Find a drawing book to bridge the middle years (ages 9-11).
My littlest kids (ages 5-7) have always enjoyed Ed Emberley’s drawing books. But one by one they would grow out of these books, or simply be ready for something a little more challenging, a little more realistic. I spent years trying to find a good drawing book for ages 9-11, or even a book with simple drawings that weren’t childish. One day I was browsing the book section at Cass Art in London when I found it! A whole series entitled “20 Ways to Draw….” So far we own 20 Ways to Draw a Tree (nature subjects) and 20 Ways to Draw a Cat (animals).
The realistic nature of these drawings makes them a good reference for nature journaling. Use these drawing techniques and ideas to learn more about leaf and tree shapes, bark texture, snowflake crystals, etc.
Create a new experience with the same old baking soda + vinegar science project.
This is our “Mini Magic Potion Station” that stays in one pan.
- baking soda
- distilled vinegar
- food coloring
- droppers (I have some left over from infant medicines)
- stirrers (we use toothpicks)
- containers to hold baking soda
- containers to hold vinegar
- containers for mixing
Add food coloring to several different batches of baking soda. A muffin tin is good for separating colors. Add food coloring to a flask or two of distilled (or malt) vinegar. Make sure you have a nice thick tarp or towel under the experiment area. My kids love to make “swirlies” with the different colors.
Add other liquids for experimentation (such as vegetable oil).
Set up an Outside Potion Station.
Free play with different measuring equipment to learn (1) how liquid measurements are related to each other and (2) the technical parts of accurate measuring. One child of mine is very much into precision. He had a grand time figuring out that 5 mL=1 tsp, 3 tsp=1 Tbsp, 1 Tbsp=15 mL, etc.
We also threw in the Floating Paper Clip Experiment for fun.
- measuring spoons
- small measuring cups (from liquid medicines)
- large measuring cups
- food coloring
- thick towel on the table
- optional (if you have it): chemistry glassware
Add food coloring to the water to make it easier to see. Mix, measure and pour. Add more water to the colored solution when too much gets spilled. We spent about 2% of the time actively discussing measuring points, and 98% of the time gleefully pouring and spilling.
To continue exploration, mix several solutions with different colors and allow color mixing.