Last week we did a couple of "practical" learning activities - Joe definitely seems to learn best when "doing". I recently bought the excellent Usborne, 100 Science Experiments book and Joe was keen to do some structure building with marshmallows (hmm, I wonder why?) so we had a go at that.
Unfortunately, I was rather low on toothpicks, so our building was a little limited, but we managed to do enough for him to learn that triangles were a much more stable structure than squares, before he wolfed down all the marshmallows! (They were only the mini ones used for baking, by the way, and I did help!)
On Thursday we had some science combined with sensory play. I had seen this post about water beads on the NurtureStore blog and though it sounded like something Joe might enjoy so I ordered a packet. When they arrived he was distinctly unimpressed - it was just a little plastic bag with what appeared to be some tiny, dark blue, plastic balls in (which, stupidly, I forgot to photograph!) But as soon as we put them in water it began to get a lot more interesting.
And this is about half an hour later, looking like little berries. Later still and they become much bigger and spherical, but the really weird thing is how they look in the water - it looks as if they are melting!
And yet this is what they look like when you take them out! It's something to do with refraction - the beads don't bend light around them in the way that anything else would if you placed it in water. If we had bought clear beads you wouldn't be able to see them at all in the water! And they feel amazing! Joe thought they were made of frogspawn so we talked about why that wouldn't be true and then looked on the internet to find out what they really are made of (superabsorbent polymer, of course!)