This blog features a number of science activities for kids, because science is one of my favorite subjects to share with my children. I have always loved science, and I hope to pass that love on to my kids. Since they are still preschoolers, I believe that part of teaching them about science is teaching them to be curious. Curiosity is something I highly value – hence, the name of my blog :-). Being curious, noticing things, and asking lots of questions are all hallmarks of a scientific mind, so I encourage these traits in my children as much as I can.
We recently received some iridescent glitter putty eggs from Oriental Trading Company. (Please note that the Oriental Trading Company items featured in this post were provided to me in exchange for an honest review. All activities using these materials were planned by me and all opinions are my own. See my disclosures for more information.) I decided to use the glitter putty as an opportunity for my kids to practice intellectual curiosity and scientific thinking.
We have spent a lot of time in recent weeks learning about states of matter. So when I handed the glitter putty to the kids, the first thing I asked them was whether it was a solid, liquid, or gas. QBoy first said it was a solid, while XGirl first said it was a liquid. We talked about the properties of solids and liquids and how the glitter putty was like one or the other. Eventually we decided it was somewhere between a solid and a liquid because it has properties of both.
Next, I decided to model being curious. I asked the kids what they thought would happen if we rolled the putty into a ball and dropped it. The kids thought this was a good idea, so they made some balls.
After making some predictions about what would happen, they let them drop. We were surprised to find that the glitter putty balls bounced!
Next I asked the kids whether they thought the glitter putty would stick to the sides of objects. They tested it out with small and large amounts of glitter putty. We learned that the putty would stick if it was only a small amount, but it would fall off if the amount was too much.
Next I asked the kids what they thought would happen if they punched a hole in the putty. They used their straws to see what would happen. (It gets a hole in it, but the hole slowly fills back in.)
The kids then decided to see what would happen if they squished the glitter putty into the weave of these plastic fruit baskets. They enjoyed watching it bulge as it poked through the holes.
QBoy then began asking if he could try cutting the putty with scissors. I encouraged the kids to get their scissors from their room to see what would happen. They were delighted to find that they could cut the putty with their scissors. (And I was delighted to see them asking questions and seeking answers on their own!)
At one point I noticed that the putty was translucent. I placed it on my fingers and held it up in front of a window to show my kids how light could come through.
QBoy then discovered that the putty became not just translucent but transparent when it was stretched thin enough. This was a great opportunity to discuss the difference between “translucent” and “transparent.” (Translucent means semi-transparent, or letting light through but not allowing for detailed images to be seen. Transparent, on the other hand, means letting light through such that objects behind can be seen in full detail.)
It was a joy for me to observe my kids engaging in scientific thinking with the glitter putty. Their curiosity is a wonderful thing to behold and I hope to nurture it as much as I can.