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: , , ,
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: ,
Thanksgiving Turkey Bombs

turkeybomb

We hope you don’t eat so much turkey for Thanksgiving that you “pop”! But if you do and are looking for ways to keep tired kiddos happy then whip up a few of these turkey-bombs and they will be laughing and learning science.  We discovered how fun these were for Halloween here and I think you’ll love them too with a turkey twist.

Here’s what you need: Ziploc bag, markers, water, food coloring, and 3 Alka-Seltzer tablets

Here’s what you do:

  • Make the cutest turkey possible on the Ziploc Bag
  • Fill the bag about 1/4 full of water
  • Hold 3 Alka Seltzer tablets in the top empty corner of the bag
  • Seal bag without dropping tablets in
  • Then let go of the Alka Seltzer and shake the bag allowing the Alka Seltzer and water to mix
  • Hold your I-phone steady because you’ll even be surprised when it pops!

Check this out…

What’s the science?

Alka-Seltzer is made of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and citric acid.  When you toss it into water the tablet dissolves and mixes the acid and base together and releases carbon dioxide.  This is a similar reaction to  mixing baking soda and vinegar. The bag blows up because the carbon dioxide is trapped inside.

Have a great Thanksgiving visiting family and entertaining with a bit of fun science!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments Tags: , , , ,
The Pine Cone Experiment

pineconepic

If you are looking for a simple fall nature experiment you’ve got to try this one!  We always have amazing pine cones that cover our yard. This spring, during a random flooding event, we ended up painting pine cones to pass the long day of no school.  Aren’t they pretty? But….notice anything strange about them?


They are all closed! They had been soaking in a torrential rain downpour for days when the picture was taken. This realization reminded me of the pine cone experiment that I had seen here.  So we decided to conduct our own experiment to see how long our pine cones would take to close.

How to do it?

  • Choose a few open dry pine cones
  • Fill a jar or vase with water and place pine cones inside (don’t worry if they aren’t fully submersed)
  • Guess how long they will take to close up

While we were waiting we decided to find the seeds in a third pine cone. Can you spot them?  After about 10 minutes we went back in to check on our pine cones and lo and behold they had closed up!

Before                             After 10 minutes

What’s the science?

Pine cones are hygroscopic which means they soak up water from their surrounding environment (like humid air or rainwater). The cells located at the bottom of the cone’s scales absorb water and that pressure is enough to move the rest of the scale forward. This amazing feature of the cone helps the seed come out when it is dry and warm and stay protected within the cone when it is wet or humid.  Who knew pine cones could be so interesting!?

I hope you enjoy this simple experiment and discover all the fun science you can do out in nature!

Categories: lovely conversations Tags: , , ,