Colorful Celery: Kitchen science; AND Weekly Kid's Co-op

I've always thought that the science experiments looked super cool where cut stems are put in colored water and the plant itself eventually changes to that color.

Since my son has gotten so into gardening this year, I thought this experiment would be perfect to illustrate to him how plants incorporate water into their body.

We poured about an inch of water into 3 glass jars. My son added red, yellow and blue coloring.
Then we stuck in celery stalks. I thought the stalks with the leaves still intact would be more effective for this experiment.
 Then we waited.
We noticed that the different colors started showing up in the leaves within only 2 hours time!
 24 hours later the stalks and leaves were very noticeably colored.
 Here are the 3 together.
We talked about the term "capillary action", which is in essence the plants ability to pull water up through its stalk and into the leaves and flowers.

Thanks for stopping by! We had fun!

If you liked this post and you want to stay informed of more kid activity ideas I post or find around the blogosphere, remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page! Thank you! Have a wonderful day.

The Weekly Kid's Co-op

Also it is Weekly Kids Co-op Link-up Party time!  I'm linking up the above post and our post on Painting like Jackson Pollock. Enjoy!

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Painting like Jackson Pollock: A Boy let loose

Kids Get Arty is a link-up that is happening over at Red Ted Art. I just LOVE this idea! Basically it is a link up of posts with the purpose to teach children about the great masters of art in an experiential way. I chose to participate because I really want my son to be exposed to the arts as much as possible. I grew up outside of New York city so I was lucky in that way — traveling into the city for a visit to the art museums was not uncommon. My son and I, now, however reside in a relatively small town in Oregon, without the same level of opportunities. So, I feel responsible, in part, to educate him when I can on such matters.

This Jackson Pollock original is entitled "Number 8"

I chose the artist Jackson Pollock for this activity. Jackson Pollock was a controversial painter, who pioneered the "abstract expressionist" movement with his free flowing "drip" paintings, that were to him about expression of feeling. Words I would attribute to his paintings are: raw, spontaneous, expressive, emotional, fervent, messy yet unified. He moved quickly while painting, hence the term "action" painting being attributed to his style. He integrated objects from his environment to use as a means of applying paint, so not only did he use a brush he might also use a stick, syringe, nail or whatever struck him as needed in the moment. Instead of using a easel, he set cloth down on the ground and painted it from above.

This kind of painting naturally lends itself to an open-ended, fun, even wild activity to do with a child. Kids are so used to others trying to put limitations on their creative expression. How refreshing it would feel to my son to be told that it is OK to make a mess, to go wild with paint, and to use whatever he might have on hand that would be useful to aid his expression! This choice seemed perfect to me!

Before diving in, we looked at examples of Jackson Pollock paintings, like "Number 8" above. We also viewed this short video clip on You Tube where Pollock himself is talking about his process of painting. View it here.

 After my introduction of Pollock to my son, we were ready to get down and messy! I laid a big sheet of paper on the grass (with masonite as a backboard), filled some containers & squirt bottles with (watered-down) tempera paint.
I set out some paintbrushes. We also gathered sticks, string, stones, and nails just in case we felt inspired! And then both of us — mom and son team — had at it!
Pouring, splattering, dripping, squirting, scraping, dragging the stick, and whatever the moment dictated to us.

Not only was a good time had by both of us — the result was pleasing as well. It took A LOT of paint for this project! It also took a long time to dry, and when it did, I was slightly bummed out that the colors dulled significantly. I think next time we will have to upgrade our materials to real fabric, and housepaint! I want the quality to last, as I can see hanging a piece like this is one of our main rooms!

Thanks for coming by and checking this out. Please be sure to hop over to Red Ted Art for Kids Get Arty to get more ideas! Also remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page if you want to stay informed of more kid activity ideas I post or find around the blogosphere! Have a wonderful day.

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Exploring Tide Pools

Last weekend my son and I hit the road and headed for the coast. I was seizing this opportunity for a mini-vacation for Bode because I know all too well how summer can slip away in a blink of an eye. The beach is by far one of my favorite summer destinations and with a son in tow it has become an absolute must.

