Family Science Night

Planning science night for 500 kids on a $150 budget.

Every year my son’s elementary school has a Family Fun Night hosted by the PTA. This year’s theme was science! Many of the area STEM camps and science companies had displays and activities for the kids. The PTA asked if any parents had ideas for experiments, and I volunteered. There are so many things you can do to teach science to young children! 

Picture this: Hundreds of families milling about on the soccer field. Music is playing. Food trucks are lined up with concessions. There are inflatable bounce houses and obstacle courses. Drones are flying overhead. Companies have booths set up with information and activities. Now throw in a laboratory. This can be quite challenging.

My first thought was: science and food do not mix. You never eat in a lab. It’s not safe.

My second thought was: kids are literally going to be running around everywhere. Who is going to pay attention long enough to do a science experiment?

Now throw in a few more challenges:

  1. Only three weeks to prepare.
  2. Budget of $150 for up to 500 kids of all ages, mostly grades K-5.
  3. No electricity available in the middle of a soccer field. No flames. No dangerous chemicals. No dry ice.

I really wanted to do experiments that were different than the classic baking soda and vinegar reaction that most kids have seen. Isolating DNA from bananas or strawberries would be cool,  but that would take too long. Making plastic milk would be interesting, but that reaction requires heat if you want to do it quickly. Making bath bombs or perfume or lip gloss would be interesting for the girls, but it would break the budget. The goal was to get a bunch of experiments together, allowing about 500 kids to participate in each activity.

Two experiments were requested by the PTA members: Mentos Geyser and Slime. Slime for 500 kids can get expensive. A gallon of glue costs $15 in the craft stores, and they don’t allow coupons. There goes a third of the budget just for slime!

I spent a few days thinking about appropriate experiments and here’s what I came up with. Clicking on each experiment will take you to a website that describes how do it. 

Mentos Geyser Add a few Mentos to a bottle of Diet Coke and watch it explode.

Slime Add Borax to Elmer’s Glue to make slime.

Can you fit through an index card? Fit your body through one index card using only scissors.

Tie Dye Milk: Drop some food coloring in milk, add a drop of dish soap and watch the colors run.

Dancing Raisins: Add raisins to a jar of carbonated water and watch them dance.

Toothpick Race: Float toothpicks in water, add dish soap and watch them race.

Stained Glass Glue: Drop some food coloring onto glue, add a drop of dish soap and watch the colors spread.

Magic Mud: Add water to cornstarch- is it a solid or is it a liquid?

Water Beads- Add water to polymer beads and watch them grow.

Rain Cloud: Add a layer of shaving cream to a jar of water, drop some food coloring on top, and watch it rain.

Dissolving Candy: Place several M&M’s on a plate with a layer of water. The colors will dissolve, but will not mix.

Salt Volcano: Add oil and water to a jar, then add a teaspoon of salt. The salt will pull the oil into the water, then it will dissolve and the oil will float back to the surface.

Bubbling Blob:  Add oil and water to a jar, then add an Alka Seltzer tablet for a lava lamp effect.

I’m happy to say I came in $20 under budget. I was lucky to find glue on sale on Amazon. The experiments were not as well rounded as I would have liked, but they were colorful and entertaining and the kids had a great time. My favorite experiment was the Stained Glass Glue. I had never done that experiment before, and I enjoyed the designs the colors made. Here’s a picture of the experiment we did at home:

Stained Glass Glue

Have you ever done science experiments with a large group of people? What experiments did you try?

Science in Space Fabric

Science in Space fabric by Timeless Treasures features classic science icons on a starry blue background.

Science in Space

Today I wanted to share with you another fun science fabric!

Fabric Name- Timeless Treasures Science in Space Midnight

Material- 100% cotton fabric

Background color- Midnight blue

Theme- Science

Description:

Timeless Treasures Science in Space fabric features classic science icons over a starry outer space background. There are microscopes, flasks, test tubes in a test tube rack, strands of DNA, atomic rings, a magnet, sine waves, other waves, E=mc², chemical structures, ball and stick models and mathematical equations. The background is midnight blue with sky blue space clouds and dust. White stars are sprinkled throughout the fabric, giving everything a sparkling look.

 

Circuitree: Christmas Fabric For Technology Lovers

Christmas fabric for technology lovers.

