Thursday, January 28, 2016

Innovative Materials Foster Innovative Thinkers

If we want children to grow up being innovative, then we better be innovative with the materials they have access too!  Ditch the commercialized junk that limits imaginations and boxes children in.  Replace that with INNOVATIVE materials.  (aka:  empty boxes, plastic jars, plastic rain gutters and other, seemingly random odds and ends)

THEN... be innovative with how you present the materials children already know.

Take vinegar and baking soda for example.  Children LOVE the reaction that happens by simply mixing vinegar and baking soda.  When I lead my Defender of Play Boot Camps, I share LOADS of innovative ideas of how to present the opportunity to create the FIZZ... but this is one that is brand spanking new... hot off the press... straight from the noggin....and totally AWESOME!   

Allow me to introduce you to...... 
Baking Soda Ice Cubes (Don't stop scrolling here....keep on reading.. this grows into another, even more amazing idea!!)

I am not a measuring kind of gal (you should have supper at our home sometime... it gets interesting).  THEREFORE, I have no measurements for you (relax, ye with little faith.. trial and error is GOOD)  What I can tell you is I dumped in a bunch of baking soda, and added water, stirred it well and then filled various ice cube trays with the mixture.  I used silicone ice cube trays from Ikea.  

I plopped (this means I just put it in the environment with ZERO direction or expectation) the ice cubes, a couple of brownie pans, a mini-muffin pan and cups of colored vinegar (each with a squirt of Dawn dish soap added) and pipettes.  I then quietly waited to observe what my littles would do with these materials.

As the "magic ice cubes" melted, and the fizz died down, there was MORE fizz opportunity, and that made for really gorgeous results!
So then... as I was rinsing out this container post-play, I realized that it was really AWESOME to watch it all run down the pan... which sparked the next idea I am going to share with you.....

Frozen Fizzing Ramp!! (I KNOW... right?  HOW CLEVER and FUN!!!??)

Do the same thing that you did to make the "magic cubes" only fill a brownie pan with the mixture instead.  Using shelf liner from the Dollar Tree on the edge, (this keeps the pan from slipping) position it on the edge of another container to create a ramp)

Then, my own curiosity led me to grab the scraper to see if they could scrape away the top layer and start all over.  The scrapping was LOTS of fun, and a great sensory experience too!

The children's conversations were rich with comments on the colors they were making, the speed in which the magic cubes were traveling, the sizes of them as they melted and how cold it was when they touched it.  There was cheering for the fish as they slid down the slide and lots of "Oh LOOK WHAT I DID!!"
Recall the magic cubes from earlier?  Well, I made more of those too, and it turns out they are lots of fun on a ramp as well!!

As our morning progressed, and the magic cubes and ramp melted, the results changed.  The ability to fizz happened again and again for the melting cubes and ramp, the rainbow river that appeared was awe-inspiring and sparked lots of conversation and imagination.


Innovative materials fosters innovative thinkers.

Hopefully this post will work the same on you, as opportunities like this do on my littles.  Let this inspire YOU to be INNOVATIVE.

I challenge you to take the ordinary and make it EXTRAORDINARY.   Get in touch with your innovative side!  You have children to inspire!