Friday, April 29, 2011

Car ceiling reflections

Wow, two consecutive postings.  This post is for all those parents stuck in rush hour traffic with the blinding sun in your faces and grumpy children in the backseat.

Today, beyond my will, I ended up spending 30 minutes driving back from the ER staring directly into the sun.  My son's nursemaid's elbow was relocated, and he was picking everything out of his diaper bag with his once problematic arm.  He was relatively happy throwing everything out of his diaper bag, but that pesky sun kept shining into his eyes.  Needless to say with the rush hour commute, ER visit, the sun, and a squealing toddler in the back, I'm surprised I didn't go bonkers.

One of the final items left in his diaper bag was our clear plastic refillable diaper wipe case.  He wanted the bag empty and the wipes out of the container.  However, before the latter could happen, he got distracted by the reflection from the sun that the wipe container made on the ceiling.  He pointed to it (moving his body and in turn, the case), and the reflection moved.  He had fun trying to see if he could touch the reflection from his seat, but it kept moving.  Then he decided to see if he could move the reflection to a different part of the car that he could touch, but alas, he sits in the middle seat and is still too short to reach the ceiling.  As he was getting frustrated, I decided to distract him by playing catch the reflection (we were stopped at a light waiting for a train to pass).  He kept moving the reflection, and I had to touch it.  He loved being in control.  And, we were doing science!  (and not screaming!)

Just thought I'd share this idea as a science tool you could use on those days when all is going wrong.

**I don't encourage distracted driving, but I also think a screaming toddler is more of a distraction than lifting one arm to the ceiling when stopped at a traffic light.  Please drive safely and use your best judgment.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


If you haven't experienced it yet, give your child a fresh bar of soap that has been dipped in the water. It's pretty hilarious.  Make sure you say "whoops" as it slips out of your hands into your child's.  It seems to work better with a bigger bar of soap.  I'm assuming that this is since there is more slippery surface and it's harder for small hands to grab in the first place.

Theory: Reduced Friction Surface

Friction is caused when items rub together.  The closest thing we get to frictionless surfaces in the touchable world is rubbing ice-on-ice.  Soap is a slippery surface with reduced friction.

What other items are slippery to hold?

**Sorry I don't have a video.  I wasn't expecting the reaction I got when I first gave J the soap and I didn't feel comfortable leaving him in the tub while I grabbed the video camera.  Trust me, it was definitely good.  I hope you get a similar reaction.

***We were having bathing issues a few months ago and the novelty of trying to hold onto the soap helped us get J into the tub for a few weeks, until the novelty wore off.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Science at home

I know this post is a little outdated, but I finally got the chance to read through President Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address (sorry Mr. President, it's hard to keep up on current events as a Mommy).  I debuted this blog around the same time as his speech, and when discussing this site with co-workers, they mentioned President Obama's address and how educating our youth in science and math is important.  I think President Obama nailed this one on the head, and I support his view that education doesn't happen just at school; the whole family needs to be involved.

My favorite quote from his speech, "We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair."

What got me thinking about his State of the Union speech again was that yesterday, President Obama spoke at Facebook.  He gave this quote during the town hall meeting, "...I always hear stories about how we can't find enough engineers, we can't find enough computer programmers. You know what, that means our education system is not working the way it should, and that's got to start early."  He continues with explaining about their recent science fair held at the White House because science IS cool!  Yay!  Way to go the Obama's!

~On a side note, maybe I should hold a virtual science fair on this blog.  What do you think?  When The First Lady planted a garden at the White House, everyone followed.  Let's do the same for science!  (If it took me four months to get around to reading the State of the Union Address, it might be a while for the virtual science fair, but stay tuned).

I too agree with our President and that we have to start early, and "There has got to be a shift in American culture."  I feel that if we wait until the kids are school-aged to instill a love of learning (especially about science and math), we've waited too long.  Also, if parents aren't excited about learning, it is extremely hard for their children to be excited about learning.  So, turn off the tv (and the internet - easier said than done, I know), and encourage learning.

Personal background regarding a failing education system and successful outcomes:

My nerdy best friends from high school
(Front: soldier, optometrist, tech guru, mathematician/librarian, engineer. Back: scientist, lawyer)

I grew up in a school district (Clark County, NV) that was bursting at its seams in the 1990s.  My elementary school classes averaged ~30 kids/class.  I had double sessions and year round for my middle school years, and I had my fair share of crappy teachers.  All in all, you can come from a horrible school district and still do well if surrounded by the right people (family, good friends, good teachers). I am so very thankful for the support of my family, friends, mentors, and former teachers who have helped shape me into who I am today.  I hope that I too can give my son the support he needs to succeed in this challenging world.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Balloons + Fan = Fun!

J decided to experiment with our downed helium balloons. It was quite entertaining for the both of us.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Safety First

I found some child size goggles on Amazon: Colored Safety Goggles . They arrived yesterday, and J decided to model them. We're ready for messy science now! Our eyes are protected.


My goggles

Taking a break.  Goggles up!
**Good thing we have a big headed child.  They are a little big, as these goggles are designed for 8+, but the reviews on Amazon said they fit some of the reviewers' toddlers.  I thought I'd give it a try; I'm happy with my choice thus far.