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October 17, 2014

Static Electricity Butterfly Experiment

Static Electricity is a fascinating subject, especially for preschoolers. Every once in a while someone in my household will touch another family member after unintentionally rubbing their feet on the carpet and will give them an accidental shock. It stirs up all sorts of fun conversations about electricity. My Mom used to be a school teacher and I remember her using this fun static electricity experiment where children charged a balloon and could magically make butterfly wings flutter up and down. I decided to give it a go with my children and it was oodles of fun!      


How does Static Electricity work?

Usually, an atom has an equal number of protons and electrons. Electrons have a negative charge of electricity and protons have a positive charge of electricity. Opposite charges attract, so when materials rub together and one material becomes negatively charged and one is positively charged, static electricity results. 

Our Experiment:

To demonstrate the effects of static electricity. What will happen if we charge a balloon by rubbing it in our hair, and then hold it over tissue paper wings of a butterfly?

Supplies you will need:
  • cardboard
  • tissue paper
  • cardstock paper
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • googly eyes
  • balloon
  • glue stick
Directions:
1. Start by cutting a square of cardboard. I made mine about 7 inches x 7 inches. 


2. Use your pencil to draw butterfly wings on your tissue paper. Since my cardboard square was 7" x 7", I just made sure to make them smaller than my square. Cut them out and set them onto your cardboard. DO NOT glue them onto the cardboard!

3. Cut a butterfly body out of your cardstock paper and glue it down the middle of your butterfly and overlapping it onto your cardboard. Again, DO NOT glue the tissue paper wings down. You will want the wings loose like shown in my picture below. Glue your googly eyes down onto your butterfly. I should have drawn antennae on our butterfly but I just didn't think about it at the time. You can add those if you choose.

  
4. Now comes the fun part. Blow up your balloon. We used water balloons that we had leftover from this summer so they were small in size, but using regular sized balloons would have been even better. 

5. Rub your balloon in your hair to give it an electric charge. Now hold the balloon on top of your butterfly, close but not touching it, and watch the wings raise and lower as you move the balloon closer and farther away.


My preschooler loved this! If the charge starts to fade, simply rub the balloon in your hair again and it's ready to make your wings flutter all over again. It was a little difficult to get great pictures of the butterfly in action because my daughter moved so quickly.

Results: Why did the butterfly wings move?

When we rubbed the balloon onto our hair, electrons were lost from our hair and gained by the balloon giving it a static charge. When the negatively charged balloon gets close to the positively charged tissue paper they are attracted to each other, and the pull of attraction is so great that the lightweight tissue paper moves toward the balloon.


This experiment is obviously not limited to only preschoolers. My 9 year old son had a great time experimenting with the balloon and butterfly. He was a little more controlled in his movements so I was able to get a couple better pictures.


This post is part of a collaborative Creative Preschool series where 4 bloggers and myself have joined together to bring you fun crafts and activities based on a common preschool learning theme. This week we are sharing ideas focused on Science Experiments.

Check out the other Science Experiment Ideas from the other Creative Preschool Bloggers:
Make Charts with Preschoolers | Pink Stripey Socks
Pop Rock Balloons | A Little Pinch of Perfect


Stop by Friday, November 7th for Fall Preschool Posts.

You might also like our Humpty Dumpty Science Activity!

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rachel

October 13, 2014

Melted Plastic Cup Pumpkins

My daughter's preschool teacher recently made melted plastic cup apples with my daughter's class. I have since decided they are the coolest thing ever! My 4 year old raved about how amazing it was to watch the cup melt in the oven so quickly and I have been eager to experience this awesomeness for myself... So when I found orange plastic cups at the store you better bet I was all over creating melted pumpkins to be just as cool as my daughter's preschool teacher (wink!).

{This post contains affiliate links, read our Disclosure Policy for more information.}

Supplies you will need:
Directions:
1. Cut the rim off of your orange plastic cup. Place it on your baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. This will protect your baking sheet from the melted plastic. I melted 2 cups at a time on my baking sheet.


2. Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your baking sheet in the oven. (Make sure your kids are looking through the window of your oven at this awesome part) You will have to watch them closely because they melt very fast. I cooked mine for 90 seconds, but depending on your oven they may need to cook for 1-2 minutes. Once the cups have melted flat remove them out of the oven. Some of mine curled slightly so as soon as I removed them from the oven I used my metal spatula to press on them lightly to uncurl them and flatten them out as best as I could. You only have a window of about 10 seconds to do this so you must work fast! You can see in my picture below that they aren't perfectly flat, they have a little bit of curvature to them, but they still resemble a pumpkin shape.


3. At this point I used a hole punch to punch a hole in the pumpkin. We cut our green pipe cleaner in half, poked it through the front of the pumpkin and twisted it around itself to attach it to the pumpkin. Curl the remaining strand around your finger to make a vine.


