20 March 2010


My daughter informed me this week that for her birthday this year she wants to do "esperaments and projects."  She went on to explain that all the kids should wear "white coats" and "big glasses" and they should "check things."  Pretty quickly I was able to understand that the girl is asking for a science-themed birthday party.  The good thing is that I have time to figure this out (or time to change her mind!).

So I did what any mother excited that her girl shows an unexpected, unsolicited interest in science would do and headed to the library for a book, a book of experiments. I found a (not-so-good) book rather quickly and proceeded to find our first experiment to attempt together, strongly considering instant availability of supplies.

The Banana in the Bottle: The Short of It
Pour boiling water into the bottle, swish it around, empty it, and place a banana on top.  When the air cools the pressure will change, and the banana will be sucked into the bottle.  Just like that.

We did it, with two bottles even, and then we waited and waited and waited. You guessed it - nothing.  Even with the extra blowing added by the Young One - niente. Defeated, we left the bottles on the counter and headed out for a dinner date.  When we returned hours later, low-and-behold -- both bananas were INSIDE the bottles.  Richard swears that he did not touch the bananas.  Swears. Obviously, this is not a great "esperiment"  for an impatient, anxious group of children who will likely be looking for instant results. For she and I, however, it was a victory!

She may change her mind about this theme, but both Richard and I are pleased as punch with her interest, and I'm sure her Grandma, retired science teacher extraordinaire will be as well.

Any ideas or suggestions on how I can pull this off?  


  1. Diet Coke and Mentos for instant results. At her age I always liked putting flowers or celery in a glass of water with food coloring. Its not an instant experment, but eating blue celery is worth the wait. There was one on Curious George this week where kids were given various junk from the recyceling bin and masking tape. They built boats to see what floats or sinks. They put the homemade boats in a wading pool to test thier hypothesis.

  2. Here is a link to activities from Sid the Science Kid. The sunscreene one was really cool. http://www.pbs.org/parents/sid/activitiesIndex.html

  3. I love it .... interest in science ... definitely not instilled by her mom.. Will math lead to her next adventure??? Love it!!!!!

  4. Someone allready beat me to the mentos and coke experiement. Baking soda and vinegar volcanos. I hope you stick with the theme. How fun! I am sure the internet is filled with a ton of ideas. Good luck!

  5. What a fabulous idea! Once again, I'm wishing we lived closer so our daughters could play. Science-themed birthdays are right up our alley!

    I can't wait to hear more!

  6. Empty beer bottle, cubetto di lievito, 2 tbs sugar, warm water, fit a balloon on the neck (?) of the bottle and secure it with an elastic band. That's how my boys learned to tell the time: they'd look at the clock and write down observations!
    I have two english experiment books which I could mail to you if you'd like, I won't need them for a couple of years!