The Giveaway is now closed, congratulations Charise W, Sydney S, and RosaLinda H! Thank you so much for entering and sharing your wonderful stories about exploring the world with your kids!
In our house, we have a really great collection of science books, with everything from the Eyewitness books, to various encyclopedias and field guides. The Exploratorium of San Francisco just sent us a copy of their newest book Exploralab to add to our collection and it is fantastic! Not only is it fun to read, but my daughter has adopted it as her own personal science activity book! Whenever she sees it, she flips through the pages and runs off to try some new activity or science experiment.
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Exploralab takes you through your day, beginning with the moment you open your eyes. You see light coming through your windows, where is it coming from? You hear birds chirping in the early morning, what are they and why are they singing? Can you hear your alarm clock beeping to wake you up? Instead of hitting snooze, why don’t you take it apart and see what it’s made of?
Note: Only do this with your parent’s permission! Maybe you can go to a thrift store and find an old alarm clock to take apart. This would be a great project to learn about the mechanics behind clockwork, and the electrical engineering that makes it all work!
As you go about your day, take a look around you. Can you see the mathematical structures present in the plants that grow? Can you see the organization of chairs, architectural structures, and tiles throughout your town or city? You can find symmetry, the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio all around you! This book is filled with all sorts of examples of science and math that points you to simply look outside to see it all right there in front of you!
This book asks all kinds of questions while offering explanations and tips to learn more. Best of all, this book is FUN! It’s literally built for exploration! Throughout the pages are little nooks and crannies filled with all sorts of things! Closet doors open to a variety of fabrics, windows display movable polarizing filters, and mirror sheets can be pulled out and used to find infinity!
This is a great book to introduce kids to the fact that science is all around them, that the world is theirs to explore and have fun with! This book is meant to be carried by your child and loved. Let them keep it in their bag with a small notebook and pencil, and set them off to explore the science of life!
Here are some of the fun activities that you can do with this book. I’ve included the explanations from the pages of Exploralab, so you can get an idea of the language they use to explain the science behind your demonstrations.
Make a Rainbow Explosion!
Milk (whole or 2 percent)
Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
1. Pour about 1.5 inch (1.25 cm) of milk into a bowl. Let it come to room temperature.
2. Plop several drops of different food coloring onto the milk’s surface. They might spread a little, but they’ll stay where you put them.
3. Soak the end of a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol. Touch it to the color drops which will explode into wild whorls and bursts.
What’s the Deal?
Water – and food coloring, which is mostly water – hangs together in droplets because water molecules are attracted to one another (it’s sorta sweet). This is called surface tension. Milk, which is also mostly water, has this property, too. When you add rubbing alcohol (or soap), its molecules push apart the water molecules. Surface tension breaks down most at the spots where you put the alcohol, so water molecules elsewhere in the saucer pull water molecules away from milk near the alcohol. The food coloring swirls as all these molecules dance.
The Tiny Pants Challenge!
Use a simple trick of perspective to dress your friends in teeny-tiny clothes!
Markers, crayons, colored pencils
1. Draw a pair of pants (the sillier the better!). Cut them out, glue them on card stock, and trim around them.
2. Carry the pants with you as you go through the day.
3. When you meet a friend, tell her to stand several paces away from you. Then hold the pants in front of yourself and close one eye. This messes up your depth perception, and suddenly your goofy minipants fit your large-as-life pal.
Words Versus Colors!
Confuse the class with a game that pits their ability to ID colors against their skill at reading words.
Dry Erase markers in an assortment of colors
The whiteboard page of Exploralab (or a whiteboard)!
A dry eraser
1. Round up a rainbow of dry-erase markers. On the whiteboard of the facing page, draw a table with three columns and six rows.
2. Write the word red in one table box in blue marker. Write green in another box in a different color, and brown in another box, again in a new color. Don’t put words in the same color next to each other, and don’t write color names in their actual colors.
3. Go wild with more markers: Write pink in green marker, black in red, and so on until the table’s full of color names written in the wrong colors.
4. Ask a friend to read each word out loud. Time him on your watch. Then time him again as he says the color each word’s written in – he’ll splutter because his eyes pick up the colors but his brain registers the words.
Make a new table of colored words, flip the whiteboard upside down, and ask your friend to name the colors that the words are written in. He’ll zip through them now – his brain ignores the flipped words which are hard to read, in favor of the hues.
We absolutely LOVED this book. There are so many fun projects to do! You can make a roller coaster in your living room to learn about physics! Explore nature by digging into your garden to find what lies beneath! Mummify your foods and find out what foods can conduct electricity! Rig a rocket or trick out a telescope!
The world is yours to explore and this book does a fantastic job of encouraging that innate desire for exploration and discovery with our kids. This is definitely up there in the top three science books in our house, and this now has taken first position in my daughter’s favorite activity books! Furthermore, thanks to this, we now have yet another vacation destination in San Francisco, as The Exploratorium science museum has become a bucket list place for us to go!
So pick up a copy of Exploralab today, and get ready to explore the world!