Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Science Project, Art Project

Tonight at Vacation Bible School, we move back to more traditional crafts.  We've been having crafts that are equal parts science project and art.  I have been feeling some anxiety, as I have never done these sorts of arts and crafts before.

On Monday, before the kids arrived, I mixed food color into the vinegar, which I had poured into small bottles.  I spread newspaper across the tables.  When the kids arrived, each one got a tray with baking soda.

What is the purpose of this project?  We talked about how faith in Jesus gave us hope, and hope is a bubbly thing.  Then I squirted the colored vinegar on the baking soda, and we watched it fizz.  Then everyone got their own trays and got to play--part science project, part art.

The kids delighted in the colors, which they mixed.  Some kids liked a soupy mixture, while others tried to make clay.  As the colors swirled and sizzled, we talked about what it looked like:  "You created a planet!"  Some kids were careful, while others dove right in, leaving their hands deeply colored in purples and greens.  Some kids managed to get baking soda all over themselves.  I wonder what their parents thought of it all.

I had friends who cycled through the room, who reminded me that I was worried that kids would get bored.  We laughed at my lack of faith.  Most of these kids would have kept concocting "pictures" until we ran out of baking soda and colored vinegar.

On Tuesday, we mixed equal parts glue, water, and borax--we created polymers, which resembled silly putty or slime, depending on how we had measured.  We also squirted some food coloring into the goo.  We had a bit less time, which was good, since the project is only interesting to a certain extent--and thus, some children fell to the temptation of sticking goo up their nose or in the hair of the child next to them.

I confess to weariness at the powders that fly everywhere, at the mess, at the clean up.  Tonight we will make bats out of toilet paper tubes.  I am ready to return to the world of construction paper and pipe cleaners that has been a staple of elementary school arts and crafts projects.

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