In my pre-mom life I used to be a middle school Spanish teacher. My teaching license has long since expired but my constant thirst for knowledge and educating others most definitely is quite active to this day.
One of the things I love doing with my daughter and her friends is having playdates. We usually share snacks, have free play time, and then do some type of activity.
Earlier this week I had a few of Nadia's playmates over for a Valentine Science Playdate. For our activities we made spin art (a fond shout out to my own childhood) to demonstrate centrifugal force and dyed carnations to learn about transpiration.
Since the kids ranged in age from 21 months - 5 years I didn't get into the full scientific explanation but they all had a wonderful time creating their own masterpieces and experimenting with color.
The memories made and lessons learned were well worth every bit of preparation and cleanup.
Here's a list of supplies and directions for how to do each activity.
Centrifugal Force Art:ï»¿ï»¿ï»¿
1. Spin art kit (purchased mine from Five Below) or salad spinner
2. Washable paint (2-3 colors or more depending on your child's preference
3. Paper towels
4. White paper (thicker cardstock weight works best) cut into 4" x 4" squares
5. Cardstock (any color) to attach finished art to and finish as a card (optional)
1. Place paper a directed on spin art OR remove lid from salad spinner, place tape on bottom of paper, and tape to the basket.
2. If using the spin art kit ,press the button and have you child add a few drops of paint while the paper spins. Allow to dry before adding next color of paint. If you use a salad spinner, carefully add a few drops of paint to your paper, put on lid securely, and press handle to spin several times. Remove lid to allow paint to dry a bit before adding the next color and repeating process.
3. Place completed art on paper towel to dry completely.
4. Mount on folded cardstock to make a card or simply enjoy as is. Makes great refrigerator art!
A force that tends to move objects away from the center in a system undergoing circular motion. Centrifugal force keeps the water in a whirling bucket from spilling or throws a rider in a car against the door when the car goes around a sharp curve.
-Definition from dictionary.com.
1. White carnations
2. Food coloring (assorted colors)
3. Mason jar/vase filled with water
1. Turn on faucet and run room temp water. Hold carnations under water amd cut stems at a 45 degree angle. Set aside.
2. Fill mason jar/vase with room temperature warm and add several drops of food coloring (the more the better).
3. Place flowers in the colored water and come back every few minutes to observe.
Transpiration is the process of giving off vapor containing water and waste products, especially through the stomata on leaves or the pores of the skin. -Definition from dictionary.com.
Crafts are great to do on your own but add some friends, drinks, and eats and they suddenly become a fabulously fun party!
Gather up some friends and send a group text (or email, Facebook message, etc.) to plan a craft night. I know you're psyched, but before you attempt to build a headboard in an evening let me give you a few helpful pointers.
Here's my biggest tip: Don't try to attempt anything extremely detailed and time consuming. You'll want to chat with your friends and that's often hard to do if you need to really focus on an intricate task. I've made tutus, hair bows, string art, greeting cards, and party decor with friends and family. All relatively simple projects that don't require a ton of thought.
If you're looking for some inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to start. Take a look at my Craft Night Ideas board to get started. Another great source of ideas is your favorite local gift shop. From jewelry to home dÃ©cor you're bound to find something you'll love and want to duplicate on your own.
Once you've decided on a project, the next thing you'll want to do is start gathering supplies. I usually start with Joann Craft and Fabrics and Michaels. Both stores regularly send out coupons via email which are also accessible on their websites. If your printer is nearly as bad as mine printing isn't an option. Luckily you can download mobile coupons on your smartphone as well.
I also check out locally owned businesses for materials. We have a very cool art and craft store here in the Indianapolis area called Indy Upcycle. People donate unused art/craft supplies which can be purchased at an incredible price! Excellent way to save money and reduce waste at the same time.
Now that you have your supplies, it's time to pick a venue. Depending on the type of craft you choose certain venues may not be the best fit. I recently organized a string art project with a group of friends from theCityMoms. Great project but incredibly noisy with all the hammering required to make the project. Instead of opting to meet at someone's home we booked a private room at a local bookstore/brewery called Books and Brews. For a small refundable deposit and minimum purchase of food/drinks we were able to craft, eat, and drink without waking any children in the process. Huge win for moms with young kids! Clubhouses, churches, and community buildings also make great locations for group crafts.
Finally it's time to take action. Head to the craft store and start planning your own craft night today!