This is my friend Mike Adamick’s second book of projects to complete with children, and it’s focused on science! I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary copy from him a few weeks ago. I pulled it out during a recent rainy weekend day and asked the 7-year-old to flip through and pick a project.
the 7yo: How about this one!
my wife: One involving shining coins…how not surprising!
aside: it’s generally agreed upon within my family that our 7yo takes after me; it’s also generally agreed upon within my family that I lean more toward materialism than does anyone else.
I like how each book’s project begins with background information that will make the experiment more interesting. In this example, the preface explained why the Statue of Liberty looks different from pennies in our penny bank, despite both objects’ being made from the same element: copper. Then, the experiment is explained, both in terms of “how” and “why.” Children love to know “why.”
I stepped back and let my 7-year-old lead the experiment after she asked her 5-year-old brother for some dirty pennies. I told him to charge interest (another teachable moment).
And they watched the salt+vinegar solution do what it was supposed to do to the pennies.
Some of the pennies weren’t to be rinsed and were to sit out for a few days to look for the “greening” that we see in the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of these pennies from a few days later, as they ended up back in the 5-year-old’s penny bank before additional photos could be taken (because his sister couldn’t afford the usurious interest rate).
The experiment worked, and the children enjoyed the chance to follow step-by-step instructions, play with household items from the kitchen pantry, and improve the look of some of their pennies. Thus: a successful afternoon of experimenting.
Should you wish to find a unique Father’s Day gift this year, Mike’s book (available on Amazon here) would make a great one. Why? Because the most valuable (but fleeting) gift we fathers have is time spent (and memories created) with our children while they’re still young.