As part of our daily rhythms, I’m now setting up a play/learning invitation for them to find in the mornings. It’s a great way to remind them about toys and resources that they’ve forgotten about and to give a theme to our our learning for the day. I’m also finding it helps with a relaxed start to the day too because they have something to keep them occupied whilst we make breakfast, or if they finish eating before we do.
Let’s Play Scientists
For Christmas, a friend bought the girls a Science play set. It came with a lab coat, goggles test tubes, pipettes, beakers… everything you need to be a budding scientist!
I also added in E’s microscope, which came as part of a set with a telescope.
It did get played with for a while, but like so many toys, it got tidied away and forgotten about. I spotted it when looking for something else and decided to set them up a science lab to play with.
The girls have had the IKEA Dukitg kitchen for years and they’ve loved playing with it. Recently though, it hasn’t had as much love. Part of the problem is that they’re getting a bit too tall for it (but we have a plan for that!). I think our eldest worries about playing things that others might think are too “babyish”, I’m noticing this a lot recently and particularly since she turned nine.
Swapping out play food and cafe accessories for the science equipment seemed like a great way to get them both interested.
Our Science Lab
I don’t think this really does count as an “IKEA hack” because all I did was swap out our accessories, but here’s the finished science lab. I couldn’t believe the amount of DMs I got on Instagram about it! It was lovely that so many people loved the idea enough to give it a go for themselves.
I got a couple of potion bottle graphics from Twinkl (I used the Create function) which I tacked up. Then it was as easy as setting out the science equipment!
I also used a mix of water and food colour in the test tubes and found another container to add cornflour and water too. Imaginative play is fantastic, but my two always enjoy exploring stuff and getting messy too!
(FYI, if you do this you might want to cover the floor. I put a plastic tablecloth underneath the kitchen and got the Tuff Tray out to contain potion-making mess.)
Diverse Science Books For Kids
On top of the the Science lab, I created a mini reference library using books we already have at home.
Here are the books I used:
- Curious Questions & Answers About Science
- Mason Jar Science
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
- Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders
- The manual that came with the science kit
P spent a long time going through the Mason Jar Science book finding experiments she’d like to try out. E enjoyed reading both of the books about women, and we found some great examples of female scientists in both.
I wasn’t expecting the girls to enjoy this as much as they did to be honest. Since lockdown they’re struggling to focus on activities for too long, but this kept them happy for around an hour or so.
They were fascinated by the non-Newtonian liquid created by the cornflour and water. How could they stir it slowly, but also hit it really hard?!
Of course, the food colouring was a bit hit and led to them exploring mixing colours in a really organic way. Then the colours got added to the cornflour mixture too.
It was lovely to watch them exploring, getting messy and having some fun together.