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I love tying in upcoming holidays with science experiments with my boys. After coming up with a couple of science activities with my oldest, I wanted to find some less complicated science experiments I could do with my other two boys. After my search, I found a lot of great Valentine’s Day inspired sciences experiments and math activities!

35 Valentine’s Day Science Experiments!

Try one of these experiments this Valentine’s Day with your kids!

Science Experiments with food!

Valentine’s Day Treats – Homemade Marshmallows | Steamed Powered Family

Dissolving Skittles or M&Ms Experiment | Red Ted Art

Chocolate Hearts Science Experiment: Forms of Energy! | Preschool Powol Packets

Valentine’s Day Slime!

3-INGREDIENT SPARKLY VALENTINE SLIME | Artsy Fartsy Mama

Valentine Glitter Slime: A Valentine’s STEM Activity for Kids! | Schooling a Monkey

Sparkly Valentine’s Day Slime | There’s Just One Mommy

Red Hot Valentines Day Slime for Kids | 123 Homeschool 4 Me

 




Science Experiments with Everyday Ingredients!

Valentine’s Love Potion Activity & Gift Idea for Kids | Mommy’s Bundle

STEAM Valentines – Fizzy Heart Science | Red Ted Art

Bubble Painting – Fun with Science | Red Ted Art

The Science Behind Melting Crayons: A Valentine’s Day Science Experiment | From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom

Valentine’s Day SCIENCE Activity | Red Ted Art

VALENTINE’S DAY SCIENCE: FIZZING HEARTS REACTIONS | Schooling a Monkey

VALENTINE MARKER CHROMATOGRAPHY SCIENCE PROJECT | Schooling a Monkey

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Salt Crystal Hearts: Valentine’s Day Science Experiment for Kids | Schooling a Monkey

VALENTINE’S DAY HOMEMADE BOUNCY BALL | Schooling a Monkey

Valentines Science: Fizzy Exploding Hearts | Preschool Powol Packets

Love Potions Valentine Science Experiment for Preschoolers | Preschool Powol Packets

Pink Volcano Experiment | Teach Me Mommy

Valentine’s Day Science – Magic Milk Hearts | The Science Kiddo 

Simple Science Experiments with Heart Themes | iGame Mom

 




Experiment exploring water properties!

Valentine’s Day Lava Lamp Science Experiment | Schooling a Monkey 

Quick Craft Post: Ice Colour Theory | Red Ted Art

The post 35 Valentine’s Day Science Experiments! appeared first on From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom.

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I thought this year my son could make his teacher a special Valentine’s Day card. I wanted to use some of what we had learned about making a simple circuit from our Tinker Crate boxes. So I found a paper circuit kit, and we set off to make a special card for my son’s teacher!!

Make a Light up Valentine’s Day Card with a Simple Circuit!

I found this paper circuits kit. The kit includes all the materials needed to build a simple circuit, including copper tape, batteries, and lights. Also included is a easy to read and follow guide on how to create simple circuits.






Here’ how we made our super special card for my son’s teacher!

Make a simple circuit

Step 1:  Cut two 9 inch by 5.5 inch pieces of paper

Step 2:  Fold one of the pieces in half lengthwise, and fold the top right corner.






Step 3:  Unfold the top right corner. Using the copper tape and Chibi Lights circuit guide, create the circuit. Leave a space to add the battery and light.**The Chibi Lights circuit guide has great pointers on using the copper tape. Make sure to review their tips before creating your circuit!**

Step 4:  Stick a white light onto the card in the space marked “light” in the last step.  Place the battery in the space shown in the late step, with the negative (-) sign facing up. Bend the upper right corner back over the battery, and secure the battery in place using a large paper clip. Make sure the two ends of the copper wire circuit are touching either the top or bottom of the battery.

You have made a simple circuit for your card!


Decorate Card

Step 5: Fold the unused piece of paper from step1 in half. Open it back up and draw a map of the world on the right half of the paper.

Step 6: Align the page you just drew on with the paper with the circuit on it. Poke a hole in the map where the light is in the circuit.






Step 7: Color the map. Write “You Light Up My World” on the left side of the paper.

Step 8: Glue the two pieces of paper together, making sure the hole lines up with the light in the circuit.

And you’re all done!