4. Also, glue a brown stem to the back of your pumpkin. We used a glue dot because we had them on hand, but you could also use a hot glue gun (requires adult assistance) or tacky glue.


5. Now it's time to embellish your pumpkin however your choose. Some things we used were a black marker, neon glitter glue, and glow in the dark glitter glue. The glow in the dark glitter glue turned out pretty fun. Here's a peek at our pumpkin glowing in the dark.


Here is my 4 yr old's pumpkin face she created.


Try combining this craft with

You might also enjoy our Pumpkin Cutting Practice Jack-o-Lantern Craft or our Balloon Stamped Pumpkin Patch Art.

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rachel

Preschool Halloween Crafts and Learning Activities

Holidays create a fun opportunity to incorporate crafting and learning activities into preschool. We had a great combination of both crafts, science and learning activities this past week shared from our Creative Preschool Collaborator Group and I'm excited to showcase them here in case you missed any of them.


For our activity we combined scissor cutting practice by cutting up orange straws into a textured Pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern Craft.  I always love when we are able to incorporate a learning aspect into our crafts.

Read our Pumpkin Cutting Practice Jack-o-Lantern Craft

Here are the Preschool Halloween Posts from our creative preschool buddies:

Amanda from Artsy Momma and her kids conducted a preschool science activity by self-inflating balloons into monsters and Frankenstein. Be sure to head over to see how to set up this fun experiment. They also reinforced fine motor skills and counting by adding googly eyes to Monster Printables. 

Pink Stripey Socks and her son had fun trying out a fun new painting technique while creating this darling Halloween Ghost Splat Art. Kids are sure to have a blast with this awesome splat painting technique! 

Handmade Kids Art shows us how to create a not so scary Owl Halloween Craft for Kids out of coffee filters. Make sure to check out the great list of owl books for preschoolers included in their post!
 
Katie from A Little Pinch of Perfect and her kids made this 5 Little Pumpkins Count and Sing Craft that even lights up in the dark. Such a fun way to practice counting! They also created a Halloween Weaving Decoration and showed us how to play a Create a Pumpkin Play Dough Game. There was lots of learning going on in their activities full of sensory, fine motor, counting and creating! 


More Halloween Crafts & Activities from the Creative Preschool Collaborators:

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rachel

October 12, 2014

Glow in the Dark Play Dough

Welcome to another edition of the 12 Months of Sensory Dough. This month is all about Glowing Dough. This past week as I've dropped my boys off at school we've been able to see the moon off in the distance in the sky in front of us. The other day it was so big and seemed so close and my daughter leaned over to one of my son's and said, "I'm going to ask Mommy to get a big, big ladder and climb up and get the Moon for me." True story! It was pretty adorable! As I thought about our Glowing Dough challenge and our recent excitement over seeing the moon in the sky each morning, I decided to make Glow in the Dark Play Dough and combine it with moon and star cookie cutters to make our own pretend night sky.

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We couldn't make this dough without incorporating some of our favorite books! Here are two of our favorites that have a moon theme.

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
Monica wants the moon to play with, so her Papa sets out to get it for her. It isn't easy to climb all the way up to the moon, but he finally succeeds -- only to find that the moon is too big to carry home! The way in which this problem is solved is a joyful surprise. Make sure to check out our Textured Moon Craft that goes along with this book!

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay
It is about a young boy who took an imaginary journey with the moon at nighttime, where they go places and discover the beauty of the World after dark. I like how this book encourages children to have an imagination and be creative. Make sure to check out our Moon Drawings Craft that also goes along with this book.

How to Make Glow in the Dark Play Dough

You won't believe how simple it is to make this Glow in the Dark Play Dough! We opted to make it a no-cook version but you could easily adapt any cooked version. Here is the recipe we put together for our dough:

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water
6 oz glow in the dark paint (we used three 2 oz bottles purchased at Michael's)

Directions:
1. Add your flour, salt, oil and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. Pour your 2 cups of boiling water on top of your ingredients and mix the ingredients together and knead together as much as possible. At this point my play dough wasn't a perfect consistency, it was a little dry, but that's ok because you are adding 6 oz of liquid paint to even out the dryness.

2. Add your 6 oz of glow in the dark paint to your play dough. Use your hands to knead the paint into the dough until it is incorporated completely throughout the dough. (Warning: If the dough is still too hot to handle from the hot water, let it sit for a couple minutes until you begin the kneading process!)

3. After my paint was incorporated I added another small dusting of flour onto my dough and kneaded it in. You may not need to do this. It just depends on the consistency on how your play dough feels. You be the judge!

4. Put your play dough into your mixing bowl, cover it with saran wrap, and place it under a light source to help activate it's "glow" effect until you're ready to play with it.


