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Sensory STEAM Explorations

Mad Scientist week continued today with four Sensory STEAM Explorations.

1. Oobleck: We invited the children to explore OOEY GOOEY Oobleck! We used Steve Spangler's Oobleck and added the traditional cornstarch/water mixture. We provided our favorite oobleck tool, recycled produce baskets. We added Colorations Liquid WaterColors 1/2 way through.

Oobleck is a fun mixture that is a great sensory activity that has scientific elements. The really cool thing about oobleck is that it’s neither a liquid nor a solid. It’s actually a suspension (known as a non-Newtonian Fluid) and will behave like either, depending on the amount of pressure you apply. When the children squeeze it in their hands it will feel like a solid, but when they open their hand, it will flow over and between the fingers like a liquid This invitation to explore is an extension of the children's exposure to states of matter.

2. Magic Sand: We provided three jars filled with water & Magic Sand. The children were invited to explore, observe, & experience the magic of sand.

While this might look like ordinary sand, when you get it wet you will understand why it is called Magic Sand. We invited the children to place their hand in the water & pull the sand to the top. They soon noticed that the wet sand became dry. The surface of regular sand becomes wet in water due to adhesion or different molecules attracting. Water molecules are attracted to each other due to cohesion. This means that water molecules & sand grains are electrically attracted. Magic Sand is regular sand that has been coated with an oil-like substance that is hydrophobic. The grains like to stay in contact with each other due to the oil coating. Also, the surface tension of water holds up the grains on the surface unless a force pushes them through the surface.

3. Foam Alive: We invited the children to explore Foam Alive! This science sensory material truly feels alive and is so enticing to play with.

When children observe and explore strange characteristics of sensory materials they stimulate the mind & body through the tactile experience. Choosing to go the multi-sensory route is always beneficial to a child's learning due to the fact that children learn best & retain the most information when they engage their senses in early childhood. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain's pathways, which leads to the child's ability to complete more complex learning tasks. It also supports cognitive growth, promotes language development, fosters fine & gross motor skills, problem solving skills & social interaction.

4. Colorations® BioPutty® Slime: We invited the children to create their own slime! In a bed of Colorations® BioPutty® Solution we squirted Fluorescent & Metallic BioColor® and just like that we created slime!

Slime has the strangest characteristics in that it flows somewhat like a liquid, spilling out, but is very obviously a solid. It is ooey & gooey and cold to the touch as it flows between fingers. It is such a unique substance that young children love to explore.

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