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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Kids and science

Uploaded: Mar 8, 2018
Whenever grandma visits us, our kids always ask her for more science experiments. She has a lot up her sleeve, but it's not always easy to find quick and simple science experiments to fill in the gaps between her visits.

Earlier this week, one of our play dates was cancelled. What a perfect excuse to test out some science activities. Here were our favorites from our impromptu science afternoon:

1. How many drops of water can you fit on a penny? I had forgotten this simple yet eye-opening experiment. The next time we'll add soap and various liquids to see which has the highest surface tension. This time we stuck with plain old water, pennies and a pipette.

2. Pencils through a ziplock bag. I remember being fascinated by this experiment when I was a young kid. Unlike the penny experiment, I remember repeating this one over and over in my backyard with friends.

3. Using a cup of water to hold up an index card. I couldn't believe that our kids hadn't seen this trick done before. It was a fun activity to do with the 70 degree weather (as this one gets a little wet when the seal breaks and the water dumps out of the cup).

4. Egg in a bottle. I finally remembered to save a glass bottle that was the right size for an egg to squeeze into. It was a tight fit, but the experiment actually worked. I remember this experiment failing multiple times at home, school or camp. I don't remember why, but I assume the bottle was the wrong size or the fire wasn't burning well. Next time I'll be sure to do this particular experiment outside (the smoke and egg smell was not very pleasant)

5. Magnets. We bought a magnetic science kit awhile ago and it's been a fun toy to pull out every now and then. Our favorite activity is vrooming a car across the floor using magnets.

6. A classic with a twist. We've made a lot of baking soda and vinegar volcanoes at home, but our kids had never inflated a balloon using baking soda and vinegar. For us, it was a fun way to change up one of our favorite science activities.

This spring break I'm sure my mom will bring more science experiments with her. But I hope our kids can stay entertained by these, and other similar simple experiments, until she arrives.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ryan Hooper, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Mar 13, 2018 at 5:00 am

These are great experiment ideas for kids! My little ones are also very interested in such fun-science. Recently we've tried the one with mentos and coke (it's not on the list above, but still worth trying!). It's suitable probably for older children. This week I'm going to prepare everything for the one with plastic bag and pencils. The good old trick with potato and clock should also work well, but for this you need to be better equipped. Anyway, Cheryl, thanks for the tips, I find them very useful!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ryan Hooper, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Mar 13, 2018 at 5:12 am

And magnetic science kit is, at some point, every kid's dream :) We've already bought two of them, as each kid wanted it's own. Still it's getting harder to play with magnets at home, as more and more things are made from plastic than any metal. Maybe it's even better when it comes to the learning part of the fun.

Ryan Hooper
Web Link

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 13, 2018 at 9:55 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Ryan Hooper - Thanks for the experiment ideas. I'll definitely add them to our list of ones to try. I've seen videos of the Mentos and coke experiment. Looks like a lot of messy fun!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Marion Krause, a resident of Southgate,
on Mar 14, 2018 at 8:50 am

Suggestion! Take your kids out to the Baylands and visit the Environmental Volunteers EcoCenter on Embarcadero Rd. There are all kinds of science and environmental experiments on display. Environmental Volunteers is a leading environmental education organization in the Bay Area. Learn more about us at
Marion Krause
Environmental Volunteers

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 14, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Marion Krause - Thanks for the suggestions. Sounds like a fun science outing.

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