Science

  • 5 Fidget Spinner Experiments You Won’t Believe Worked!

    Fidget SpinnersFidget spinners have instant appeal for kids and adults of all ages. Just pick one up, give it a spin, and you’re hooked!

    They’re so simple, yet so addicting. Fidgeters are quickly finding new ways to spin, stack, do tricks and collect these great new toys.

    You wouldn’t know by looking at them, but fidget spinners are also a STEM toy. People are using fidget spinners to tinker, invent and engineer new ways to play. Kids are learning physics concepts like friction, torque, and balance while using this battery- and screen-free toy!

    Check out these 5 awesome fidget spinner experiments:

    1. Ice Fidget Spinner.

    Slater Brown disassembles a fidget spinner and, using the center bearings, makes his own ice spinner. It takes a few tries to make a mold, but he gets an ice spinner spinning! That’s one cool experiment!

    2. Underwater Fidget Spinner.

    AlexGoPow puts his fidget spinner underwater for some interesting visual effects. Spinning it underwater doesn’t do much, but letting the moving spinner hit the water looks neat on camera. Hope it doesn’t rust!

    3. Fidget Spinner On Fire.

    IncredibleScience puts hand sanitizer on his fidget spinner and lights it on fire for a spinning light show. This entire video is full of impressive tricks and experiments, but the fire is at 5:00. This experiment is hot! (Note: This is dangerous and should be done with adult supervision only.)

    4. Chocolate Fidget Spinner.

    Skazzer melts up some chocolate Mini Eggs to make a delicious-looking fidget spinner that really works. Similar to the ice spinner, but this one’s edible. Sweet!

    5. Popsicle Sticks Fidget Spinner.

    Brains techKnowlogy makes DIY fidget spinners using popsicle sticks, a skateboard bearing, glue and some excellent geometry! Impressive hands-on math application.

    We love that fidget spinners are inspiring creativity, problem-solving and scientific exploration. Have fun, be safe and keep spinning!

    --Becki

  • These Bath Fizzers with a Surprise Inside are Da Bomb!

    Inviting bathtub with rose petals and rubber duck and three Da Bomb bath bombs

    Taking a bath has long been my favorite way to relax. Now that I’m a new mom, I appreciate it even more when I can snag 30 minutes in the tub.

    I try to make it count by lighting scented candles, putting on some good music, and turning out the lights.

    But now there’s a new way to really deck out a bath – Da Bomb bath fizzers!

    Da Bomb bath bombs turn your tub into a fizzy, scented, colorful oasis.

    When the fizzing’s over, the fun isn’t – there’s a surprise inside each bath bomb!

    I was lucky enough to test an Earth Bomb, which has a “sea breeze” scent. As I watched it fizz, it turned my bath (but not my skin or tub!) a beautiful shade of blue.

    The bath bomb bubbled away for about two minutes as I waited for my prize to emerge. Ta-da: A plastic shark was inside!

    Da Bomb Bath Bomb Prize

    The soothing oils in the bath fizzer made my skin feel great and the bath even more luxurious. I’ll definitely need more of these!

    As a bonus, part of the proceeds of the Earth Bomb go toward saving the world’s oceans – a cause near and dear to my heart as an aquarium lover.

    Da Bomb bath bombs were created by two sisters, Isabel and Caroline, at the ages of 10 and 11. They are hand-made in the USA with only a few simple ingredients: baking soda, citric acid, food grade PEG, fragrance and pigments. They may look tasty (especially the ones with sprinkles) but they are not edible!da bomb bath fizzers

    The prizes inside are small, so these bath bombs are not for young children. They range from sea creatures to pirate booty to famous quotes, depending on the style. Da Bomb bath bombs make perfect gifts for kids and adults, and they’re great in Easter baskets!

    They definitely are Da Bomb. (Do kids even say that anymore?)

    Relax and enjoy!

    --Becki

  • 5 Ways Your Kid Can Be an Inventor

    It was the early 1990s, and recycling was all the rage. Captain Planet and the Planeteers were battling pollution on TV, and “reduce, reuse, recycle” was becoming a mantra.  So when I was asked to make an invention for a science fair, I made a robot from recycled shampoo bottles.