Circuitree

I am so excited to share this new Christmas fabric that is perfect for technology lovers!

Fabric Name- Ghosts of Christmas Future Circuitree by Michael Miller

Material- 100% cotton fabric

Background color- Green

Theme- Christmas, Technology

Description:

I love this design by Michael Miller featuring circuits in the shape of Christmas trees! The green background matches a typical circuit board. The wires are light green with golden yellow ends. They make the shape of a tree with yellow lights or ornaments. How clever!

When I saw this fabric, I immediately thought of my son who is really fascinated by technology. He loves pulling old electronics apart and examining the circuit boards inside. This fabric is great for anyone who enjoys circuits, electronics or technology in general. I’ve made a gift bag using this fabric to hold a special Christmas gift for my technology-loving child. What will you use this fabric for?

 

How to sew boxed corners

Ever wonder how to make a bag three dimensional? Learn how to sew boxed corners in this blog.

Corners are tricky. Whether you are painting them, moving furniture around them, trying to see around them, or sewing them- corners always need some extra attention.

There are several ways to sew corners. In this blog I’ll show you the method that I like to use when sewing my bags. I use this method because I reliably get the same size corner on both sides of the bag.

To begin, sew two pieces of fabric, right sides together, with a quarter inch seam allowance. Sew down one side until you are a quarter inch from the bottom, turn your fabric 90 degrees, and continue to sew along the next side. (You can use whatever seam allowance you want, just make sure you keep it the same on both sides of your corner.)

CornersStep1
Sew along the edges of your fabric.

The next step is to determine how deep you need your corners to be. If you want a two inch deep corner, you’ll need a one inch square: Use half of the desired depth to draw a square on the corner of your fabric*.

CornersStep2
Measure half of the desired corner depth.

Cut out the square.

CornersStep3
Cut the corner, open the hole, and line up the side and bottom seams.

Now, pinch the corner of your cut out square to open it. Roll your fabric, so that the seam from the side of the bag lines up with the seam on the bottom. Your fabric should be in a straight line, with the seam in the middle of the fabric edge, perpendicular to that edge. I push my seam allowance to one side. Pin in place.

CornersStep4
Sew along the edge (red line) to close the corner.

Sew along the straight edge to close your corner. I use the same quarter inch seam allowance. Flip your fabric right side out. And there you have it! A three dimensional piece of fabric, with aligned seams!

*The fine print: Cutting a corner at an EXACT depth requires some more careful measurements. In the example above, the hole that was cut for the corner was two inches deep, but then I sewed it another quarter inch away from the edge. Technically, the resulting corner is about 2.25 inches deep. To get EXACTLY two inches deep, cut your corner hole slightly less than one inch, roll your fabric and pin as above. Place a ruler parallel to the edge of the hole and move it away from the hole until the fabric measures two inches from top to bottom. Draw a line on that spot and sew on top of this line. Now your finished corner should be two inches deep.

 

Potions and Spells: Apothecary Bottles Fabric

Apothecary bottles Halloween fabric.

Apothecary Bottles

Fabric Name- Haunted House Apothecary Black by Carta Bella for Riley Blake Designs

Material- 100% cotton fabric

Background color- Black

Theme- Halloween

Description:

Colorful apothecary bottles on a black background. When I saw this fabric, I thought of a mad scientist in an underground lab, brewing up potions and spells for a frightful Halloween night.

Check out my Halloween goody bags made with this fabric here.

Chemistry Blackboard Fabric

What does a chemistry blackboard look like? Take a look at this fabric.

Chemistry Blackboard

Fabric Name- Chemistry Blackboard

Material- 100% cotton fabric

Background color- Black

Theme- Science, Chemistry

Description:

Chemistry Blackboard fabric is back in stock! This black and white fabric features chemistry drawings on a black background. There are many chemical names written in different fonts. The drawings include test tubes, flasks, DNA, elements from the periodic table, ball and stick molecules, a microscope, atomic rings, and a laboratory experiment involving flasks, a ring stand, and a Bunsen burner.

This fabric is perfect for a scientist, chemistry teacher or a young science lover. You could make a pencil pouch, lunch sack, tote bag, apron, book cover, pillow case, napkins place mats, even a lab coat! I made a 7 inch x 7.5 inch tote for a small gift or loot bag for a science themed party that you can see here.

Science is fun!