My husband and I own Mad Science of Austin & San Antonio, a company that works with elementary aged children to get them excited about science. Our company provides after-school enrichment classes, shows, STAAR workshops, summer camps and birthday parties. We are also what most people call weekend ranchers. My brother in-law always compares us to the old television show “Green Acres”. He, of course, has no idea of all the things we do on our small “ranch”. We arrive at the ranch most Fridays after work to check on our 8 cows, one bull and any new calves. This weekend was the first weekend of October and the first weekend of fall. The weather was crisp, in the 60’s, and everything was perfect, except we could not find Curly, our bull. Now Curly has been known to visit our neighbor’s cows and so we were worried he had gone visiting. So first thing Saturday morning I saddled up Jango, my horse, and went for a ride to find Curly and any new calves that may have arrived.
Riding a horse is a wonderful time to think. Because I am old (62 years) I thought about October childhood memories. I am one of the few original Austinites still living in Austin. In the summer, we ran free with the real “kids on the block”, bare foot, and going from home to home for snacks, water, and games. Air conditioning was something no one had. My elementary school was Gullett Elementary. We had no air conditioning so October brought cool breezes though our classrooms and homes. October always makes me think of Halloween. In the old days we raided our closets for costumes. My parents never thought of purchasing a costume. We were hobos, witches, and so much more, straight out of stuff we found in our homes.
My thoughts turned to my own children, now grown, and some of the things we did to hopefully create good memories for them. We always let them pick out a pumpkin to carve. Like many boys, our son always wanted the biggest one he could carry. Our daughter, more artistic, wanted one that was the perfect shape. Much time was spent on making the right costume. Sometimes that “costume” required sewing, sometimes we raided Dad’s and Mom’s closet, and sometimes our batman pj’s were just the thing.
Jango and I had a great ride. We found Curly, a new calf that I named “Little Spot” and along with my ride, I had a very nice trip down memory lane. I have learned that making memories with your child is something you will never regret. There will always be something you wish you had done, but the more you do with your child, the less you will regret. We see our adult children almost every day because our lives intersect often. It makes me happy that they want to be a part of our daily life. Holiday traditions help cement the memories of your family even if the time comes when you can’t see them daily.
Add to your child’s memories with as many fun experiences as you can. Because I am a Mad Scientist, I am always thinking of ways to have fun with children and science. Here are some ideas that you can do to include a little science in your child’s October:
1. Remember the baking soda vinegar volcano? Do the same thing except use any jar or mouth container. Put ¼ cup of vinegar into it, add food coloring and a big squirt of dish soap. Dump in 1 tablespoon of baking soda and stir if needed. Be sure you do this experiment in a spill tray or outside to ensure easy clean up. You have made ooze which kids love.
2. How about the game: “Will it float or sink?” Fill a child’s wading pool with water. Take pumpkins of various sizes and make the children hypothesize if they will float or sink.
3. A pumpkin will last longer if it is not cut. Use glow-in-the-dark make up before you cut it to make it have a fun face and a spooky look.
4. Go to Goodwill or a thrift store and look for stuff that will help your child create a unique costume instead of an off-the-rack costume.
5. Tonic water will glow under a black-light. What could be more fun than a glow-in-the-dark drink? You can make tonic water ice cubes or just mix tonic water with a drink such as sprite. Turn on the black-light and watch it glow.
6. Make a dancing ghost with a balloon, piece of tissue paper, and your head of hair. Just cut a small piece of tissue into a ghost shape and place it on a table. Rub the balloon on your head and wave it over the tissue. The ghost will dance in the static electricity created on the balloon.
You may also be interested is watching some of these activities online on KTBC Fox 7 Good Day Austin (http://ow.ly/Cf8Vn). You can watch for Mad Science of Austin every first Wednesday of each month for more science fun when we visit the Fox Good Day Austin team. Many of the things we do on Fox can easily be done at home with your children. Celebrate fall with your children, make memories, but most of all, have fun!
For more information about Mad Science, visit our website http://austin.madscience.org or give us a call at 512-892-1143.