A Unique and Easy Birthday Gift Idea

Do you have this same problem? I take my kids to the toy store to select a gift for their friend’s birthday and they end up wanting the same thing? When I explain that it is not their birthday and they can put it on their Christmas list, drama ensues.

These days I tend to sneak to Target to do birthday gift shopping when the kids are at school to avoid the in-store battle. (Truth be told I remember doing the same thing to my mom… payback is.. well you know.)

So next time you need a birthday gift idea avoid the in-store drama and head to the dollar store for a unique and easy birthday gift that is under $20! Throw in book one of the Halley Harper series and you’ve got a great birthday gift for your child’s next birthday party they attend!

The dollar store supply list can be found at She Loves Science here along with a FREE PRINTABLE! You can find the Halley Harper book on Amazon here.

I hope this helps you avoid in-store drama with buying birthday gifts and more importantly I hope it gives you an easy idea for all the upcoming birthdays this year!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments, lovely conversations Tags:
How to make a fall garden 

During the days leading up to Hurricane Harvey we watched a LOT of the Weather Channel. Needless to say my kids had their fair share of watching cartoons to pass the days stuck indoors. So when the sun returned and things dried out we decided to turn off the TV and iPads and head outside.

What happened astonished me.

The kids wanted to play outside for hours and hours. One day they started planning where to plant a garden. Andrew dug up one of my backyard flowerbeds with a hoe while Allie made a master plan of what our garden was going to consist of. They found earthworms and grubs and even starting making a compost pile to prep for the garden.  (Should I have been more upset about my backyard flowerbed? Probably. But they were happy and were on a mission.)

From the beginning I was super skeptical of planting a garden in the fall. But my hope is to share with you our garden so you’ll be inspired to build one yourself and learn from our successes and mistakes along the way.

What you need:

  • A pre-made raised garden bed kit – This was the secret to a super simple small garden. You can find one here in several sizes
  • Visit here if you are in Texas and want guidance on what to plant in the fall. Here is another resource from HGTV.
  • topsoil

Our garden consists of cauliflower, parsley, sweet basil, rosemary, onions, spring mix and romaine lettuce, and sweet beef tomatoes.

What’s the science:

I love how gardens are full of science lessons from the beginning. We have had so many conversations about earthworms and grubs and what makes good garden soil.  Allie is making her own journal about how the garden will grow and change – the ultimate nature experiment!

This book is one of my favorites to discuss that we eat the tops, bottoms, and middle of so many different plants. For example, a carrot is the bottoms of a plant and broccoli is the top. You can find it here

Tops & Bottoms (Caldecott Honor Book) by [Stevens, Janet]

 

Here it is. Day 1 of our fall garden. Wish us luck and we’ll keep you posted on how it’s going!

Categories: he loves science too!, lovely conversations Tags: , , ,
Screeching Ghost Balloons 

Is it just me or when stores cleared their back to school items in late August then Halloween decorations were put in their place?  Stores have wanted us to feel like it’s fall but it’s even hard for me to drink a pumpkin spice latte when it’s still 90°F outside.

I do LOVE the fall especially because my youngest has her birthday around Halloween so I always have my eyes peeled for cute party decor and Halloween games with a science twist of course!

I recently saw this experiment on Steve Spangler and thought what a great Halloween science activity! All you have to do is draw a cute little ghost on the balloon and you’ve got a real haunted house sound! And of course my youngest really got the hang of it!

What you need: a white balloon, a black permanent marker, and a hex nut


 What you do:

  1. Place hex nut in balloon
  2. Blow up balloon and tie
  3. Draw a ghostly figure
  4. Twirl the balloon around until the hex nuts spin on the inside

Warning: Depending on the age of the hex nut it could cause the balloon to pop if it nicks the side. Supervise young kiddos when trying this at home.

What’s the science:

This experiment demonstrates centripetal force – the force that keeps the hex nut moving on a circular path. Other examples of centripetal force are satellites when they stay in orbit around the earth or when a hula hoop continues to spin around your body when you hula! The screeching sound is caused by the vibration of the balloon when the hex nut comes in contact with the latex.

For more fun Halloween experiments check out this blog’s header menu labeled ‘Halloween’.  It has my favorite She Loves Science Halloween posts over the years!

I hope you are able to enjoy this experiment with cooler fall temperatures!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments Tags: , ,
Make an easy thaumatrope (for the love of Texas)!

I’ll be completely honest, this is a hard post to write after experiencing Hurricane Harvey up close and personal. I didn’t know when it would feel like the right time to start sharing science experiments with you after such a devastating event that happened in Texas.

The cities that were devastated by Hurricane Harvey were places of my childhood. I was born in Corpus Christi, grew up in Victoria, spent many summers in Rockport and Port O’Conner and have tons and tons of friends and family up and down the Texas coast. Not to mention that downtown Houston was my home for 13 years before I moved north to the Woodlands.

Many of you that read this blog left before the storm only to come back to flooded homes and a future of rebuilding. Some of you stayed only to watch the flood waters rising, prayed that it would stop before it got in your homes, and hoped the tornado alarms wouldn’t wake your sleeping babies. It was scary. It was raw. I love you and I am still praying for each one of you.

I still remember the day that the sun finally came out. My 7 year old drew this picture about 20 minutes before it broke through the clouds here in the Woodlands. I’ve never been so happy to see the sun. (It beat seeing the solar eclipse any day.)

There are many places that are accepting donations for Hurricane Harvey. Please consider donating to the American Red Cross to continue helping the people that desperately need your support.

Many of your kids do not have school starting back up for a few more days. I hope this post will help you bring a little sunshine and science to them. Won’t you consider making this easy unique craft for the love of Texas!?

What you need: 8.5X11″ paper, tape, straw, scissors, crayons, black marker

How to do it:

      • Fold 8.5 X 11″ paper three times
      • Unfold and cut paper in half and cut in half again
      • Fold paper and write “WE” and “TEXAS” with a space in the middle
      • Turn the paper over and draw a heart in the middle of the paper and color
      • Tape a straw in between the folded paper
      • Tape the folded paper to make sure it stays together
      • Twist the straw between your hands and watch the thaumotrope in action!

    What’s the science: A thaumatrope is a type of optical illusion and an early precursor to animation. Assemble one with your kids and see how creative they can be with imagining shapes to fill the blank space. It will inspire their curiosity which of course is what science is all about!

Categories: 5 minute experiments, science art Tags: