INVITATION: see above. I put one of Ed's white shirts on her backwards, messed up her hair, and told her to look crazy for about 30 shots. Then I picked a good one, off-centered it, and added text with Picasa. Had prints done at Target and mailed them out to the invitees. We were going to add googly eyes to her face, but I liked it the way it was.
RESOURCES: I got all the experiment ideas from Steve Spangler's science website, which is awesome. I also bought a few supplies from him - some"baby soda bottles" (test tubes with racks), Insta-snow, safety goggles, and green slime kit. Everything else we needed I either had at home or could pick up at Target, like Alka-seltzer, plastic bottles, Q-tips, etc.
THE PARTY: When everyone arrived, they put on a lab coat and came to the table. We had an opening activity as guests arrived, five experiments, cake & ice cream, then one final experiment. The party was 2 hours long. We would have opened gifts if there was time, but we ran out so Hazel opened them later.
We had eight guests including Hazel and Ginger, and three adults - my brother came and we were grateful for an extra pair of helping hands. And one of the moms stayed and took most of these pictures - thank you so much for that!
Opening Activity:The opening activity was scratch art - I got this pack from Amazon. The pack only came with one scratch tool, but luckily I had some sharpened sticks in the back of a cupboard that had come in a bag of caramels to make caramel apples. You could also use a pencil or maybe a toothpick. We cut them into strips so the kids could make bookmarks to take home, which also went with the books they received in their favor bags.
Next came the experiments. The most important thing here was to have everything measured and ready to go so you don't lose the kids' attention. Each one took roughly 15 minutes. Ed and I had to talk through the party game plan several times Friday and Saturday so we would be a well-oiled team for the party, and miraculously, it worked! We also made sure we had a 2-sentence simple explanation to explain each experiment and how it worked.
And before we started the experiments we laid out the most important rule: DON'T PUT ANYTHING IN YOUR MOUTH. Just to be safe. But all the experiments were pretty tame and safe anyway.
#1 Instant Snow
The kids were amazed and we explained that the powder is like millions of tiny sponges. Then we poured their white snow into Ziploc bags and refilled the test tubes. I gave everyone another teaspoon of powder and a test tube of water and this time they put a few drops of food coloring in, then poured water on to make colored snow.
#2 Bubbling Lava Lamps
#3 SlimeYou cannot have a mad science party without green slime!
We used Steve Spangler's slime kit for this - gave each child a bowl, stirrer, Dixie cup of green stuff, and Dixie cup of clear stuff. We talked about solids and liquids and they all agreed both solutions were liquids. So we figured if we poured them together we would also get a liquid.
But after a minute or so of stirring, it gelled up and became slime. The kids were amazed and thrilled.
How do you like Hazel's mad scientist wig? I had to dig around in the dress-ups packed away at my Mom's house for this classic.
#5 Sink or FloatAfter the milk, everyone left the table and joined me in the living room for our next activity, where I had a clear bin of water and a variety of objects on the table. I gave everyone a worksheet with three columns: "Object", "Prediction", "Result". In the "Prediction" and "Result" columns, each row contained the words "Sink" and "Float".
One at a time, a child came up and chose an item off the table. Everyone wrote down what it was, and circled whether they thought it would sink or float. Then that child put it in and we circled our results. It was fun because some were easy to predict and some results were surprising.
Can you guess what each would do?
SINK: metal spoon, lime (sometimes), cotton ball, penny, regular soda, plastic fork (if dropped in vertically)
FLOAT: straw, lemon, lime (sometimes), sponge, bag of dried beans, diet soda, rubber duck, plastic fork (if placed horizontally)
Treat BreakWhile we were doing "Sink or Float", Ed and Dave cleared the table, including the table cloth which was pretty goopy from all the experiments. They put on a clean disposable table cloth, and set it with plates, cups and napkins. For dessert we had confetti cupcakes (from a mix) with strawberry buttercream (homemade, our favorite!) and gummy brains on top. Also banana split ice cream and Hawaiian punch with dry ice in it.
#6 "Elephant Toothpaste"This was our BIG FINALE experiment, very dramatic and mad-science-y. Every child got a metal pan, a plastic bottle with 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide in it, and a Dixie cup with 1 tsp of dry active yeast. I went around and added a drop of Dawn dish soap to each bottle, then told the kids to add any color food coloring they wanted. Then I came around and added 2 T warm water to their yeast and had them stir it until dissolved. Some of the kids (including Hazel, thanks to some baking lessons at home) knew that yeast eats sugar and expands. But we didn't have sugar in this solution so it just mixed.
I gave everyone the following instructions:
When I say "GO", put your funnel in your bottle, pour your yeast mixture in, pull your funnel out, and put your hand on the side of the bottle. Watch what happens and notice how it feels. GO!
In the back center pan (brown-haired girl), she is just pouring her yeast in but it hasn't hit yet. In the far left, his yeast has just hit and is just starting to foam. Front center went before the other two and it is foaming and rising.
FAVOR BAGS: To take home, each child received -
- the scratch art bookmarks they made at the beginning
- the bag of instant snow from experiment #1
- their lava lamp from experiment #2 and a packet of 2 Alka-Seltzer tablets
- the bag of slime from experiment #3
- their sink-or-float worksheet from #5
- a booklet I made describing all six experiments so they can repeat them at home or at least tell their parents about it
- a fortune cookie (because I like them...and I ordered more sour gummy brains for their bags but they didn't arrive in time, oh well...)
- Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist #1 Lunch Walks Among Us*
So that's it, guys. Hazel's amazing Mad Science Party! It was so fun to see eight kids of both genders age 5 to 7 ooh-ing, ahh-ing, smiling, laughing, and completely engaged for a whole birthday party. Yay for Mad Science!!!
*Franny K. Stein is a little girl mad scientist. Her book series is silly, spunky and a little irreverent without being gross. She has just enough "normal" qualities to be relatable but is also just crazy enough to be surprising and intriguing. We read the first two from the library so I gave my girls #3 and #4 in their bags; everyone else got #1. Each book is about 100 pages, 15 to 20 chapters. Age 7 to 10 reading and interest level. My girls love Franny.