I think my son’s teacher will love her special card. What do you think? Do you have any other great card ideas that include simple circuits? I’d love to hear you ideas!

Check out these other great STEM projects!

The Science Behind Melting Crayons
Building Electrical Circuits and Playing with Light
Making Snow at Home when its Hot Outside
Material Science Activity: Building a molecular structure!
Tensile Strength Experiment: Find the Strongest Spider Web!
Rock Painting for Kids using Physics!
Law of Inertia Experiment using a Fidget Spinner!
Center of Mass Fidget Spinner Experiment
Physics for kids with Beyblades

The post Make a Light up Card with a Simple Circuit! appeared first on From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom.

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During winter break, my son and I decided to work on one of his Tinker Crate projects. Many of the boxes we’ve received have involved building electrical circuits, as did the first project we decided to work on. I struggled with understanding circuits in college, so I love how Tinker Crate has enabled my son is able to build simple electrical circuits. He’s already way ahead of where his engineer mom was in college!

Building Electrical Circuits and Playing with Light

Post also contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Please see disclosure for more information.

The first thing we always do when we open our Tinker Crate box is lay everything out, and make sure nothing is missing. I learned this step was very important in every lab I had in college. I’m so glad my son is learning this skill early!


First Electrical Circuit

Next my son opened the blue instruction manual, and read he would be building a crystal, and the beginning of the electrical circuits that would light up the crystal! My son followed the instructions step by step. When he was done with the first set of instructions, he had added the crystal, punched 6 brads through crystal’s base, added tabs to the base, and connected 3 wires to three separate brads on the front side of the box. Because the brads were all made of metal, I could see my son was starting to create electrical circuits, but he didn’t see it quite yet. 



Second Electrical Circuit

The next part of the instructions guided my son on the steps needed to complete the rest of the electrical circuits. At one point the instructions told him to add a resistor in the circuit for each color. When I asked him what a resistor did, he said “Resist flow!” I was so proud he remembered what he learned in another one of his Tinker Crates!

He put most of the connections together on his own, and only needed help adding the resistors because the wires connected to the resistors kept bending.

Lighting the Crystal

Now it was time to turn the crystal on! We set the color to red, and turned on the crystal!

It worked! My son was so excited!

Me: Remember what electricity is?

Son: Yes. The flow of electrons. (Again, something he learned from a previous Tinker Crate project.)

Me: Right! So where do the electrons start from?

Son: The power source, so…the battery pack.

Me: Right again! When the battery pack is turned on, the electrons flow down the black wire, to the long metal ground bar.





Electrons only flow through conductive materials. Metal is conductive, so the electrons flow through the entire length of  the ground bar. What color do we have the crystal set to?

Son: Red.

Me: Right. And is the dial for red the closest or farthest dial from the batter pack wire?

Son: Closest?

Me: Yes! When the electrons reach the closets tab (the red light tab), do they stop?

Son: No! Because the brads are also metal, so the electrons flow through them.

Me: Awesome! The electrons flow through the brad to the front of the baseplate. Since the tabs are also metal, the electrons continue to flow through the tab. When the tab is touching the lower brad on the front of the baseplate, electrons also continue to flow, continuing the electrical circuit.


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Me: Where do the electrons go then?

Son: Back to the back?

Me: Yep! They travel through the brad, to the back of the base. Then they travel up the red wire to the light bulb, and the light bulb turns on!

The electrons then leave the light bulb, and travel through the yellow wire back to the battery pack. The electrical circuit is then complete.

Son: Cool! What happens when we turn on one of the other colors?

Me: The electrons flow through the wires for the other colors, just like they did for the red wires. Why don’t you try for yourself?

Playing with light

He started by first trying blue and green on their own. Then he started combining the different colors to make purple, yellow, and turquoise.






Then he turned all the colors on, and was surprised at what he saw!

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As many households with young kids, we have A LOT of old crayons. For some time I’ve wanted to recycle our old broken crayon by melting them. I had several Ikea rubber ice trays, and with Valentine’s day approaching, I thought we could use our old crayons to make a goody for my sons’ classmates. I found this activity with instructions on melting crayons, and after following the instructions, I had some unexpected results!