    To be honest, my robot didn’t do anything other than stand there. (I somehow walked away with an Honorable Mention.) But there are kids out there inventing every day and learning as they go. For some examples, see the kid inventions from last year’s White House Science Fair.

    Whether fun or funcational, the child inventor is learning critical skills:

    “The ability to invent requires something that comes naturally to most young children: creativity and imagination. Creative thinking is an important life skill that can be applied to everything they do, especially to problem-solving, which is what inventing is all about.” –Ellen Church, Let's Invent Something Together!, Scholastic Parents

    Kid Inventor’s Day is Jan. 17. What will your child invent?

    Kids that invented things from the trampoline to earmuffs.


    Here are five toys and books to encourage your kid inventor:

    1. Usborne’s 50 Science Things to Make and Do Book

    Usborne 50 Science Things to Make and Do Cards Set Usborne 50 Science Things to Make and Do Cards Set

    50 Science Things to Make and Do offers kids easy instructions for activities ranging from physics (Fire a Balloon Rocket) to nature studies (Butterfly Feeder) to chemistry (Making Gloop). These hands-on activities will inspire kids to think about how they interact with their world and wonder, “What else can I make?”

    2. LEGO

    LEGO bricks allow kids to build entire creations out of small elements. LEGO builders visualize an end product and use problem-solving to get there, using the tools available and revising as they go. The possibilities are limitless – just check out this LEGO car, full-sized LEGO house and LEGO piano!

    3. Snap Circuits

    Snap Circuits teaches kids about electrical circuits with the parts and instructions for hundreds of projects they can complete solo. Kids can also make their own creations, experimenting with batteries, lights, fans, speakers and more! Just watch this kid explain the circuitry—will he grow up to invent the next smartphone?

    4. Crazy Aaron’s Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit

    Mix, stretch, and observe the results with Crazy Aaron’s Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit. Kids can experiment with three special-effect putties and three concentrated-color putties. Does blue putty glow in the dark better than red? Does glitter affect the stretchiness? The combinations are endless!

    5. Air-Stream Machines Kit

    Hovercrafts aren’t just science fiction! Kids will learn about how air pressure works while building their own hovercrafts that can traverse water or land. The impressive and functional results will build kids’ confidence and even spark an interest in engineering. What vehicle will your child dream up next?

    I’m inspired by all the kid inventors out there! Keep your kids motivated with opportunities to stretch their imaginations in new ways. I can’t wait to see what they create.

    Happy inventing,

    Becki

  • 3 Educational Easter Egg Activities [Activities]

    3 Educational Easter Egg ActivitiesA pink-spotted egg lurks behind the cereal boxes. A glistening golden egg hides underneath an overturned coffee mug. Then, your child opens her sock drawer to find—surprise!—a bountiful Easter basket full of goodies.

    Easter Egg Hunts aren’t all about the candy—they’re about the thrill of discovery. One Easter, I hid candy-filled eggs for my 8-year-old niece. When she visited my house a few weeks later, she came bouncing in, asking, “Can we hunt for eggs again? They don’t even have to have anything in them!”

    Learning Express Toys makes creating egg-citing Easter baskets easy—just stop by and choose $25 worth of toys YOUR kid will love from our Bunny Buffet™ and receive a free personalized bucket! Then, read on for fun, educational Easter egg activities to keep kids seeking.

    Puzzle Piece Easter Eggs Encourage your child’s critical thinking, logic, and visual perception skills (and mix up the candy routine) by having him hunt for puzzle pieces! Place one or two puzzle pieces inside each plastic Easter egg and let the search begin, followed by a family assembly session. Choose a delightful jigsaw puzzle from Learning Express, or decorate your own blank puzzle. As a variation, hide individual letters written on squares of construction paper to form a word or phrase for kids to unscramble.

    Pro tip: Jot down the egg locations while you’re hiding them to prevent frustration later.

