September Holidays and Fun Days

September Holidays and Fun Days at The Happy Housewife

September is here tomorrow.  Arrrgh you ready to talk like a pirate?!  Did you know that “septem” in Latin means seven and September was the seventh month of the Roman calendar until 46 BC?  Enjoy your autumn and get outside!

September Holidays and Fun Days

September 5 – Cheese Pizza Day

September 11 – 911 Remembrance Day

September 12 – Banana Day

September 16 – National Play Doh Day

September 19 –  International Talk Like A Pirate Day

September 25 – Pacific Ocean Discovered

September 26 – Pancake Day

September 26 – Johnny Appleseed’s Birthday

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Does this Food Sink or Float? Buoyancy Experiment

Does this Food Sink or Float? Buoyancy Experiment at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Beth

My kids love to play with their food, so recently we used food to talk about density, buoyancy, and mass.

My favorite thing about this sink or float experiment is that it’s appropriate for all ages. Here are a few ideas for how to involve all the kids in this fun water activity.

For the older elementary kids, I have them get involved by defining a few terms in their vocabulary notebook, including:

  • Buoyancy
  • Density
  • Displacement
  • Mass
  • Volume

The older children should also be able to talk to the little kids about examples of things that float and why. Leaves float down the river bed, but stones sink. Submarines can sink and float. How? Get the older ones talking and challenge them to engage the little ones on their level of understanding.

It’s great for the kids to get reminded of the concepts that they already understand. Talk in vocabulary that they are comfortable with.

  • buoyancy (sinking and floating)
  • mass (heavy and light)
  • volume (big and small)

Help direct the conversations to combine the mass and volume concepts to talk about density. This discussion will get the little kids confident at making guesses for their food experiment.

The younger elementary kids can work on building a chart to record the results. On the left side they should make a list of all the items to be tested. Across the top of the worksheet, I’d title the columns: Guess (Sink or Float) and Results (Sink or Float).

Does this Food Sink or Float? Buoyancy Experiment Printable at The Happy Housewife

You can use this printable buoyancy worksheet and fill in your own test results.

Here are my recommendations for foods to test:

  • apple slice
  • bean (dried)
  • blueberry
  • grapes
  • lettuce
  • pasta (cooked)
  • pasta (uncooked)
  • rice (uncooked)
  • strawberries

Use whatever you have on hand. You could intentionally choose foods like bread and crackers that will absorb the water over time. It could be fun since you’ll get them talking about how that water filled the volume of the food and changed the buoyancy.

To make this more fun for preschoolers:

  • Put the younger kids in charge of pouring the water into a large bowl.
  • Let the preschoolers gently place the foods into the water.
  • Let the youngest students be the ones to shout out if a food floats or sinks.
  • Allow each preschooler to draw the foods instead of spelling the names on the worksheet.

Make sure to have the kids register a guess for each food on their worksheet. Also, make sure that each child notes the results and sees how many they guessed correctly. Will they make better guesses after this experiment? Definitely! They’re having fun learning.

Everyone can also come together to learn a fun and simple song about buoyancy to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Warning: the Buoyancy Song is catchy and addictive.

Now that you’ve learned about the buoyancy of the foods in your kitchen, check out this fun Sink or Float Experiment to play around and make educated guesses about whether some common household objects will rise to the top or sink to the bottom. You can use the same worksheet. What will you test?

Does this Food Sink or Float? Buoyancy Experiment at The Happy Housewife

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Properties of Water Experiments

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

Water. It’s one of the basic elements of life. Living things need it every day to survive. It seems that water is everywhere and in all facets of life. We drink it. We bathe in it. We play in it. We often take it for granted.

Since water is everywhere, let’s learn more about the properties of water and test them with a few simple experiments.

The Water Molecule

Scientifically speaking, water is a cool molecule to study.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

Water is a polar molecule. Even though water is a neutral molecule in that it has an equal number of protons and electrons, there is an uneven electron distribution within each water molecule that makes it polar.

The oxygen atom in a water molecule attracts electrons more strongly than hydrogen does. This means that electrons tend to be at the oxygen end of the molecule. This makes the oxygen end of the molecule slightly negative. Thus, the hydrogen end of the molecule is slightly positive.

This polarity of water gives it some special properties, like cohesion and adhesion, that you can easily demonstrate right in your kitchen.

