When my almost 4-year-old daughter Sommer requested a science party for her birthday, I did a little silent cheer. This meant I didn’t have to do the princess thing (not that there’s anything wrong with it), Dora (not that there’s anything wrong with it), or a Frozen (not that there’s anything wrong with it) birthday party. And then she threw in the rainbow element which meant we could have great party programming plus great decor!
My challenge became…what kind of science can I do with 20 preschoolers? So I decided to keep it pretty simple and I stuck to a few activities…scientist apron decorating, name badge decorating, Magic Grow capsules, walking water, elephant toothpaste, and pass the parcel. (Now that I’m reading this list, it doesn’t seem so “simple” after all!)
For decorations, I covered our big cabinet with these colorful pinwheels. The lighter ones are from Shop Sweet Lulu and the brighter ones were from my local party store. We also downloaded some science lab symbols and printed them on bright paper to add the science element to the rainbow. I also bought 2 of these tassel garlands from Michaels (they have rainbow colors in store), bright balloons, and I created her name in rainbow scrapbooking paper which was hanging over the television.
When the kids came in, they each got an apron and fabric markers, both super-affordable from OrientalTrading.com. We weren’t doing anything super messy, but I thought it would get them into the science lab spirit.
Then we headed over to Sommer’s Science Lab, and the kids put on their special scientist glasses. We talked about science and what their definitions of science were.
In front of each kid, was a paper cafeteria tray (one of my favorite items to use at any craft event) filled with goodies: glasses, scientist name tags with stickers to decorate, a test tube, and a Magic Grow Capsule with a cup for water. The kids dropped in the capsules to see what they became. Some got vehicles, some got bugs, and some got dinosaurs. They take a little time to open up, so we talked about how all living things grow and transform and that that’s a part of science.
Then we moved to the floor to do a few experiments. The first was called Walking Water. Just fill a few jars with different colored water (I used food coloring and created a rainbow since the party was rainbow science). Fold a paper towel into thin strips, dipping the ends into the adjacent jars. The kids talked about color mixing…how green, orange, and purple are made.
For our second experiment, we made elephant toothpaste. Here is the recipe I used from PBS. For the best results, you definitely want to get the 6% hydrogen peroxide. We used the 3% because we had it, but I think the results of the stronger will get more oohs and ahhs. The kids loved it nonetheless and had a great time talking about what kind of toothpaste elephants would use.
What you need:
Hydrogen peroxide (see note above)
Dry active yeast
Using the funnel, pour 4 oz of hydrogen peroxide and 2 oz of dish soap into the bottle.
Add food coloring. (We probably added about 12 drops of purple.)
In a separate container, mix dry yeast with warm water. And let it sit for 5 minutes.
Add the yeast/water to the bottle and watch it bubble! (With the stronger peroxide it shoots ups a bit more. Next time!)