February 11, 2012
Cool Science Saturday (Nature)

Auntie Heather and I took Elizabeth, Josie, Daniel and Maria to Cool Science Saturday at the Museum of Nature! We got there right at opening and it was beautifully quiet. Then we got to touch the oldest rock in the world. The geologist showed us how they crush a sample of the rock and then look at it under a microscope. The microscope had a screen so the kids could easily see what was there. He grabbed a tiny piece of sand and put it on Dan's thumb so he could get a sense of the scale.


The "insect guy" was very enthusiastic, but even his assurances that spiders only bite if you squeeze their abdomens didn't make me want to fondle it the way he was! I did not even try touching it.  I'm sure Auntie Yukiko will be interested to hear that spiders eat with chopsticks - apparently their fangs have a similar motion.  We also got to see stick insects and hissing cockroaches. The demonstrator even annoyed the cockroach to make it hiss. I was disturbed to hear that we actually have tarantulas here in Canada. Most are pretty little, but still...


Heather took Josie to the prehistoric monster movie, but we deemed it too scary for the other kids, especially Daniel who is still getting over his previous 3D movie trauma. So instead we "fished" and made a 3D winterlude card craft (Dan made a crown). I wasn't clear on whether the markers were supposed to draw in 3D or if the card/crowns had special 3D designs but either way they looked the same to me regardless of whether I was wearing special glasses. The kids all oohed and aahed but I'm suspicious that they were imitating the staff...

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February 9, 2012

Someone suggested I should combine last month's theme (cells) with this month's (skin) to do a handwashing and germ "experiment". So I duly covered Auntie Janice's and Elizabeth's hands with cocoa. Then I blindfolded them and they were instructed to wash their hands until clean. Auntie Janice managed very well, but Elizabeth was surprised by how dirty hers were. I have to say that I've never seen Auntie Janice wash her hands that thoroughly in the ordinary course of things (ahem!) If I were doing this again I might try golden syrup or something a little harder to get off...


Then we tried another experiment. Elizabeth loves to play going to the doctor, so she was thrilled when I declared her to be "sick".  I added visible "germs" with glitter and then we played a germ transfer game. I kind of prefer the invisible kind though; they are easier to clean up!

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February 7, 2012
Science of hot and cold

One of this month's themes is "skin". I have yet to come up with a fancy dessert, though I've been frightening my husband with suggestions for hair follicles and sweat glands...


Instead I contented myself with the most successful science experiment we've ever done. A bit too successful, really, as Elizabeth wants to do this .every .single. day. One of Elizabeth's books talks about hot and cold temperature receptors, so the experiment in question is the classic "put one hand in hot water, put the other in cold, wait thirty seconds and then confuse your brain as you plunge both into lukewarm water". 

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February 6, 2012
Flour letters

Elizabeth's quasi-imaginary friends Beeta and Maka are apparently extraordinary storytellers who like to tell Elizabeth story after story. Unfortunately, she usually can't hear them unless someone is helping them to talk. Since Elizabeth is a story monster, that means Mommy has had to come up with a lot of stories. Elizabeth wants you to know that a story monster just means that she likes stories a whole lot. But even if she was a real monster, she would be a "fwendwee" one, not a scary one. Sometimes Elizabeth demands a (pre)"tend" story, and sometimes she wants a "weel" one. The following is "weel":


Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Elizabeth. Elizabeth's mommy heard that other little girls liked to write their letters using tinfoil lined containers covered in flour. "That sounds like a fun pre-writing exercise", said Elizabeth's mommy. So Elizabeth helped her cover a baking tin with tinfoil and Mommy sprinkled a generous layer of flour on the bottom. When Elizabeth saw the tin, she took her hand and smacked it hard into the flour. Poof! went the flour. Elizabeth was VERY surprised. She did enjoy writing E for Elizabeth, M for Mommy and a few other letters, before spending quite a long time drawing. It was kind of like a low tech etch-a-sketch with bonus sensory play thrown in. After a while, there wasn't enough flour left in the tin and so Elizabeth went to have lunch instead.


Mommy wondered how kids made ginormous messes pre-Internet...

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February 5, 2012
Skate to church

One of the best parts about living in Ottawa in the winter is that we can skate to church.


So we did! We even got to see some of the army of trucks they use to groom the ice.

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