Cohesion Properties of Water

Cohesion simply means that water molecules like to stick to each other. This is caused by the slightly negative charge of the oxygen atom of one water molecule being attracted to the slightly positive charge of the hydrogen atoms of another water molecule.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

Surface tension is a good example of cohesion at work. Have you ever seen a water skipper “skate” across the water of a pond? This insect literally walks on water because it takes advantage of the surface tension of water. Water molecules hold together tight enough to let these insects stay on top of the water.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

You can test surface tension by filling a glass with water and gently laying a needle on the surface of the water using a fork. Since the needle has a higher density than water, it will sink if just dropped in the water. However, if the surface tension is not broken, the needle can be placed on the water in such a way that the surface tension of the water holds the needle on the surface.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

Cohesion can also be tested by filling that same glass of water to the top and then gently adding more and more water until the water is actually forming an arc of water slightly over the top of the glass. The cohesive properties of the water are holding the molecules together so that they will not spill over the top of the glass. The weak hydrogen bonds between the water molecules will eventually give way.

Adhesion Properties of Water

Water molecules are attracted to each other (cohesion). They are also attracted to other charged molecules. This is adhesion. You can see this when it rains and water drops form on windows. These drops should be pulled to earth by gravity, but the force of the adhesion of water to that surface is stronger.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

You can test adhesion by dipping a paper towel into a small bowl of water and food coloring. Watch the colored water as it climbs up the towel against gravity. Once again, the water molecules are drawn to other molecules and overcome the force of gravity.

What ways can you and your kids think of to test cohesion and adhesion?

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Teaching Kids About Water Conservation

Teaching Kids About Water Conservation at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Tabitha

I grew up in Southern California, which originally was a desert. I spent a lot of my youth in Utah and Nevada, also deserts.

So, I grew up knowing that water is precious. I was also taught not to waste anything. Therefore, my kids learn water conservation with a vengeance.

Teaching Kids About Water Conservation at The Happy Housewife

Rain when it was needed most

Before we moved to Missouri, where no one has sprinklers because water tends to fall from the sky pretty regularly, we lived in Amarillo, Texas, also a desert. The older kids remember having to water the grass and garden. When it did rain, it flooded. It flooded this summer with unseasonable rain.

Fast forward to living in the green Midwest, at least when it’s not a drought year. We’ve had so much rain the last 48 hours we can’t even walk anywhere without getting muddy. If the kids hear something that sounds like rain, they assume it is rain, even if it is sunny outside…and they could be right.

Teaching Kids About Water Conservation at The Happy Housewife

Water falling from the sky

It’s hard to explain to the kids that clean water is a limited resource and that we need to use it wisely, but there are many ways to teach this.

Sure, I could just talk, talk, and talk about all the reasons we need to save water. In the last 5 years, they’ve seen no real shortage of water, so I know I need to give more reasons they can relate to.

The things that always stuck in my mind as a child were songs, usually from TV shows, and so I sing them with the little kids. Trust me, the older kids pay attention even if they feel they are too old.

Resources for Teaching Kids About Water Conservation

Sesame Street

One short but sweet resource was a Sesame Street clip where the fish calls up the boy wasting water. Click here to see it.

Sesame Street has many other videos available on their website, including more about saving water in ways even the youngest can understand but with reasons the older ones can get behind.

Schoolhouse Rock

A newer one that has come to my attention recently is the newest season of Schoolhouse Rock, also known as Schoolhouse Rock Earth. There’s a whole song about not wasting water.

Water, Use It Wisely

Another fun thing (of which there are many) are websites like Water, Use it Wisely and others. There are games, printables, and reminders of how even kids can make a difference.

Charities and Organizations

Speaking of kids making a difference, sometimes my kids think that anything they do isn’t worth trying because there is so much going wrong with the world. We find stories about kids like them who have helped in some way to save water and get clean water to where it is needed. We’ve talked about stories related to different charities and kids’ organizations, such as Students for Safe Water.

Between the songs, video clips, and the learning materials and the awareness we’ve found for our family, I think we can make a difference too, even if it’s just doing little things like not wasting water in our own home for now.

Teaching Kids About Water Conservation at The Happy Housewife

Rain this year

I still have to remind my kids. They are just kids. But the reminder is good for all of us. Thinking especially of those for whom clean water is a luxury, don’t waste the water we have.

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