The Science Behind Melting Crayons – A Valentine’s Day Science Experiment

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Please see disclosure for more information**

Supplies:

Broken Crayons
Rubber ice tray from Ikea
Meat Thermometer






We followed the instructions just as they were described in the post I found. But instead of combining all the colors, we separated the colors. We were also curious about the melting temperature of the crayons, so I borrowed my husband’s grilling thermometer. I heated up the thermometer tip, and stuck it into the end of a crayon. Sticking the thermometer into the crayon ensure we would be reading the temperature of the melting crayon, instead of the temperature of the oven.

We placed the crayon and thermometer into the ice tray, then placed everything into the oven.






We opened the oven once a minute to check if all the crayons were melted.

But as time passed, we realized it was taking longer than we expected. We started checking every few minutes, and removed the ice try from the oven once most of the crayons were melted. What we pulled out was not what we expected!


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While the red and white crayons were completely melted, the pink crayons were only partially melted. Our results made us think that each color of crayons has a different melting point.

Once the crayons were solid again, we removed them from the ice tray, and noticed the crayons had two layers to them. The top layer was wax, and the bottom layer felt and wrote like chalk.

What happened?

Crayons are made of two ingredients: paraffin wax and color pigment. During the process of heating up the crayons, the two ingredients separate. When two liquids separate, lower density liquid floats to the top. Since the wax is on the top, we know the density of the wax is lighter than the density of the color pigment.

Our results were consistent with each color we created.






Because of our unexpected results, my son and I came up with a list of more experiments we would like to do with our crayons. Here’s the list we came up with:

-Find out how to make crayons without the wax/pigment separation
-Measure the melting points of different pigments such as white, pink, and red
-Find out the density of different crayons

What other crayon experiments can you come up with? I’d love to know your suggestions!

Looking for fun science experiments? Try some of these!

Making Snow at Home when its Hot Outside
Tensile Strength Experiment: Find the Strongest Spider Web!
Halloween Rock Painting for Kids using Physics!
Law of Inertia Experiment using a Fidget Spinner!
Center of Mass Fidget Spinner Experiment
Make an American Flag Using Water Science Experiments
Learning about Friction while Playing in the Snow
Learn about Forces at the Splash Park!
Exploring Energy for Kids: How Are Height and Distance Related?

The post The Science Behind Melting Crayons – A Valentine’s Day Science Experiment appeared first on From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom.

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We don’t get a lot of snow in Texas. About once a year we get either a light dusting, or a horrible ice storm. Last week, Texas actually got snow! Everywhere, that is, except where we live. But I remembered that Dollar Tree had a kit to make snow, so I opened it up and started making snow with my boys.

Making Snow at Home even when its Hot Outside

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

I bought this science kit at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago, so my boys and I opened it up and followed these simple steps to make our own snow!

Step 1: Open packet and make sure nothing is missing. Also, pour 2 ounces of water into a small cup.





Step 2: Pour one spoonful of powder into a small bowl.



Step 3: Pour the 2 ounces of water into the bowl with powder.






Step 4: Watch as the powder grows, and turns into snow!

Step 5: Fluff up the snow using the spoon, and have fun playing with the snow!


The Science Behind it

Such a quick and easy experiment, but how does it work? I had seen this powder before. During my career as an engineer, I worked at a factory that make diapers. Believe it or not, this powder like material is in diapers! At the factory we called it Super Absorbent Material, or SAM for short.

SAM is used to absorb liquids in a diaper. SAM is able to absorb over 10 times its weight, so its really helpful with babies! I told my oldest son that SAM was made out of polymers, a term he recognized from one of his Tinker Crate projects! He remembered polymers were long structures made of molecules linked together in a chain.

When water is added to the SAM, the water moves into the network of polymer chains through a process called osmosis. Osmosis is a process by which molecules move from a more crowded area to a less crowded area. The water moves into the polymer chains because there are no water molecules in between the polymer chains. So because the polymers have no water molecules in between the chains, the water molecules move to those areas. The water molecules then attach (or bond) to the polymer at a hydrogen molecule. This bond is called a hydrogen bond. When water molecules bond to the polymer chains, the SAM powder expands and makes “snow”!