This time instead of heading to just any beach, I thought that we would visit some tide pools. Not to say that the ordinary Oregon beaches aren't spectacular in themselves, I just thought I would expose my son to an interactive environment incredibly rich in learning opportunities that he's never been before. My internet research pointed us in the direction of Yaquina Head. With my co-pilot on board (AKA "Robin) and mama at the wheel (for purposes of this trip let's just say my name was "Batman"), the car (Bat Mobile) was fueled up and ready for some adventure!

When we arrived mid-afternoon, it was unfortunately high tide, and, of course, the best time to visit a tide pool is low tide (which comes 2 times a day). We were staying at the coast a few days and so planned to return in the morning during low tide. We explored where we could this 1st day, and visited the Interpretation Center on our way out.

We were able to look out onto the cliffs with power-binoculars that the interpreters provided and view the sea gulls and albatrosses. Even 2 gull chicks. They were all clustered on the top of a huge bird poop-stained rock. We learned that the albatrosses actually use the bird poop as glue for their nests so they don't blow away in the wind!

Also we walked down onto the beach that was filled with rounded basalt cobble stones. This was a result of volcanic activity and weathering from the ocean waves.

Then on our way out we stopped at the Interpretation Center and picked up this lovely book: In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails and Salty Tails, by Anthony D. Frederick.
That night, once we settled into our hotel, I read to Bode our new book. Each page introduces a new creature that is found in a tide pool with beautiful pictures, and rhyming verse. I felt this was the perfect introduction to what we might see in the next day. (*note: the author has compiled a number of activities to accompany the book here)

In the morning, we returned in anticipation for low tide, which just happened to occur at the very perfect late morning hour of 10 AM. We were sure to wear closed-toed shoes for easy walking.

This time around the outcropping of rocks were visible as the tide had gone out quite significantly.

As we walked out onto the rocks we were very careful where we stepped. We avoided stepping on and hurting the sea life, such as this colony of mussels.

An interpreter was present and taught us about the behaviors of the tide pool creatures. Like, for instance, when sea stars are eating they turn themselves inside out. One of their favorite things to eat are mussels. 

We saw sea stars of all different colors — oranges, purples and pinks. Despite this difference among them, we learned that the ones we saw in the tide pool were in fact all of the same species.

I love how the sea stars look all together like this!

Aggregating anemone (the green circular creature), and coralline algae (the coral-like plant) were a common sight in the pools.

The interpreter illustrated to us first that it was OK to touch the anemones. Bode was brave and got right in there. I, on the other hand, was the one who shrieked because of the sensation! It was quite a thrill.

The anemone's mouth (the center of the creature) is surrounded by feeding tentacles that look to me like petals of a flower. When touched, these tentacles close up and are capable of stinging crustaceans, fish and the like. When a human touches these anemones, however, we feel a stickiness. The stinging cells of the anemone cannot penetrate through the flesh on our hands — fortunately! 

Purple urchins also dotted the pools. These were also "touchable".

Holding a crab!

I was fascinated to stumble upon this "red sponge" that looked like red spilled liquid.

When our exploration felt complete, we elected to top off the day by climbing the historic Yaquina lighthouse positioned on the cliffside above.

Built in 1870, the guide told us of how the lighthouse keeper used to have to lug heavy containers of oil to keep the lighthouse lit at night. Still a functioning lighthouse, electricity has replaced the need for oil.

Here is Bode climbing the 114 steps to the top!

What a day we had! It was music to my ears to hear my son say as we drove away, "Thank you, mom. That was actually a lot of fun!" I think we will be returning here many times to come!

Thanks for coming by and checking this out. Remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page if you want to stay informed of more kid activity ideas I post or find around the blogosphere! Have a wonderful day.
The Weekly Kid's Co-op

And now onward to our weekly linky party! Enjoy!

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Tee shirt craft using freezer paper; Weekly Kids Co-op

I have had this MASSIVE role of freezer paper on the shelf of my art studio for probably more than a year...untouched, and waiting, waiting, waiting to be used. (Note: you can find freezer paper in big supermarkets alongside the wax paper, parchment paper, etc. - this is what it looks like in case you don't know and are curious).

