Science Ideas for Kids

Science for Kids: 3 Question Interview with Science Wiz, Marc Balanda

DFC

A few weekends back I went to a kid’s birthday party. It was a family friend and I was looking forward to it in the same way I look forward to all kid parties, though I confess I wasn’t expecting anything different or out the norm – but then out walked a Wacky Scientist. I didn’t recognize him at first, but on closer expectation I realized it was the Dad of the Birthday Boy.

Marc Balanda, who recently became principal of Brookfield High School in CT, started his career as a General Science and Biology teacher, thanks to him he says his son has a genetic predisposition to scientific concepts, so he decided to tap into his old skills and put on an awesome birthday party. After seeing things explode, expand, and change color, I figured we need a DadsforCreativity 3 Question Interview on how parents can better promote science for kids.

See Also: Daddy! I need more Input

Why do young kids love Science?

Kids are inherently curious about everything around them; they are always looking for answers to their questions. Children always  ask “why” and in some cases adults don’t know how to answer. If it is a question about the natural world and the behavior of the things in it, Science gives them what they are so desperately seeking, an answer. That only spawns more questions, that lead to unanswered questions, and hopefully more investigation. It is hard for me to understand why adults don’t like Science more, it gives us something we are looking for, answers!

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In what ways can parents engage young children in Science?

It really doesn’t take much to peak a child’s interest in the natural and physical world.  In many cases it doesn’t cost a thing.  Engaging kids in talk about what you know, or if you are risky what you might not know, gets them to ask questions, hypothesize, and test solutions.  Celery (w/leaves), food coloring, and water.  You can have a conversation about how plants “drink”.  Potato slices, salt, and water.  You can have a conversation about osmosis.  At bathtime, put a crumpled tissue in the bottom of a cup, flip it over, and submerge with a steady hand.  Ask your child, what happens to the tissue?  Slowly take it out of the water to reveal a dry tissue.  Ask why that happened.  Instant air pressure lesson!  There are tons of links to at home science on the Internet.  The more you show them, the more they want you to show them and do themselves.  

I have failed in my attempts to make a Volcano. I need help! Looking forward to trying this one.
I have failed in my attempts to make a Volcano. I need help! Looking forward to trying this one.

Ok – this question is for me. How do I make something explode like a volcano – I’m talking really REALLY big!

It really depends on the concentration of hydrogen peroxide solution you have available to you.  It will work with the usual brown bottle at your house but on a smaller scale.  I went to a beauty supply store and got 40-volume hair developer which is roughly 12% H2O2  compared to the 3% in the brown bottle.  The empty bottle has the hydrogen peroxide, food coloring (for effect), and dish soap (to increase bubbles made).  Putting the yeast into hot water “activates” them (they are living organisms) and when they go into the hydrogen peroxide solution, then the magic happens.  The yeast acts as a catalyst (speeds up a reaction) that causes the hydrogen peroxide to rapidly lose an oxygen molecule.  That molecule quickly rises through the dish soap (like blowing a bubble). Combine thousands of those reactions in a split second and you create the “volcano”.  Interestingly, the decomposition of the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide means a chemical bond is broken and the energy has to go somewhere.  In this case, it is heat, which is why this is considered an exothermic reaction!  Be careful with the hydrogen peroxide…it is a chemical that you don’t want to get on your hands or in your eyes.


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Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance. is a documentary film that explores Creativity in education. To gain FREE access, simply comment below and we’ll follow up with a link and password.

 

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kid Moviemaking contests: The Conjurer (plus Kid Movie Making Tips)

We’ve decided to launch a parent and kid competition. The Conjurer is a fun video challenge that requires parents and their kids to produce a short 15-second video using a mobile device. Winners will receive a Dads for Creativity T Shirt, and an absolutely awesome mini Tripod, which was kindly donated by Joby (Thank you Joby!)

BACKGROUND:

The Conjurer is a black and white, 1899 movie made by illusionist and filmmaker Georges Melies. Accompanied by a ballet dancer, George Melies performs a quick series of magic acts, including disappearances, reappearances, and transformations.

Now with a mobile device and moviemaking app we can accomplish the same effects used in this film by making two minor edits in our timeline. The creativity is in the story that you create and the items that you make disappear!

THE HOW TO ARTICLE: Kid Movie Making Tips: 6 Easy Steps to Movie Making Magic

COMPETITION RULES

Films must be filmed and edited with a mobile device ONLY.

  • The film must replicate the general gist of The Conjurer, which means you must make something disappear, or appear, or transform.
  • Films must be under 45-seconds and will be judged for their creativity and story.
  • If it’s available you’re encouraged to add a filter that creates the look of an old film, but it’s not required.

Submission links must be posted below or shared on the Dads for Creativity Facebook page. We also welcome submissions via Instagram (which has a 15 second cap), but you must remember to use our handle @dadsforcreativity and include the hashtag #TheConjurer.

SEE ALSO: Moviemaking with Children: Making things disappear on video

Suggested Resources

  • Movie Making App (iMovie is certainly my preference)
  • Mini Tripod is helpful

 

COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

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Kid Movie Making Ideas: 3 Question Interview with Daddy STOP MOTION Animator, Dave DiBartolo

DFC

When it comes to Kid Moviemaking Ideas, Lego Stop Motion is super, super high on the list. Not only does it allow our little ones to generate fun stories that can be easily captured, but it also extends the creative thinking to constructing worlds, and engaging problem-solving skills in not only the child, but parent as well.

After fellow parent, David DiBartolo completed his Fine Arts degree he landed in the world of video, and now applies these skills at home with his son Drew. Below he shares some tips and tricks for parents looking to get into Lego moviemaking. Also, don’t forget to comment for free access to the film Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

See Also: 3 Question Interview with Professional Stop Motion Animator Alex Kobbs

How did you get into making Lego videos with your little one?