Who knew making snow could teach kids so much about science! From this simple, one dollar kit, my second grader learned about osmosis and hydrogen bonds. While I’m sure he doesn’t completely understand the topics at this point, he will now be familiar with the terminology when he comes across it at school!

Try these Science Experiments!

Exploring Energy for Kids: How Are Height and Distance Related?
Learn about Forces at the Splash Park!
Learning about Friction while Playing in the Snow
STEM in the Kitchen – An Edible Exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
21 Ways to Teach your kids about Forces + Books!
Make an American Flag Using Water Science Experiments
Physics for kids with Beyblades
Center of Mass Fidget Spinner Experiment
Law of Inertia Experiment using a Fidget Spinner!
Tensile Strength Experiment: Find the Strongest Spider Web!

The post Making Snow at Home when its Hot Outside appeared first on From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom.

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My son loves to work on anything my husband does. And something my husband loves to do is woodwork. The two have built several things around out house, including side tables, a sofa table, and some ramps for their remote control cars. My husband has always had a knack for building, and has fond memories of watching his grandpa build when he was a little boy. We both love our oldest son woodworking because it has taught him skills important in engineering.  Besides the obvious lessons about building, he’s also learned important safety practices needed around tools, and personal protection equipment (PPE) practices, such as wearing safety glasses and gloves. He has also learned the importance of communication on a construction site to ensure everyone’s safety.

8 Essential Woodworking Tools for Beginners

Around 10 years ago my husband wanted to start his own wood shop, and buy the essential woodworking tools. Here are the 7 woodworking tools he bought to start:

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

1. Safety glasses and gloves

Safety is important to ensure when working with tools. While safety glasses and gloves don’t build anything, it is of upmost importance to make sure everyone is safe before starting any project.




2. 12″ Miter Saw

My husband has used his miter saw for almost every project he has worked on, including our 24 ft by 20 ft pergola to our 8ft long sofa table. He’s used it to cut 8 inch by 8 inch posts, and 2 inch by 1 inch slats of wood.  A miter saw makes cutting pieces of wood the same length a quick part of building, verses using a hand held tool.

3. Table Saw

A table saw is essential for cutting long strips of wood. Without one, making a long, straight cut is impossible! With a table saw the saw stays in place, while you push the wood against the guide, and into the saw. This table saw can be used on a work table or saw horse, or your can use this table saw that includes a stand.


4. Cordless Drill

Your only alternative to using an electric drill is using hand tools like screwdrivers and ratchets. While hand tools are fine in car maintenance, they are extremely inefficient for woodworking projects. Everything my husband has made would have taken 10 times longer if he had not had an electric drill. He also chose a cordless drill so he did not need to attach his drill to an extension cord when he was already on a ladder building our first pergola. Imagine standing on a ladder 15 feet in the air, and having to worry about where a cord is! Definitely a safety concern. This drill includes a spare battery and charger, so a project does not need to stop once a battery runs out. Just pull one off the charger and get back to work, while the other battery recharges!

5. Square

Most projects require perpendicular cuts from an edge of the wood you’re cutting. A square makes sure you are perfectly perpendicular, instead of approximating. This square also has a ruler on one edge, which helps to mark the wood at the exact same spot going down a piece of wood, which ensures a straight line down the piece of wood.




6. Electric Sander

When my husband started woodworking, he didn’t have very many tools. His first time making a table, he hand sanded the surface to make sure it was smooth. It took him a long and tiring 2 hours. After that he bought an electric sander. Sanding all his projects after that was much quicker, and much less tiring for him!

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I love toys that unintentionally help my kids explore STEM concepts. Unfortunately, many toys advertised as STEM are expensive. But I’ve found 25 Dollar Tree  toys that will spark your child’s interest in STEM, and not totally blow the budget! Wondering what concept their exploring? I’ve also listed the concept or idea children play with for the toys!

25 Dollar Tree Toys for Exploring STEM!

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

Projectile Motion

All three of these toys allow kids to explore the concept of projectile motion. How far should you place the football to kick it through the goal posts? What angle do you through the Shotz ball for it to go the farthest? What happens to the chicken if you shoot it straight into the air? All these are projectile motion questions the three Dollar Tree toys answer.

