Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mad Scientist Birthday Party

Parker turned six last week and we celebrated with a Mad Scientist party and 26 of his closest friends. I know, a big group. Yikes!

To set the stage, I created this fun table you could see when you first came into the house. The table included test tubes filled with mini M&Ms, saftey goggles, magnifying glasses and a spinning disco light.

 My mom made this awesome lab coat for the birthday boy (and a smaller one for his assistant).

 I also made t-shirt using the freezer stencil method I'm obsessed with here. Parker's said Mad Scientist. Mine and the hubs had some inspired by the song - She Blinded Me With Science.  OK. We're dorks, but don't we look festive?

Since we had so many kids, we decided to set-up experiment stations. Each child was given a colored bracelet to determine what team they were to be on. Here's the "Blow Up Your Balloon" station.

There are so many great websites out there with science experiments with kids. I really enjoyed Steve Spangler's and Science Bob. Our three experiements were:

Blow Up Your Balloon. Fill a water bottle 1/3 of the way with vinegar. Use a funnel to add 1 tbs. of baking soda into a balloon. Put the balloon on the top of the bottle and drop the baking soda in. The baking soda reacts with the vinegar to create carbon dioxide, which blows up the balloon. Unlike the pin that's going around on Pinterest says, it does not make helium. The balloons will not float, but they're still pretty fun.

Slime: Mix equal parts of liquid starch (we found it at King Soopers), white glue and water. I also added green food coloring to the water. This was messy and fun. The kids were given an Easter egg to take some home with them. Here's a video link for more on this one.

Quick Sand: This one is also known as oobleck. One box of cornstarch mixed with a cup of water. Slowly add another 1/2 cup for consistency. In the bowl it's a solid and your hand it's a liquid. For more on this one, click here.

I had the supplies to do the experiment three separate times at each station and used dollar store bowls that I could just throw away. This way there was no cleaning and when the group rotated stations, we could just pull out fresh supplies.

We also did the Mentos/Diet Coke fountain, which was a huge hit with everyone. I bought the kit at The Wildlife Experience, but it's also available here.

A test tube pinata finished off the theme - for more on how I made it, check out the blog post here.

Happy birthday little scientist. Love ya, kiddo.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Test Tube Pinata

When Parker said he wanted to do a science birthday party (OK, I may have put the idea in his head, but it's awesome), I started hunting around Pinterest for inspiration.

We always do a pinata. It's kind of become a tradition. This is what we came up with. Awesome right?!?

I found this post by Homemade Mamas, I knew we'd have to make a test tube pinata. In the original post, they used a large balloon to make the shape, but I couldn't find one.

We had to come up with something. My neighbor suggested using a bunch of regular balloons taped together in a tube shape. I of course, had to one-up him and come up with this. A single balloon stuffed into one end of a Coors Light box. I opened the box and turned it inside out, so that the words wouldn't show through the tissue paper (I can't have all the other parents at the party thinking we're a bunch of drunks now, can I?).

I taped the balloon in place and mixed up some paper mache - just flour, water and a little Elmer's glue. My little helpers got nice and messy helping me tear the newspaper into strips and slathering it with our paste.

We kept working until we ended up with this.

It was really wet and we let it dry for a couple days. It was probably ready in 24 hours, but we left it be for good measure.
Next, it was time for decorating. I cut lots of strips of tissue paper (I had three sheets of green on hand and also used about four of white). 

Keep cutting until you have something like this.
Then I started glueing the strips starting with the green end. I used seven (yep seven!) glue sticks. Make sure you overlap each piece as you move around the pinata.
Keep going and keep glueing. When I finished, I decided to use the Homemade Mamas' version as inspiration and added hashmarks and numbers to six, since Parker was turning six.

It was a total hit - literally. How cute is my little niece hitting it?

And Dillon and his little buddy getting playful while waiting for that thing to break? Cute. Right? It was pretty strong and lasted through about 15 kids. So there was some waiting happening.

Stay tuned for an overview of the party. It was pretty amazing.