Saturday, January 14, 2017

Get Messy With Quicksand!

Need a messy science experiment / sensory play for those cold days? We've got you covered...


Let's be real, here. It was MESSY.

It doesn't get more real than a photo of our house...

My kids asked me about quicksand and animals dying in quicksand. I'm pretty sure this is related to their obsession with dinosaurs, since at the time they were smashing tiny dinos into play dough.

First, we read How Quicksand Works together. I found it perfect for their age.

This Myth Busters video is also neat although it has a little language.

Next, we had fun with two cornstarch recipes. First, if you add just enough cornstarch (1/2c to 1c water), you make oobleck, a non-neutonian liquid. This link explains more what that means, but basically, it acts like a liquid and like a solid. If you punch it, it acts like a solid, but it will also ooze off of your hands like a liquid.

Add a little more water and you make a kind of quicksand. A total of 3/4c cornstarch to 1c water will do the trick. (So, if you started with 1/2c cornstarch, add 1/4c more). Now is the time to drown your tiny animals. Ours come from the science museum, birthday parties, and other random places. Actual rocks work even better because they are heavier.

Finally, to satisfy their dinosaur fixation, I read and told them about Utah's Dinosaur Deathtrap.

Bye, bye, tiny dinos!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

For fun: Dragonbreath #1 by Ursula Vernon

We've been loving the Hamster Princess series by Ursula Vernon and so picked up this series as well:

Dragonbreath #1 by Ursula Vernon:

Danny Dragonbreath can't breathe fire, but he has no fear. And that comes in handy when a bad grade at school inspires him to enlist his cousin the sea-serpent's help with a research project. Using a hybrid of comic-book panels and text, Ursula Vernon introduces an irresistible set of characters that will have readers laughing until smoke comes out of their noses!

Dragonbreath is listed as middle grade just like Hamster Princess, and I'd say that it's more violent but also more goofy, because Danny Dragonbreath is so reckless. Some of the other children - er, animals - make fun of Danny and his friends.

The newest installment, Knight-napped, comes out this week, Jan 6th!

Ursula is the creator of Hugo-Award winning graphic novel Digger, which is for more mature audiences, as well as many other graphic novels and otherworks which you can find out about at