Cotton Ball Science

Are you planning a Vacation Bible School this summer? Have you ever wanted to combine teaching science with teaching religion with your kids?  Then you must check out this book of science activities that illustrate Bible lessons!

I found this gem when I was preparing to give a talk to my church’s moms group. The topic is how to teach your kids about science and God’s creation. And of course I had to plan a talk to include a hands-on experiment!  I think this cotton ball experiment will be perfect to do with a large crowd (and inexpensive!)

So of course I tested it out with my kids and they LOVED it! The object is to see how many cotton balls you can place in a glass of water without it overflowing. The bible verse the book pairs with it is “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20)

Check this out. I just love how her expression changes from skeptical to magical.

What is the science?

Cotton is made of a plant fiber called cellulose. Cellulose under a microscope would look like tiny tubes filled with air. A cotton ball is made up of many tubes of cellulose. A cotton ball itself has a volume that is mostly empty space filled with air. So when you place the cotton ball in the glass it will mostly absorb the water instead of displacing it. Who knew a cotton ball is basically an air ball?

Q: How many cotton balls you can place in a glass of water without it overflowing?

A: We had to stop at 30 because I ran out of cotton balls. How many can you do?

What is the Bible lesson?

The cotton ball is surprising in it’s properties just as God capacity to love us is beyond our imagination.

I hope you enjoy sharing God’s creation with your little scientists!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments, lovely conversations Tags: , , ,
7 Ways to Feel Less Awkward When Doing Science with Your Kids

Do you ever feel like this when you want to start a science experiment with your kids? I’ll admit, I still feel awkward when I say, “OK kids! It’s time to do science!”  It feels so forced and corny.

But there are so many benefits of starting an appreciation of science at home with your kids. Take for example reading. When you read to your kids, you instill an appreciation of reading in them. I love this quote below. It really sums it up for me. Don’t you think?

So here are 7 ways to get over the awkward part of starting science and get to the fun part of doing science with your kids!

  1. Involve food: The most natural way to have a science conversation is when it involves food. You start baking and then start asking your kids questions. Why does the bread rise? What does baking soda do? Make some bread and start a great science lesson!

2. Head out in nature: This was one of my favorite conversations with Allie was when we walked out in nature and made flower bracelets. I got the idea here. It really is amazing how much science is in your own backyard.

3. Make it magic: So many magic tricks involve science. This one is a lot of fun to do while waiting in a busy restaurant. The whole family can get involved!

4. Let go of your expectationsI remember one summer I wanted so badly to do an experiment I saw on Pinterest with my then 5 year old daughter. All she wanted to do was experiment with things that float in the pool. I let go of my expectations and watched her be her own scientist. Kids know how to do that better than we do!


5. Give them their own science kit: We give our kids doctor kits why not their own science kit? These are all dollar store items that can make countless experiments right at their fingertips.

6. Science in the car: Truth be told I can’t answer half the questions my kids come up with in the car. But when they do I turn it into a teachable moment. Like where does all the rain water go? How does it get there? How does a water tower work?

The answer? Science. BAM!

7. Read a book together: We adore reading these books at bedtime. I can’t wait to introduce you to the middle grade fiction chapter book I’m releasing this summer complete with a science girl hero! Stay tuned for more info soon!

I hope this helps you feel less awkward starting science with your kids. Once you get past the awkward turtle stage it really is a lot of fun to see science through your kids eyes! Good luck!

(Awkward Turtle Photo Credit Etsy)

Categories: lovely conversations
Science Music to my Ears 

Several years ago I thought it was so cute when Allie asked to get my husband bells for his birthday. Of course this turned out to be more of a present for her than for him.

Since then we’ve had two more kiddos and the bells have been stashed around the house because it turns out that noise exponentially increases the more kids you have. I’m sure there is a mathematical equation to prove this but I digress..

This afternoon the kids found one of the bells and began bickering over who was going to drive mom crazy with a bell solo. I figured it was the perfect time for a science experiment together while I put the bell away from reaching distance. Little did I know how much the kids would enjoy this experiment making music together.

What you need: 

  • Several glasses
  • Tap water
  • Metal spoon
  • Food coloring (I got the idea to color the water from this post… it really is genius.)
  • Optional: These trays will mitigate messes

How you do it:

  • Fill the water glasses with different levels of water
  • Add food coloring for fun
  • Gently tap the glasses
  • Discuss how the different water level changes the sound


Beautiful isn’t it? I think they were surprised too! We ended up taking the bells down and tried matching the bell note to the water glass. Now that was fun.

What’s the science? 

Sound occurs due to vibration. When you tap a spoon on glass, the glass vibrates at a certain frequency.  The lower the water level, the higher vibration frequency causing a high tone. The higher the water level, the lower the tone.

So thanks to science, what could have turned out to be a loud-bell-ringing-sibling-argument instead turned out to be a beautiful science symphony.

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments Tags: ,
Rainbow Science

Who doesn’t stop and stare when they see a rainbow? And what kid doesn’t want to do science when the results burst into a colorful rainbow pattern? I hope you enjoy this colorful roundup on this first day of spring!

My kids love this simple walking water rainbow.

Candy and science. It’s what classics are made of!

Watch a rainbow of color explode in the Rainbow Milk experiment.

I dare you to do this Rainbow Magic Bag over the over your head like we did!

Add all the colors of the rainbow to make an amazing shaving cream Rain Cloud!

And my favorite, make your very own rainbow in your own backyard!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, science art Tags: ,