Sunday, November 9, 2014

Science Party

Way back in September, when the sun still shone warmly upon us, Emily had a birthday party.

And it seems that the days of princesses and fairytales are behind us, at least for this 10-year-old. Apparently, Science is the new Cinderella.

And all playdates now involve Science experiments. As do Halloween costumes. Not surprising, therefore, that her birthday party would also have a theme along those lines.

First, though, the bad news: while brainstorming for experiments, Emily chose plenty of mixy-mixy reagent-reaction kaboomy ones, saying, "No offence, Mom, but I like Chemistry more than Physics."

I ask you: you invest all this time and passion grooming your children and what do they do? They defy you and choose their own path! Grrrrrrrrr.

But wait: the good news: I still got my way. We made circuits. Hah!

I am jumping ahead. Sorry.

As we were saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, Emily wanted a mainly Chemistry-type party. Which meant that I had zero ideas since I know squat about practical Chemistry. So we had to do research. Or, more accurately, I made Emily do the research. She came back with the usual suspects from google and library books and Other People's Mad Scientist Party blog posts: elephant toothpaste, mentos-diet-coke geysers, NaHCO3-and-vinegar volcanoes and cookies shaped like the periodic table elements and conical flasks.

Very dramatic. 
And absolutely nothing wrong with dramatic. 

However - unfortunately- also quite messy. Which is perfect out on the driveway on a sunny day. But we live in a part of the world where the weather plays pranks on us for fun, and I wasn't sure that, should it end up being an indoor event, I'd want 16 kids pushing the frontiers of kitchen science in my er... kitchen. Or living room. Or deck. 

So we short-listed, from our extensive list, the activities that
  • were only slightly messy, rather than apocalypse-messy,
  • could possibly be managed in mass quantities of 16, and
  • had some kind of take-home product at the end, so as to get Other People's Parents involved in dealing with the resulting mess.

And so it began.

Our guests, upon arrival, were invited to blow unbreakable bubbles 

and bounce them with gloved hands. Emily found this activity online here. It really works - the gloves are what make the bubbles unbreakable and bounceable from hand to hand.

Then we had lunch. Which is what we do at all our parties.

Also ice cream pie.

And the presents - more of the -bah - non-Physics variety.

Which brought an end to the first half of the party.

The second half of the party was The Lab Experience. Everyone was ushered into our garage,

which was set up with 16 chairs around 3 tables,

on which were apparatus and concoctions for various experiments.

Everyone got a disposable aluminum tray for mess-containment, 

a rack of test-tubes labeled and filled with stuff,

plastic cups, straws, paper plates, forks, popsicle sticks and instructions. Each table also was supplied with a roll of paper towels, bountiful ziptop bags and wet wipes.

We did five experiments and I got to be reprise my role of Teacher. Or, as is more politically correct, Facilitator. Here I am acting like I know what I'm talking about.

The first experiment was Regular Slime,

to which the kids got to add stuff 

to make whatever color they wanted,

and add eyes or not.

The second experiment was Bubble Slime

into which the kids stirred glitter

and thereafter blew into, 

and held Size Contests.

The third was fake snow

which a quick and easy mix.

The fourth was edible gummy worms

in three flavors,

which, after the kids had gotten over their squeamishness,

they devoured.

Finally, we cleared away all the wet and sticky gunk, and brought out the circuit components, 

which we assembled- even the very littlest among us -

which could be decorated

and taken home to sit on bedside tables and perform fancy light shows.

Fun day. Phenomenal amount of trash resulting during the cleanup after, as expected. And this was the Less Messy Version! Imagine what manner of devastation would be the state of our garage and yard had we planned a mentos geyser or mastodon mouthwash fest. Shudder.

We sent the kids home with their creations and test-tubes, and a little recipe book

so they could terrorize entertain their parents and siblings with what they'd learned and continue the fun.

More details and recipes-for-mess in upcoming posts!


  1. That looks soooo fun! And educational besides! What a great party!

  2. Wow" just came upon your blog via Pinterest - your sleeve making tutorial of 2010. What a fantastic party you organized! Keeping young minds engaged and active and clearly having loads of fun. I will be recommending this post to my colleagues in the College of Education at the uni where I work (Fort Hays State University). Great stuff and amazing organizational powers on your part.
    Jennifer in KS

  3. That is probably the most adorable kids party I've ever seen. Awesome!

  4. Jennifer - that is how I found this blog also! And wow, I am totally impressed with this party - you get mom of the year award!

  5. Fabulous pictures - the expressions on those faces! So involved, so excited, having so much fun!
    I've probably said this before, but I really, really, really want to be a guest at one of your parties. Oh, and I also want to be about 8 years old that day!

  6. You have the coolest birthday parties! I have to try some of these with my grandkids!

  7. You are the BEST Mom ever, and this is totally a great party and blog post. I love your blog.

  8. Love those test tubes. I saw them at OTC and had to buy them for my preschool class. We have used them once to mix colors with droppers, but need to pull them out again for something fun. Thanks for reminding me.

  9. I have loved every post on this party and LOVE it! I am very excited to have a science day with my Daisy Girl Scout Troop. I was wondering if you would consider sharing the recipe book (it is so stinkin cute!). thank you again.

  10. What a great party! Emma would love this. The lamps are very clever!

  11. Wow! Apart from a detective party, there was a Science party too!! I prefer Chemistry to Physics (too), probably cos' what we learn in Chemistry is more "interesting" in that it isn't as "observable" in daily life. Unlike Physics, which is much more applicable ;)

  12. Such parties are great for kids, as with fun it also inspires them to learn. I also planned a similar holiday party last year for my kids and they learnt a lot from the party.

  13. Looks super fun! Did you use just any old gloves or did you order the special Steve Spangler ones?

    1. There are special Steve Spangler gloves? Wow. It's amazing what branding can sell these days. No, these were the cheap 99c for 2 pairs kind from Walmart.


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