I have wanted to explore freezer paper stenciling on a tee shirt ever since reading about it in Deb Soule's book, The Creative Family. The Creative Family is by far one of my favorite family activity books, and I highly recommend it to anybody who loves to craft with their children. Also be sure to check out Deb's inspirational blog, Soule Mama, which is full of beautiful photography as well as project ideas. 

Anyway, being that it was the 4th of July yesterday, and my son didn't have any festive tees to wear representing the day, I decided it was the perfect time to bust out the freezer paper and give this craft a whirl.

Using photoshop, I created the above star design for the shirt.

I then printed it out and laid the sheet over a piece of freezer paper cut to the same size. I placed these both on a cutting mat board and started cutting through both layers with my X-acto knife. *Note: the waxy side is the side that will eventually be ironed down onto the tee shirt. You want this to be facing down when cutting the design out, in general. Obviously for my star template it didn't matter which side was up or down.

After the stars are all cut out, I ironed down the paper (wax side down) onto a tee shirt. I made sure that the paper was completely adhered to the fabric before moving on to the next step.

Using a stencil brush, my son tapped (or "stippled") blue and red acrylic paint onto the cut-out shapes.

He worked meticulously on filling each star.

When all the stars were covered thoroughly with paint, we peeled the paper off. It was quite easy! I was sooo impressed with how easy this paper was to use, AND I ended up loving the result!

We were careful to not fold the shirt and lay it flat until the paint was dry.

How do you like it? My son was proud that he had a hand in its creation, and I think he looked perfect for the part of a 4th of July Festival goer!

Thanks for coming by and checking this out. Remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page if you want to stay informed of more kid craft ideas I post or find around the blogosphere! Have a wonderful day.

And now for our weekly linky party! I am linking up this freezer paper post, and my fireworks painting post. Enjoy!

The Weekly Kid's Co-op

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Make a 4th of July Fireworks Painting - using a Fly swatter!

The other day my son and I made a trip to the Dollar Store. Being that the 4th of July was right around the corner, I was keeping my eyes open for craft materials for a fireworks painting. I am happy to say that I hit the jackpot!

Materials used for fireworks painting
I found these unusual fly swatters with flowers affixed to one side of them, a "can strainer", and also inexpensive black poster board, and voila! An idea was born for the Fireworks painting.

Full list of materials we used: 

  • Black Poster Board (to represent the sky) (50 cents - Dollar Store)
  • 2 Fly swatters with ornamental plastic flowers on them ($1 each- Dollar Store)
  • Can Strainer ($1 Dollar Store)
  • Tempera Paint (Colorations, from Discount School Supply)
  • Bronze "Activity" Paint (Colorations, from Discount School Supply)
  • Meat packing trays to hold paint
  • stencil brush
  • glitter
  • sequins stars

I spread blue and red paint onto trays. My son pressed the fly swatter (flower-side down) into the paint and proceeded to swat away onto the black paper. WOW! I was impressed with how the splattered paint looked a lot like fireworks!

Soon he mastered double-fisted swat action! He was having fun!

Originally, I had just planned on him using 2 colors, but he insisted on me adding more (which, I must admit, made for a much more exciting picture in the end)! He then added green fireworks...

...and yellow fireworks to the painting. It all came together looking like the an explosion of color against a night sky.

After he was done using the fly swatters, I had him use the can strainer as a stencil to paint a different looking firework to the mix. With a stencil brush, he "stippled", or tapped bronze paint through the holes and onto the paper.

This was the result.

He placed the new fireworks all over the page where he saw fit. 

And then — to add even more pizazz — he sprinkled on glitter...

...and metallic stars to make it glow. 

I love how the painting looks abstract...

...but yet still looks like the beautiful lit-up sky of a 4th of July night.

Thanks for coming by and checking this out. Remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page if you want to stay informed of more kid craft ideas I post or find around the blogosphere! Have a fun holiday! Stay safe!
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