Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Digging Ice for Dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs... If a little boy wants to play exclusively with dinosaurs, but the only game he really knows is roaring and hitting dinosaurs with each other, mommy really needs to come up with more dino-ideas. I feel, that it is essential that I come up with more games, so that Santino sees other opportunities and possibilities apart from roaring, so that he involves his imagination more, experiences playing with somebody in a more co-operative way.

So here's another one! Not necessarily Christmas-y, but very winter-y. I loved the combination of science and sensory experiences in this activity. And what determination my little guy showed, trying to free his dinos!

I froze a couple of Santino's dinosaurs in the bowls with water overnight. Just basically left them outside. In the morning I suggested we dig for the dinosaurs. I brought a couple of tools, some random stuff, like a spoon, a fork, a nut cracker. I don't really have a mini pickax at home, this would have been a great tool!

First, he tried those "tools" and found out that ice is very strong, you can't just pick it with a spoon or a nut cracker. Then I offered a bowl with some salt and a bowl of water.

Santino's way of experimenting, is to just dump the whole thing at once, so naturally, that's what he did. He dumped salt over one ice block, and then poured the warm water over the other. He didn't wait long enough to notice how salt started working through the ice, making it slushy. The warm water started melting the ice right away, so Santino immediately asked for more water.

To slow down the process, I gave him his favorite tool of all - the turkey baster! I also added a little bit of color to the water, in an attempt to see how this water penetrates through the wholes that salt makes. (You can't really see the color on these pictures, as I forgot to take pictures, being so involved in the process! I also had fun!)

We poured water, picked the melting ice and scrubbed it to retrieve frozen dinosaurs. Along with the dinosaurs, I also froze some "caterpillars". Santino freed one, and was very proud of it!

I explained to him that ice is frozen water, so when it warms up, it melts and becomes water again. Then I asked a tricky question: when the snow melts, what does it turn to? Santino's answer was "ice". Well, at least he understands that these substances are all connected. I told him that snow is also water.

Next time I'll show him how the steam works.