Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Possibilities for summer science for kids are endless. All you need to do is to go outside and take advantage of what nature has to offer. Where we live it certainly includes hot sun and opportunities for sun science.
Planet Smarty Pants: Solar Melted Crayons
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101 Kids Activities Book

101-Kid-Activities-Book
We were very lucky to review 101 Kids Activities - a wonderful book by two super talented kid bloggers Holly Homer and Rachel Miller. Holly and Rachel run a very popular blog Kids Activities Blog, and they have a knack of selecting the bestest and funnest activities to share on their blog and in their book. One big advantage of a book over a blog is that it allows easy comparison of one activity vs. another, and each activity selected for the book has an adaptation for older and younger kids.
When I was reading through the book, I had an immediate I want to do that! response to at least a third of activities, which is a pretty high number for me. As a working mother, I don’t like activities that require a lot of prep, a lot of clean up or a lot of supervision. 101 Kids Activities is well organized and most projects don’t require a trip to the store or exotic craft materials.  
I really wanted my daughter to select some projects that she wants to do and see how much she can accomplish on her own. I am going to let her loose on this book right after she emerges from digesting Harry Potter books – right now she has very little interest in anything else. However, one activity popped up right away at me as the one that I was pretty sure Smarty would enjoy – melted crayon art, and I suggested it to my 7 year old on a hot day when she came back from her camp.

Solar Science for Kids

Smarty had fun with the prep part of the project where we needed to peel off crayon wrappers and break the crayons. That was a great exercise for her fine motor skills. Then we took the crayons outside and attempted to construct a simple solar oven:
Solar Oven for Melting Crayons
Alas, by that time the sun was getting low and our crayons “sweated” a little, but didn’t melt. Smarty observed how dark colors seem to absorb more heat than lighter ones and we discussed reflection. Then my husband came home, laughed at our oven and said that we would have been much better off if we simply had closed the lid on the black box. He got out an oven thermometer with a sensor and put that sensor inside the box to demonstrate to Smarty how the temperature increases inside the black box standing outside. Unfortunately, that box was from an expensive champagne set, and it was surprisingly well insulated. The temperature did increase inside but not enough to melt the crayons.

Melted Crayon Art

Crayon Art
101 Kids Activities book has a beautiful “process art” project for melted crayons, but when we finally got our crayons melted (we had to wait out cooler days in between our first attempt and next attempt), Smarty was not much interested in staying outside in the heat to play with melted wax. She half-heartedly drew a picture and disappeared inside. I should have offered her to use crayon on rocks instead on paper – she is always more interested in 3D art projects.

Transfiguration of Crayons

Crayon Hearts
Since Smarty is so into Harry Potter, she liked the thought of crayons’ transfiguration from boring and broken pieces into pretty hearts. Next time I am going to stick a straw into melted crayons, so we can hang them up.

More Science for Kids

Almost Unschoolers has an interesting series of posts on science of candles and crayons (great minds think alike!)
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Your Turn

Is it hot enough where you live for the crayons to melt in the sun?

5 comments:

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

LOL! I was just thinking about re-trying our melted, crayon shaving, firework pictures from last year, but in a solar oven, and wondering if it might not be just as well to set them in the car. We are thinking alike :)

Ticia said...

We have never successfully melted crayons in the sun. I'd also say though, I think the more recent crayola crayons have been changed so they don't melt as easily in the sun, because we've left crayons in our car for hours and days and they've never melted.

Lynda Williams said...

Sure is! Today it will be about 90 degrees I think. I have some fun science projects on my blog too.Teaching Science With Lynda

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

We have, but it took a solar oven :) I haven't tried since we got to California.

Jill R. said...

We haven't tried melting crayons in the sun.... yet!


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