Our dough worked without having to use a black light but depending on the type of glow paint you buy, you may need to have a black light in order for your dough to properly glow. Make sure to read the label on your paint bottle to make sure you're prepared with a black light if you need one.

 
We also learned it's hard to use cookie cutters in the dark, even with the dough glowing. So if you want to make a specific scene with cookie cutters, you may want to do it in the light and then turn off the lights to view it in it's perfection.


As a reminder, this play dough is not safe to eat. If you have toddlers or children who will try to eat or taste this play dough, do not make it! The glow in the dark paint in the play dough is not safe for consumption! As with all activities involving paint, I recommend washing your hands after playing with this play dough.


If the glow in your play dough starts to fade while you're playing with it, it will need to be activated under a light source for a time period and then should glow again. We just barely made our play dough so I'm not sure how long it lasts, but I imagine it lasts as long as any normal play dough recipe lasts. 

Read our other months from the series with a Book Recommendation and Invitation to Play Activity:

Cupcake Foam Dough
Digging for Worms Could Dough
Build a Ladybug with Edible Play Dough
Making Lemon Trees with Scented Play Dough
Small Crab World with DIY Moon Sand
Make a Banana Split Ice Cream Dough
Fizzy Dough Alphabet Ocean Hunt 
Monster Slime
Pumpkin Play Dough Invitation to Play


Check out the other Co-hosts posts this month about No Cook Play Dough:  

Lemon Lime Adventure

Now it's your turn...

Do you have a favorite Glowing Dough recipe, activity or post you would like to share? We would love to see! Have you ever had a Glowing Dough Fail? We would love to see those too! Please link up your posts below in the link party. You can also post a picture on FacebookInstagramTwitter or Google+ with the tag #ilovesensorydough. 

Please read the following guidelines before linking up.
  • Share family-friendly posts related to the month's theme. Feel free to link old or new posts that highlight your favorite recipes for sensory dough. Failures and unsuccessful attempts are welcome.
  • We ask that no posts are linked with copy/paste recipes from other sources. If you use a recipe from another source, please link back to the original recipe.
  • By linking up, you give permission to share your post and one photograph in future posts and through social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that others have shared. Discover new ideas and meet new friends!
The linky will remain open for two weeks. On the 12th of each month, all co-hosts will post a new dough with their spin, and will pin each post to the 12 Months of Sensory Dough Board.

Don't forget to join us next month (November 12th) for Salt Dough.
To see the yearly schedule, go HERE.

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rachel

October 9, 2014

Frankenstein Contact Paper Sticky Wall

It's been a while since we've made contact paper sticky wall art. Since I've had Halloween on the brain, I came up with this idea to use different materials to create a Frankenstein. My daughter had so much fun and ended up with a unique looking, spooky creature.  

{This post contains affiliate links, read our Disclosure Policy for more information.}

Looking for a book to go along with this book?
Try Monster Mash by David Catrow

Supplies you will need:
Directions:
1. Start by cutting a piece off of your contact paper roll for your Frankenstein. Use your permanent marker to draw a rectangle shape on your contact paper. Peel the backing off the contact paper and tape it to your wall with the sticky side facing out.


2. Gather your materials for making your Frankenstein. In my head I tried to envision how a Frankenstein could be put together, and I decided on these materials: green tissue paper squares, foil cut up into bolts, black construction paper cut into strips for hair and a straight mouth piece, two large googly eyes glued to 2 white circle, some black washi tape and a pair of scissors.


3. Set your child(ren) loose, creating a Frankenstein. I added the rectangle lines as a guide and my daughter chose to use them as a guide for her adding her tissue paper squares. We have made lots of contact paper art so she is pretty used to our projects. Don't get discouraged if your child goes outside the lines or comes up with their completely own creation. This is really set up to be an open-ended art project and that is what is so beautiful about it....Just letting your child create what they want with the materials.


4. After adding a couple pieces of tissue paper my daughter grabbed for the eyes and continued adding tissue paper around them and on the face. As she got towards the bottom I reminded her about the mouth because I was worried she would forget and not have a sticky place to put it on the contact paper. (If your child forgets the mouth don't fret, you can always just use a glue stick to add some glue to the back of your mouth and add it to your creation.)


5. Continue your Frankenstein by adding on the foil bolts, the construction paper hair and using some construction paper pieces to add eyebrows and a nose if you choose. Our nose and eyebrows were an after thought so my daughter used a glue stick to help adhere them to the tissue paper.

6. For the scars my daughter cut and used pieces of black polka-dot washi tape. 


My daughter was pretty proud of her creepy Frankenstein creation! What other kinds of Halloween creations can you think of creating with a contact paper stick wall?


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rachel