Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Making Potions or How to Keep 'Em Busy for an Hour

My kids have always enjoyed "making potions." I do not know how they got this idea originally. When he was younger, Tornado used to call it "doing science experiments." Ever since he could stand on a chair at the sink, he always wanted to pour leftover drinks and food into a bowl and mix it up. Once he could stand on his own at the sink, I'd often walk by and see some weird concoction sitting amongst my dirty dishes.

I've caught them (and when I say "them," I mostly mean Dash) using my natural dish soap, whole jars of spices, and any of my other expensive, organic food. That is exasperating. I try to fight his impulse by providing plenty of opportunities to make potions with restrictions. Several times this summer, they've carried stuff by the handfuls to their picnic table.

I give them each a bowl, several beakers and measuring cups, eye droppers, empty water bottles, and spoons. I give them bottles of vinegar and boxes of baking soda. I sometimes remember to pick up a bunch of Kool-Aid packets because they are cheap and fun for them to play with. I also let them take a food coloring squirtie (with several warnings to be careful not to dye their whole bodies and clothing). Then I just see what I have - expired spices, crayon shavings, and any other things sitting out on the counter. (They like it when Daddy leaves a few tablespoons of soda in the bottom of a bottle.)

Something else that is always fun for them to play with: I save the water from boiling broccoli, beets, or purple cauliflower, etc. It's a deep, lovely color - and free. They also might add items from outside - like pine needles, dirt, etc.

This will occupy them for an hour (which allows me to clean the kitchen or whatever). They make a big mess, but they've gotten pretty good about cleaning it all up themselves.

I love catching bits of their conversations when they are playing or working together. They have quite a time, pretending they are scientists or magicians or chefs or whatever. Clearly, this wouldn't really work as an unsupervised activity with preschoolers alone. My kids definitely don't try to ingest their potions, thank goodness, and if anything ever goes awry, Biggest Brother is an amazing Watch Dog.

Sharin' with ABC and 123!

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Jenilee said...

that is a GREAT idea! I love it! :)

~Amy said...

LOVE it! And will be perfect for tomorrow while Mommy's still sick and kids need fun time.

Eos Mom said...

That's a wonderful idea--I'll have to try that!

Michelle said...

This is an awsome idea!! Emily would have so much fun doing this...I will have to give it a try :0)