Finger Sports Game Sets

Silly Shotz Ball Fling Kits

Stretchy Chicken Flings





Building and Exploded View Drawings

Construction, Mechanical, and Civil engineers must understand how things are put together. They need to look at a design, and have an idea of how it will be constructed. The Meccano Bolts kits teach children how to construct cars and airplane using bolts. The wooden kits uses grooves and wood glue to assemble. The My Blox kits uses Lego type blocks to assemble. Three similar toys, with three different ways to put them together. When children explore different ways to assemble their toys, they’re also learning there is more than one way to put something together, which is an important skill to have as an engineer.

Meccano Spin Master Bolts Complete Kits

Wood Craft Project Kits

My Blox Construction Blocks Kits





Problem Solving

Engineers solve problems. A design engineer looks for ways to remove a flaw in an existing design. An industrial engineer looks for ways to make a process more efficient. A project engineer works to find a way for equipment to arrive on time. All engineers need to be critical thinkers. Giving kids puzzles is a great way to build their critical thinking skills! The great thing about these two puzzles is that they are small enough to hold in you hands, instead of puzzles that need to be placed on a table. So kids could really work on their problem solving skills anywhere!

Brain Teaser 3-D Wooden Puzzles

Small 2-Piece Metal Puzzles

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My oldest son just finished studying matter in science. After school I was talking to him about what he learned about matter. I asked him if he had learned what shape the molecules made. He wasn’t sure, and I told him it depended on the type of material. For example, metal molecules arrange differently than plastic molecules. In my material science class in college, we learned about different kinds of molecular structures of metals. I looked around to see what we could use, and found the perfect supplies for a quick material science activity for my son!

Material Science Activity – Building a Molecular Structure

Post contains affiliate links.  For more information please see disclosure.

Supplies: Conversation with my son

Me: Do you know what a metal is?

Him: Yes. Cars and some of dad’s tools are made of metal.

Me: Exactly! Do you remember what you learned about molecules, and where they are?

Him: Yeah. Molecules are in everything!

Me: Right. Everything is made of molecules. Did you know that molecules make special shapes for each kind of material?

Him: Kind of…I remember my Tinker Crate once said something was linked like paper clips

Me: Right! Molecules of polymers, or plastics, link together like a chain of paper clips. Do you know what shape metal bond in?

Him: No.

Me: Well, let me show you!

Body Centered Cubic

Body Centered Cubic is one of the shapes metal molecules form. In this shape, the molecules bond, or stick together, in the shape of a cube, with one molecule in the middle of the cube.

Now, I’d like you to build a Body Centered Cubic molecular shape with the cranberries and toothpicks!

He got right to work, and put the cube together pretty quickly!






But he struggled to find a way to support the the molecule in the middle of cube.

After a word of encouragement from Mom, he figured it out!



Face Centered Cubic is another molecular shape for metals . In this shape, the molecules stick together in the shape of a cube, and have one molecule on each face of the cube.

He removed the center molecule of the cube he just made, and added molecules to all of the faces of the cube.






After he finished building, my son and I talked about our material science activity. We discussed the differences between the two shapes. He noticed that when the molecules were on the face of the cube, there was no molecule in the center of the cube.

I also asked him to compare the metal molecular structure to the polymer structure. He said they’re very different! My response? And metals and polymers also “act” very different because of their very different molecular structures!

Try this activity at home!

Subscribe, and build your own molecular structures at home!

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Interested in other Engineering Activities? See some of my other posts!

Teach your kid to be a Materials Engineer!
Halloween Rock Painting for Kids using Physics!
Law of Inertia Experiment using a Fidget Spinner!
Center of Mass Fidget Spinner Experiment
Physics for kids with Beyblades
Teach your child Newton’s First Law of Motion
Teach your kid to be a Project Engineer!

The post Material Science Activity – Building a molecular structure! appeared first on From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom.

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Whether I’m looking for a Christmas present, or a birthday gift, I always try to give gifts that help kids become interested in Engineering. But I don’t really like giving the standard “STEM” type toys or kits, but always find something that will allow the kid to explore a STEM concept. Many toys, not advertised as  STEM toys, expose kids to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. I love these kinds of toys because first the kid falls in love with the toy, then you surprise them by teaching them the concept behind the toy. Even some toys for toddlers allow young children explore concepts like gravity, energy, and fractions. Here are a list of some of such toys that are great STEM gifts for toddlers.

