)1 and a half day for KS2. A small group of 2-3 year 6 pupils were in charge of each activity and demonstrated it to their peers in the rest of the school. We opened each fair with fizzy drink and mentos fountain which got everybody excited and then pupils went round the different activity stations and were helped to try the activities themselves by the year 6s. In one of the schools the year 6s trained the year 5s to demonstrate the activities at the KS1 fair. We also had other teachers, parents and governors helping out during the day.
Everyone who took part had a great time. The kids demonstrating the activities really got to understand the science behind their activities so they could explain it to their friends. Parents were also invited after school to see what had been going on so the project was also a great way of getting the wider school community involved.
If you are interested in running a similar project at your school, please go to the Primary school workshops page for more information or contact Dr Research.