    Egg Dye Chemistry Conduct a quick science eggs-periment with your kids using vinegar and water with store-bought egg dye or food coloring. Set up three cups of water. Add one teaspoon of vinegar to the first one, two teaspoons to the second, and none to the third. Place 10 to 20 drops of food coloring or a dye tablet in each cup, and have your kids place a hard-boiled, white egg in each cup. Set an egg timer for up to five minutes and ask your kids to observe the process. When it dings, remove the eggs and ask: Which egg is brightest? Which is lightest? The egg immersed in the most vinegar will be brightest. Explain that food coloring is an acidic dye which bonds to the egg using hydrogen, and this chemical process works best in an acidic environment. Ask: Did you notice the bubbles forming around the egg while it was in the vinegar bath? Did you see this happen in the cup containing only water?

    Pro tip: Place the egg inside a whisk before dyeing for easy handling and drying.

    Egg Drop Contest Promote ingenuity and problem-solving skills in your child by letting her drop raw eggs out a window! But there’s a catch: The egg must be contained in some kind of protective casing. The goal is to keep the egg safe upon impact using a variety of scrap materials: Bubble wrap, newspaper, foam, fabric, cardboard, or whatever else you can find around the house. Your kid might even fashion a makeshift parachute out of a shopping bag and string. The whole family can compete to determine which materials are best!

    Pro tip: Place each egg in a reclosable plastic bag before packaging to avoid a runny mess.

    Make Learning Express Toys your first stop for Easter preparation, and keep the discovery going with surprises around every corner.

    Have an egg-stra special Easter!

    -Becki

  • 5 Ways Your Kid Can Be an Inventor [Videos]

    It was the early 1990s, and recycling was all the rage. Captain Planet and the Planeteers were battling pollution on TV, and “reduce, reuse, recycle” was becoming a mantra.  So when I was asked to make an invention for a science fair, I made a robot from recycled shampoo bottles.

    Kid with robot Not my robot, but you get the idea.

    To be honest, my robot didn’t do anything other than stand there. (I somehow walked away with an Honorable Mention.) But there are kids out there inventing every day and learning as they go. For some examples, see the kid inventions from last year’s White House Science Fair.

    Whether fun or functional, the child inventor is learning critical skills:

    “The ability to invent requires something that comes naturally to most young children: creativity and imagination. Creative thinking is an important life skill that can be applied to everything they do, especially to problem-solving, which is what inventing is all about.” –Ellen Church, Let's Invent Something Together!, Scholastic Parents

    Kid Inventor’s Day is Jan. 17. What will your child invent?

    Here are five toys to encourage your kid inventor:

    1. MaKey MaKey

    The MaKey MaKey is a kit that turns everyday objects (bananas, bowls of water, or Play-Doh, for example) into keyboard inputs. Your kid can hook up any conductive object to a computer to play games, music, and more.  Some inventions with the MaKey MaKey include a cat selfie station and Interactive Minecraft.

    2. LEGO

    LEGO bricks allow kids to build entire creations out of small elements. LEGO builders visualize an end product and use problem-solving to get there, using the tools available and revising as they go. The possibilities are limitless – just check out this LEGO car, full-sized LEGO house and LEGO piano!

    3. Snap Circuits

    Snap Circuits teaches kids about electric al circuits with the parts and instructions for hundreds of projects they can complete solo. Kids can also make their own creations, experimenting with batteries, lights, fans, speakers and more! Just watch this kid explain the circuitry—will he grow up to invent the next smartphone?

    4. Crazy Aaron’s Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit

    Mix, stretch, and observe the results with Crazy Aaron’s Mixed By Me Thinking Putty Kit. Kids can experiment with three special-effect putties and three concentrated-color putties. Does blue putty glow in the dark better than red? Does glitter affect the stretchiness? The combinations are endless!

    5. Two Bros Bows

    Two Bros Bows are toy bow-and-arrow sets invented by two brothers, Duncan and Hayden, at ages 10 and 7. The soft, foam-tipped arrows are light, safe and perfect for imaginative fun. Two Bros Bows became a family business, and the bow-and-arrow sets are a hit at Learning Express Toys. They even made our Top Toy list in 2015! Will your kid invent the next Top Toy?

    I’m inspired by all the kid inventors out there! Keep your kids motivated with opportunities to stretch their imaginations in new ways. I can’t wait to see what they create.

    Happy inventing,

    Becki