Thursday, 27 March 2014

Science Playdate - Colours

Last week we were invited by Umar's ummi to a Science playdate at their home. Knowing that his ummi is a closet-mad-scientist-turned-teacher, I was excited to see what she had in store for us. And what she had prepared for the children was simply amazing!

Teacher Za took pictures of the children and while we were not looking, she printed and pasted the pictures to make personalised name tags for the children. How thoughtful! During circle time at the start, each child went to a box to take out a name tag to present it to the child whom it belonged to. But instead of saying Hello, they greeted each other with Assalamu'alaikum and Wa'alaikumsalam. It was like being in the Islamic version of Julia Gabriel!

Then the children started their first activity. Some milk was poured into an aluminium tray. They were then introduced to four bottles of food colouring and the colours purple, blue, red and yellow. Teacher Za then squirted a bit of food colouring onto the milk and picked a cotton bud soaked in dishwashing liquid. She placed the tip of the cotton bud on the food colouring and the children, and their mothers too, were amazed when the food colouring dispersed to make pretty patterns on the milk. The children then got their own materials to make their own milk art.

Learning from Teacher Za

Making her own art on milk (with Umar's BJ)

Pretty patterns made by Wafa and Risyah

After the children had made their pretty patterns on the milk, they were given a piece of paper to place on the surface of the milk to get some food colouring on the paper. When the milk has dried, you get a piece of art on paper.

The little girl's milk art after it had dried

Next, Teacher Za took out a bottle and introduced the children to a funnel. She poured cooking oil to fill about half the bottle, followed by water up to about three-quarters of the bottle. She sprinkled glitter into the bottle and squirted about ten drops of food colouring into the bottle. The children were all excited to start but she wasn't done yet. She dropped half an effervescent tablet into the bottle and you get a lava lamp! The children then got their own bottles and funnels to have a go at making their own lava lamps which they got to take home.

Pouring oil and water through a funnel

Squirting some food colouring of his choice

Our lava lamp!

It was then snack time and time for some free play and for the mothers to catch up with each other. Teacher Za had earlier in the day swapped her mad scientist's lab coat and safety goggles for a baker's apron and mittens and baked for us chewy oat biscuits for the children and baked pasta for the mothers. MasyaAllah how fortunate we were to be served hot food after some activities. I know for sure the little girl enjoyed the pasta as she ate many helpings of it.

After that we went out of the house for the next two activities as it would get a little messy. Teacher Za had laid out cloth mats for us with her materials at the side. She introduced baking powder to the children which she poured some into a bottle. Then she squirted some food colouring and dishwashing liquid  into the bottle and, with a funnel, she poured some vinegar into the bottle. 

The children erupted with excitement when they saw the coloured bubbles rising in the bottle and flowing out of it. They then got their own materials to make their own volcanoes. If you put a lot of baking soda in the bottle, the reaction can go on and on as long as you pour vinegar into the bottle. The children were enthralled by it and Umar was busy taking snapshots of his blue volcano

This experiment totally reminded me of the volcano I had built when I was a primary school student, complete with brown plasticine for the "mountain" to conceal the bottle inside it. I remember it was on display at a Science fair in another school, together with some of my charts and another of my experiment with a chugging boat. Those wonderful Science Club memories!

Waiting for the eruption

Excited with his blue volcano

Taking a picture of his volcano

Blowing the bubbles away

After we had cleared the bottles and trays away, Teacher Za took out some colourful ice lollies for the children. For a while, they thought those were edible ice-cream but they were not! They were frozen mixtures of paint and water and were meant for painting. So they immediately started painting away with the ice lollies.

The yummy-looking ice lollies

Painting away with ice lollies


Then Teacher Za introduced them to syringes and told the children that they could use them to squirt some oil on their painting. The little girl had played with syringes before, usually to feed medicine to her stuffed toys, so she immediately gave it a go. After two squirts of oil, I realised that the oil caused some globules of paint to separate from the rest, creating pretty paint patterns. 


Using a syringe to squirt some oil on the artwork

The little girl's oil marbling after it had dried

After we had cleared up the mess outside, it was more free play for the children and we even stayed on for dinner as the kids were famished after all that fun. We were the last to leave but the little girl didn't want to go home. It has been quite some time since we last had a playdate with Umar and his ummi and I think the little girl missed playing with them. She and Umar used to play together all the time. She said that she wanted to stay with Ummi but I knew Ummi was too exhausted to play with her and we had to leave for a talk that night. 

I couldn't be more grateful for all the hard work that Teacher Za had put in for the children and the mummies without expecting anything in return. All we could do is to du'a that she'll be blessed with more than she had given. You can read her blog of the Science playdate to see more pictures and read up on the Science behind the experiments from the teacher/mad scientist herself. 

I love the children's sense of wonder and excitement as they were trying out something new and observing the reactions. May their sense of wonder and zeal for learning grow with them. Ameen.

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