15 Unexpected STEM Gifts for Toddlers Wooden Bead Maze

I loved playing with wooden bead mazes when I was little. Something about the spins and turns reminded me of  roller coasters I wasn’t allowed to go on with my big sister yet. I pushed the beads up, down, and around for hours, imagining how fun it would to ride a roller coaster someday. What I didn’t realize was that I was also learning about gravity. When I pushed the beads up, I had to use my strength. But as soon as the bead were over the peak, I could just let them go and let gravity do all the work! In the loop the loops, I was exploring centripetal forces as the bead moved in a circular path. Its not always necessary to explain the concepts while kids play with their toys, but when they are older and learning about gravity and centripetal forces, they’ll be able to recall a real life example from their childhood to relate to the concepts.





Mega Bloks Big Building Bag

My toddler loves to play with his big brother’s Legos. But since he’s only 18 months old, he doesn’t really have the fine motor skills needed for small Legos. Thankfully, we have a set of mega bloks, and he’ll sit in the living room for quite awhile, and build just like his brother. It can be a little difficult for him to build on the carpet, so sometimes I’ll also bring out this fire truck for him to build on. The fire truck gives him a firmer base to stack blocks upon blocks upon  blocks. He loves building tall towers, and then knocking them down. I’ve recently learned that knocking structures down is part of toddler development, and is called destructive play! Though it sometimes annoys his brothers when he knocks down their structures, we all love hearing his belly laugh right after he knocks one of his towers down!

Little Tikes T-Ball Set

All three of my sons are love baseball! But did you know that baseball and tball are teaching kids about Newton’s Laws of motion? Newton’s first law of motion states that an object will stay still, unless another force is applied to it. That is exactly what happens in tball! The ball sits on top of the tee, until a bat hits it off. I also love that kids can explore angles by seeing how far the ball goes is they hit it on different parts of the ball. We bought this exact t-ball set for my nephew, and he’s loving it!


VTech Drill and Learn Toolbox

Its important as an engineer to be familiar with the tools used to build the things you design. That is why I love any toy that will teach kids about hammers, nuts, bolts, wrenches, and screwdrivers. My oldest two sons love playing with their take apart dinosaurs and cars. Through play, they both have learned to tighten by turning screws right, and to loosen them, turn screws left. The VTech toolbox teaches children the same concept, plus adds gears in. The simple combination of gears on the box lets children see how all three gears will spin when they only spin one. This exact same concept was used in a diaper plant I worked in as an engineer!


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench Wooden Toy With Mallet

The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench reminds me of one of the first toys we bought my oldest son. I think most of had a similar toy as kids, but I bet you never realized it was a STEM toy. When kids play with a pounding bench, they are learning how to hammer in a nail, without having to hold a nail (and possibly smash a finger!). A critical skill for design engineers is to understand how their ideas will be built. Imagine a design where part of putting it together requires a nail and hammer. Think about how a nail is hammered in. First you pull back your hand holding the hammer, then you hit the nail with the hammer very hard. What if the design didn’t allow for room to pull your hand back? Then you wouldn’t be able to put the item together. But if the engineer remembered how a nail would be hammered, then they would have a completely different design.



Skoolzy Peg Board Set

Every morning when my two-year-olds enter into our class each morning, my lead teacher has various toys set out for the kids to play with. The other day, she brought out a Skoolzy Peg Board Set, a toy I’ve never seen before. I watched as our toddlers kept placing peg on top of peg, until the peg tower finally fell down. One little boy was able to build really tall towers by slowly adding one peg at a time. Each time he added a peg he would make sure the peg was balanced, then find another peg, and slowly add it. Without knowing it, the precious little boy was playing with center of mass, and gravity. When the pegs’ were all aligned, then so were their centers of gravity, so it was just like one peg. But once the tower  leaned, the centers of gravity were no longer aligned, and they fell to the ground. OH and how much all of them squealed when it fell!


LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven

My kids love to help my husband and I cook. They love making eggs in the morning with dad, and baking dessert with me. We also have a small kitchen set that my middle son loves to “make” food for mommy and bring it to me. To be honest, he usually just makes me coffee. The kid knows I love coffee! When I saw the LeapFrog Oven, I thought it would be a great addition to the kitchen set. I love toys that sneak STEM education into playing. The oven not only helps kids with number identification, but also exposes them to simple fractions.




VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Raceway

My sister gave my toddler the VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Raceway for his first birthday. At one he didn’t have a lot interest in it, but my 3 year old did. He would play with it while baby brother just watched. Now that my baby is 18 months old, I thought I would bring it out again, and now he LOVES it! The raceway easily sets up to two elevations. Now my toddler and preschooler can explore energy similarly to the way their big brother did with his hot wheels tracks!

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One of my favorite classes in college was materials science. Materials science is the study of how materials act and why they act that way. Materials Engineers answer questions like “How can I make a jacket that is bullet-proof?” (answer Kevlar, what bullet proof vests are made of), or “I need a light weight, breathable, rainproof jacket” (answer Gore-Tex). My husband had already introduced my son to materials engineering while fixing his remote control car, but I wanted to extend his knowledge a little more. After using physics to rock paint spiders, I had an idea to use the spiders to teach my son about a specific materials science concept; ultimate tensile strength. The ultimate tensile strength of a material is the maximum amount of stress a material can stand before breaking. Think of it this way: Ultimate tensile strength is the maximum force a string can stand before breaking while being pulled in opposite directions. My idea was to explore ultimate tensile strength while finding the strongest spider web material!

Using Spider Webs to Experiment with Tensile Strength!

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Finding the BEST spider web material!

To find the best spider web material, we need to figure out the web material that would hold the greatest amount of spiders. The material that held the great amount of spiders would have the greatest ultimate tensile strength! We decided to try out three materials:

  1. Acrylic yarn
  2. Uncooked spaghetti
  3. Decorative Spider webs
Tensile Strength Experiment

Step 1: Make your spider web with Acrylic Yarn.  Tie the end of the yarn to a knob on a  knitting hat loom. Weave the yarn on the loom, and mark each knob as you wind yarn around them. You will need to repeat the pattern you create for other materials. When you are finished creating the spider web, cut off the yarn and knot the end to the last knob.





Step 2: Place two chairs about 6 inches apart. Suspend the finished spider web by placing an edge of the loom on each chair seat. I also set a pillow under our spider web to soften the blow in-case a spider fell through the web.

Step 3: Slowly add spiders to the web until the web breaks!

Step 4: Make your spider web with Uncooked Spaghetti. Following the pattern created in Step 1, create the same web pattern using uncooked spaghetti. As you place a piece of spaghetti down, carefully tape each end to the loom.

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Step 5: Repeat steps 2 and 3.

Step 6: Make your spider web with Decorative Spider webs. Cut off about 12 inches, and pull the material apart. Drape the material over the knitting loom, making sure to poke the loom knobs through the spider webbing to make it secure.





Step 7: Repeat steps 2 and 3.

Tensile Strength Results Material 1: Acrylic Yarn

We were sure our spiders would break this web, but as we kept adding spiders, the yarn stretched instead of breaking! From our result, we learned that the tensile strength of the yarn was bigger than the weight of all our spiders combined!

Material 2: Uncooked Spaghetti

Our spaghetti spider web broke with only two spiders. Our result taught us that the tensile strength of the spaghetti was lower than the weight of just one rock!

Material 3: Decorative Spider Web

We were certain the spiders would fall through the decorative spider web. Instead, though, the web stretched and stretched, while continuing to coddle the spider.  Once we added a second rock, though, both rocks broke through the web. Our results taught us that the spider web’s tensile strength much smaller than the yarn’s, but about the same as the spaghetti!

Try this experiment at home, and let me know if you get the same results! Can you think of any other material you could use to make a spider web?

Looking for other Halloween Science Experiments? Try one from my other posts!

Halloween Rock Painting for Kids using Physics!

25+ Halloween Science Experiments to do with your Kids!

Or Check other posts by me!

7 Great Construction Engineering Books for Preschoolers!

Law of Inertia Experiment using a Fidget Spinner!

Center of Mass Fidget Spinner Experiment

How to make a Fidget Spinner

Reverse Engineering a Fidget Spinner
Physics for kids with Beyblades

The post Tensile Strength Experiment: Find the Strongest Spider Web! appeared first on From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom.

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