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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

E-mail Cheryl Bac

About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Indoor Fun Part 1

Uploaded: Feb 2, 2019
It’s easy to take the Bay Area’s gorgeous weather and clear air for granted. When we first moved here I remember remarking that “it is a beautiful day” over and over again. After 6 years I’ve stopped commenting so much on the gorgeous weather and, sadly started taking it for granted. But, sometimes it is too smoky or too rainy to go outside. Here are some recent science experiments that we tried out when we were stuck indoors:

1. Water xylophone: Find 2 chopsticks and some glasses. Fill each glass with a different amount of water, and you have a xylophone. While my kids enjoyed this activity, I prefer listening to them play on our keyboard. Reminding them to strike the breakable glasses gently took a lot of the fun out of the activity. If they want to repeat it, we’ll use something studier, like mason jars.



2. Salt pendulum: This one took a bit of time to set up. And it didn’t have as big of a wow factor as I had hoped, most likely because we’ve seen the pendulum snake and sand graph at the Exploratorium. However, there is something about tweaking and improving the pendulum when you make it yourself- how far should you swing the pendulum back, how high and how fast should you make the salt fall, and how should you put the sand back in the cup to easily repeat the experiment again and again.



3. Hair dryer and ping pong balls: This simple activity was a hit. Our kids love the floating foam pieces at Curiodyssey, so I can’t believe it took me 6 years to do this activity at home. So simple, yet so much fun to see what keeps the balls floating and what makes them fall.



4. Tea bag rocket: When I saw this online, I realized it may not be an ideal indoor activity. However, when it is too dark or cold outside, it is a very simple and very impressive 5 minute experiment. And, if you drink tea, you probably have everything needed right in your kitchen.



5. Cup tower: Can you make a tower of cups strong enough to hold a person? Our youngest especially loved this project as she was able to stand on top of the tower and be the tallest kid in the room.

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