When my son Drew was four he got his first Lego set, a Star Wars spaceship of some kind. I noticed he had some really imaginative play with just the ship and the three characters that came along. I thought it would be a great idea to film him and capture some of the great stories he was telling. As his/our passion for Lego grew we began watching some really great stop-motion Lego movies on YouTube, and it was Drew who suggested we try to make our own.

Like any creative endeavor, it began very basic. I wanted to find a way to make it easy for a four/five year old to make his own movies as well as keep his attention so he doesn’t get board of the monotony of the stop-motion process.

We had no lights or tripod. I chose the brightest room in our house and suggested we shoot on my iPhone as appose to the DSLR cameras that many of the YouTube videos are shot with. As for a stop-motion app, we landed on the “LEGO Movie” app. It has some canned effects, stock music, and a pretty simple UI for a four/five year old to grasp.

Kid Moviemaking Ideas: Dave and Drew setting up a shot in one of their movies.
Kid Moviemaking Ideas: Dave and Drew setting up a shot in one of their movies.

Can you tell us a little about the Lego Stop Motion App? How easy is it to use? Do you need to know about Stop Motion and Movie Making?

The “LEGO Movie” app is pretty simple. It gives you the option to chose your focal point, turn on the flash on your phone, and use it as a light. An “onion layer” option so you can see the previous shot for a fluid sequence. As well as some pre-canned effects and music to help make the post-production of the video a little easier.

What advice can you offer parents looking to make Lego videos with their kids?

Start simple and plan out the story before going into the shoot. Drew and I have a “pre-production” meeting where I try to limit his grand ideas into a simple story. He has a great imagination and sometimes imagines stories that would rival most summer blockbuster films.

The best thing I learned is to give him rules to work within, otherwise he’d either get frustrated, or bored, and not want to finish – or we’d end up working all night!

I have him choose a hero, a villain and some supporting cast. I also have him choose one location and work the story around that location. I ask him what problem his hero has to solve. If the solution begins to get a bit too violent I ask him what his hero could do to avoid the violence. Asking questions about his story really helps hone in on the core of the story he is trying to tell. I let him create the story I just guide him in a positive direction.

Sometimes he gets really excited about his idea and I suggest we draw storyboards so when we go into filming I can refer to this so he stays on task.

As for useful equipment, using a tripod and/or a studio light help. The main reason is to get a level steady shot and try to even out the light, so the shadows don’t get too heavy.

Check out one of Drew and David’s films below.


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3 Question Interview with Kids Cooking Activities Blogger, Debbie Madson

DFC

Whether it is creating food that looks fun and appealing or discovering what spices go with what flavors, cooking is a great way to practice your creativity.

 – Debbie Madson

I am extremely lucky to live within an Italian family that takes great pride in making and preparing food. My eldest has observed these creative acts in the kitchen with great interest, and now enjoys any opportunity to make and create in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I am still pathetic when it comes to cooking, and am at a lost on how I might better support and facilitate Kids Cooking Activities.

Debbie Madson is a Web Publisher and Author, who has published several sites and books on the subject. Most of her time is spent at kids-cooking-activites.com, a site dedicated to teaching kids cooking skills and easy to do recipes (and this is a fantastic blog – I can only hope that one-day mine will be half as successful!). In this 3 Question Interview, Debbie shares her ideas on how to engage children’s creative thinking in the kitchen.

SEE ALSO: Creativity for Everybody: 3 Question Interview with Creativity Export, Jane Harvey

 

1. Cooking and Creativity – what’s the connection?

Whether it is creating food that looks fun and appealing or discovering what spices go with what flavors, cooking is a great way to practice your creativity. If you can make cooking fun and bring in a level of creativity kids will learn to enjoy working in the kitchen. One of my favorite ways to do this is to give kids a plate of chopped vegetables for a vegetable platter and ask them to create a masterpiece. They’ve made turkeys for the Thanksgiving dinner, a house design with flowers and trees as a landscape and even Picasso like designs.  

Cooking also provides opportunities for problem solving and learning without children even realizing it.  By teaching kids how to half or double recipes you are showing them how to use math skills in everyday life. Or learning how to read a recipe carefully so you don’t forget an ingredient or skip a step gives them practice in reading skills. There may be mistakes made while cooking and being able to have kids stop and figure out what went wrong and how to make it better or do it over can provide great problem solving skills as well.

2. In what ways can parents introduce young children to cooking?

Getting children interested when they are young is a great opportunity to get them more involved in healthy eating. However, don’t feel it is too late if your kids are older.

When you are beginning allow your child to work alongside you by stirring food, adding ingredients into a mixing bowl or choosing recipes to try. These simple tasks will help them feel like they are making and creating meals.  Also talk to them while you are cooking. Teach them about the different ingredients you are using, where they come from and what kind of food our bodies need.

As they gain experience add on more age appropriate tasks such as whisking eggs, peeling carrots or measuring ingredients.

Lucas and the four stages of Pizza Making. Disclaimer: This activity was led by my wife. I was just an observer.
My eldest demonstrates the FOUR STAGES OF PIZA MAKING. Disclaimer: This activity was led by my wife. I was just an observer.

3. I confess I can’t cook. I burn everything and make a huge mess in the process. What advice do you have for Dads like me?

If you are a beginner cook start with some basic ideas such as boiling water for pasta and adding a sauce. Starting with prepared ingredients can also build your confidence. To make a basic chicken soup you could start with a can of chicken broth, shredded chicken (I like to use the Rotisserie chicken already cooked from the grocery store) and chopped carrots. Keeping it simple when you are beginning sometimes is a great way to ease yourself into learning how to cook.


 

COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to #dadsforcreativity or share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

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