You might have seen on Instagram recently that I was lucky enough to receive ‘The Curious Kid’s Science Book’ in the mail from the lovely author Asia Citro. A lot of people were interested in what it was like so I am sharing a bit about it because I really think it’s great.
If you’re a regular reader here you know I am all about child-led learning! I want my children to come up with their own questions and seek out their own answers. We have a few other science books and they are like any typical one you might see for kids. Full of the regular experiments with precise step by step instructions, with little room for child-led experimentation. The Curious Kid’s Science Book is the first one I’ve seen that actually encourages kids to come up with their own experiments. It’s perfect for us.
The book is divided into chapters on topics I find kids are naturally curious about: plants and seeds, water and ice, mold, bacteria, and fungus, engineering, food and candy, baking soda and vinegar, environmental science, and living things. Each chapter contains experiments, explorations, and challenges. I found that many of the questions were things my kids had asked me already and so now we have some more ideas on how to explore them further. For example, one experiment is titled ‘How deep should you plant a seed to get the best growth?’. Instead of giving a set experiment and step by step instructions, the book simply asks questions to prompt children to come up with their own ideas and design their own experiment to find the answer, i.e. ‘How many seeds will you use?’, ‘What depths are you going to use?’, ‘How long will you run the experiment?’, ‘How will you measure growth?’
Can you tell I’m a little bit in love with it? You know I love books, and this is perfect for us and our approach to education.
My kids have been enjoying looking through all the pages and telling me which ones they want to try. First up, we started with an old favourite, baking soda (or bicarb soda) and vinegar. My kids have played with this a lot. They love seeing the reaction, and so they were very keen on the idea of using it to try and pop a bag!
We first read the simple explanation in the front of the chapter about the chemical reaction that occurs between baking soda and vinegar, which produces gas.
I then read them their mission: find the smallest amount of baking soda needed to pop a ziplock bag filled with half a cup of vinegar.
They were very keen to get to work, first measuring out the vinegar.
Checking the measurements.
Adding the vinegar to the bag and also some colour for fun. We also added a squirt of dishwashing liquid for some more bubbly fun.
Miss 4 ran to grab the protective eye goggles just like in the picture.
Then it was time to add the baking soda. Miss 6 decided on a plan of starting with a small amount of baking soda and then working their way up until the bag popped. They started with 1/4 of a tablespoon. You don’t want any of the gas to escape before you have finished sealing the bag and we found the easiest way was to pinch the bag so the vinegar mixture was in the bottom while you added the baking soda to the top. Then seal it up and shake to combine.
The first 3 or 4 times the bag inflated, but not enough to pop. The girls worked together to decide how much baking soda they should add the next time.
Keeping a safe distance just in case, ha!
Eventually, when they’d worked up to 2 tablespoons, there was some action! They then had fun squeezing the rest out of the bag…
…and playing with it.
I can see this definitely being repeated again in the future! They ended up continuing to play and eventually mixing bicarb and vinegar in with some mud. Perfect childhood fun and experimentation! I love how instead of just following instructions they had to work out the answer themselves. Lots of observing, problem solving, making adjustments, and experimenting.
I’m excited to try out some of the experiments on bacteria soon! We’ve had lots of talks on the topic lately because we’ve all been sick. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the book. I really think it’s great and suits our children’s learning style perfectly. A good one for the Christmas list!