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La Brea Tar Pits: Page Museum

Over the holidays, we made the trek down to Los Angeles to visit family.  As soon as my son heard we were going to LA, he screamed excitedly, “can we go to the La Brea Tar Pits??”  I thought for sure, his first interest would be Legoland, but, luckily for us, he didn’t bring it…

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Solar Cooking Science: Melting Marshmallows

We had a bit of fun on Friday afternoon, melting marshmallows to make s’mores, using the Thames & Kosmos Solar Cooking Science kit. After a week of higher than 100 degree Fahrenheit heat, the weather finally cooled down to a high of 80 degrees on Friday…. cool enough for us to head outside for a…

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Geology for Kids: Crystal Mining Excavation Kit

My son recently received the 4M Kidz Labs Crystal Mining science kit for his birthday.  He LOVES these excavation kits (see this post about a similar kit, also made by 4M.. Paleontology Play:  Dinosaur Skeleton Excavation Kit – Velociraptor). My son is super into rocks and minerals these days, so this was a timely gift. …

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Fun with Magnets: Geomag

We’ve used some fun magnet science kits in the past, but the way my son likes to play with magnets best is through building toys.  We have three different kinds… Magna-Tiles, Magformers, and Geomag. I credit my son’s strong understanding of geometric shapes to playing with these magnetic toys. Geomag building kits come with magnetic…

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Observe: Insect Activity

What cool insect, arachnid (spider), or mollusk (snail) activity can you find around your yard? Has your child watched a spider spin a web? How about ants marching along on a mission? What about a snail eating a plant? Give your child the time and space to observe these small creatures in their natural environment……

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Kid Science: Make a Seed Viewer

Seeds… how incredible that plants of all sizes can grow from such a tiny thing.  If you’ve gardened with a young child, you’ve witnessed their fascination and wonder at the mystery of plants.  To give your child the opportunity to actually witness the growth of a plant from the first roots shooting out of the…

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Kid Science: Owl Pellet Dissection

Owls are fascinating creatures.  They have a special organ (gizzard) that stores the undigestible parts of their prey, preventing these parts (bones, teeth, fur, feathers) from proceeding through the digestive tract.  The gizzard compresses these parts into a pellet which is later regurgitated.  This is a pretty simplistic explanation.  If you’d like to learn more,…

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Nature Walk: Animal Tracks

A fun activity to do a few days after a good rain is head to a nearby creek and look for animal tracks in the mud. We went on this kind of walk yesterday in the nature area near our home.  As we walked to the area, I asked my son what animal footprints he…

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Rockin’ Experiment 3: Make Metamorphic Cookies

The final project in our three-part geology series, tailored for early elementary aged kids, is about metamorphic rocks.  The focus of this experiment is to show “rocks” can change through heat, compression, and time.  The “rocks” in this project are actually cookies.  We made cookies, making some observations about the “minerals” (ingredients) we put into…

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Rockin’ Experiment 2: Make a Sedimentary Sandwich

This the second in our three-part exploration of rocks.  I’m teaching my 5-year-old about the three kinds of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic), what they are made of, and how they are created.  All three science experiments are being conducted in the kitchen.  Today, we’re learning about sedimentary rocks. *** First, discuss with your child…

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Rockin’ Experiment 1: A Lava-licious Igneous Meltdown

I found each of the experiments in this three-part geology series for young kids in the book, Kindergarten Success,  by Jill Frankel Hauser. The first, from the book, is “Igneous Meltdown”, an exploration in how magma (rock melted deep in the earth from heat and pressure) flows out of the earth as lava, which, as…

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Devils Postpile National Monument

If you’re ever in the Eastern Sierras near Mammoth Lakes, you’ve gotta check out Devils Postpile.  This place is incredible, and unlike anywhere else I’ve visited in California.  The only other place I can personally compare it to is the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.  Both places have these fascinating basalt hexagonal columns.  You have…

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Project FeederWatch

As I wrote the other day (Let’s Count Stars!), we enjoy participating in citizen science projects.  It’s a fun way to contribute to scientific research and learn about science at the same time.  I wrote earlier in the week about participating in the Great World Wide Star Count.  Perhaps stargazing isn’t your thing, but you’d…

Let’s Count Stars!

I’m always on the lookout for citizen science projects that would be fun to do with my son.  I believe it’s a great way to teach science and get kids involved in a real-life project.  Of course, this isn’t just for kids!  Participating in citizen science projects is a wonderful way for people of all…

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Going on a Bug Hunt

While my husband was warming up for his bike race on Saturday (see post here… Cyclo-Cross, Monterey Style), my son recommended we follow one of the nearby trails and go bug hunting.  Excellent idea!  We keep exploration tools (bug viewer, magnifying glass) with us at all times, so we’re ready to go whenever inspiration strikes.…

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Craft: Egg Carton Rock Collection

A couple weeks ago, Let’s Go Chipper posted instructions about how to create a box for storing a rock collection from a recycled egg carton.  Perfect!  My son collects rocks everywhere we go.  So we made the storage container this week… Interested in doing this with your child?  You’ll find the instructions here…  Chipper Recycle…

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Solar Oven S’Mores

Yesterday afternoon, we attended a festival held by the East Bay Regional Park District at Shadow Cliffs in celebration of the Transit 0f Venus. While checking out the sun through the telescopes was pretty cool, the highlight for my son (other than playing in the trees with his friends) was making s’mores in a pizza…