“E” is for Experiment

My bloggy friend Deborah over at Teach Preschool just reached her 20,000th Facebook fan. Can you imagine? TWENTY-THOUSAND! She’s awesome in so many ways, and is especially extraordinary in that she runs a preschool and also finds/makes/squirrels away time to tweet/facebook/blog and generally keep the whole online preschool community together in one special place. Not to mention she’s one of the kindest bloggers out there.To celebrate this big social networking milestone, Deborah invited her early childhood education friends to contribute a letter, in the form of a blog post, to the “ABC’s of Teaching Preschool.” Given the nature of my blog, “E” for Experiment is what I have for you today. Oh, how I love a good creative experiment!

So can you imagine my surprise when I spotted this very truck TONIGHT on our evening stroll? The kids were in the wagon, happily playing with handfulls of leaves, and I did the biggest double-take. Circled back down the street and snapped this shot.

Serendipity, right?

Experimentation is at the heart of learning. When children are curious about something new they may ask about it, test it, try to figure it out, look at it from a different perspective, fail, or try something different. Last night I watched my almost one-year old work at putting a lid on a bottle for close to ten minutes. She flipped it over, moved her hand to get the right grip on the lid, missed the mouth of the botter, made contact, succeeded, put it down to clap (!), and then did it all over again.

About eight times.

Experimentation.

Here are three of our all-time favorite kitchen experiments–a little sample of what makes us happy at Casa TinkerLab. There are MANY more — just type “experiment” into the search bar and see what comes up! If you have a favorite experiment, I’d love to know what it is — by no means have we exhausted the possibilities.

Corncob Popcorn Experiment

Perfect for fall. Collect some dried corncobs and pop them in the microwave.

The Butter Experiment

Grown-ups may have to do most of the work, but the results are pretty spectacular.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

This project is so much fun that you’ll want to buy a gallon of vinegar in preparation for the requests for “more.”

If you’re not already a Teach Preschool Facebook fan, click right here and join the 20,000+ party.

Comments

  1. says

    All the experiments are just fun and phenomenal! Popping corn on cob is so exciting and thrilling. We love Teach preschool blog! I super like and go with all the points you told about the blog and Deborah! She is amazing!

    • rachelle says

      Popping corn off the cob is such a fun surprise, mostly because we never do it that way! But why not? I’m glad you found my blog, and I agree — Deborah is amazing!

  2. says

    You are so right… Experimentation IS at the heart of learning!! This is a wonderful post … the examples are terrific!!

    Love the irony of the truck!! How fun!!!

    • rachelle says

      Thanks, Deborah. I was floored by that truck — and to think I spotted it in my otherwise buttoned up neighborhood. Too fun.

  3. says

    I love a good experiment, especially in preschool, where I can understand what I’m doing and they USUALLY work! I really want to try the corncob experiment with my preschoolers!

    • rachelle says

      they will love it, ayn! the microwave can be the only tricky thing in a preschool setting since not all rooms have them.

  4. says

    I used to do the butter experience when I taught kindergarten…. Everyone took a turn shaking and the kids loved it!!

    This is a very fun post! Thanks again!

    • rachelle says

      turn-taking is a great solution, deborah! i guess i didn’t have that luxury with my one kid, and the turn-taking moved toward the grown-ups!

  5. says

    OH to make a mess and create an oozing goo – experimentation is so much fun! Thanks for your post and thanks for including me in your adventure/celebration!

    • rachelle says

      I love a good mess, too, Leeanne. Not cleaning it up, necessarily, but a mess is almost always a good sign that learning and fun have been had by all.

  6. says

    HA! I’ve never popped corn on the cob before…might have to try this out! Oh…maybe I should include the kids in the experimentation! :)

    • rachelle says

      I hadn’t either, Pam, and it was such an awesome surprise. I was experimenting right there alongside my daughter, and it was fun to wonder how it would transpire. With or without the kids, you’ll enjoy it for sure ;)

  7. says

    My kids and I have made butter before (you can’t beat the flavor) but I never thought to put it into molds. Well now I can break out all of my unused molds–clever! Thanks. Great blog. I had to come back and read more.

    • rachelle says

      Hey Karen! Glad to give you an excuse to put your molds to work. And thank you for the nice compliment.

  8. says

    Wow!!! Love the post. LOVE your blog. Truly LOVE that it was Deborah that brought us all together through the Alphabet of all things!!!

    I got to contribute the M for Music post and hope that in your busy world you may be able to stop by for a quick peek. Great to get to ‘see’ the entire post (complete with awesome pictures!) this evening.

    Debbie
    RainbowsWithinReach

  9. says

    My 2-year old nephew is MAD about smelling kitchen spices. It’s become an “experiment” of sorts for him to hide his eyes and guess the spices based on their smell. He asks for this game all the time.

    • rachelle says

      Tracey, this is a lovely idea, and the timing is totally in sync with my 3 year old’s recent interest in this too. Her grandma has a spice drawer (ours are hidden away in an out-of-reach cabinet) that she can open and close herself. On a recent visit, we spent a long time opening ALL the jars and discussing the smells. I hadn’t thought to classify this as an experiment, but of course it could be. Thank you!

  10. says

    So true what you say Rachelle – experimentation is at the heart of learning. You watch young kids and they are all about “what will happen if I do this?” or “what can I do with this?” or “how can I build the tower taller?”. It never stops.

  11. says

    Mmmm, all these experiments are with food. Are you trying to tell us something Rachelle? I do love a good experiment though.
    Well Done!

    • rachelle says

      I’m not sure why I chose food, Greg, except that these seemed to be our most popular experiments. I guess they may have risen to the top because food can be so motivating and we’re naturally curious about where it comes from and what we can do with it?

    • rachelle says

      Going back to Greg’s question, I think you just answered it, Vanessa! And as for the camera, I have one in my phone that always works in a pinch. Not sure how I’d function without it sometimes.

    • rachelle says

      I’ve never tried this one, Juliet! thanks for the suggestion. I’m sure you’ll see it in a post one day soon.

  12. says

    Wow! Interesting that you find a truck with the very same word (Experiment). Never thought of trying popping corn on the cob ….always thought it would blow-up in the microwave. Will give it a try.

    • rachelle says

      Isn’t that crazy? That’s funny that you thought it would blow up. I never even thought of it at all!

  13. says

    WOW Rachelle … I LOVE the corncob popcorn experiment. I know some children who would really find that fascinating! As for the butter I want to try that one myself. It looks like fun and VERY therapeutic!!
    Donna :) :)