Getting messy with it: science for sceptics



In the blink of an eye, the Easter holidays are looming large (this blog has really hammered home the incredible speed of passing time - weeks seem to disappear!).  The seeds we planted at the time I last wrote are now little plants, the allotment is officially ours (gulp), my girl is on her last legs with end of term tiredness.  There have been Easter bonnets, and dog walks without coats on, the crocuses are out, the farms have lambs, I have turned 36 and we are starting to receive chocolate from all activities/teachers/people that come over.  It's a good time of year!

Something cool I have been meaning to recommend is a bit of kid science.  Father Christmas gave Nancy a kit for Christmas (I THINK he might have got it from Amazon, though - don’t want to give away his secrets) and it has provided us with hours of entertainment.  I was crap at science at school - couldn’t get my head round it at all, and therefore just really couldn’t generate any level of interest in it. Give me a pack of crystals, some kitchen towel, some food dye and a 5 year old, though, and it turns out I am in my element!  The one we have got is the Rainbow Lab by Galt, but I will definitely be investing in some others in the future. The crystals are brilliant (and justify the goggles so absolutely worth it), but actually it is the really basic stuff that had us oohing and ahhing (take a piece of filter paper - £3.99 for a pack of 350! You won't regret it - scribble along the bottom with a felt tip - any colour, but purple and black were the coolest I think - tuck it in to a bottle of water, and watch the colours separate up the paper to create a rainbow of all the elements of the base felt tip.  It's very cool!), and so I also bought 101 Brilliant Things for Kids to do with Science from the good old Book People and I am definitely going to try a few more basic things like that over the holidays. That is an extremely long sentence, I know, but hopefully you stuck with me until the end.

For anyone on Instagram, I hope you have already discovered The Dad Lab.  He is a guy with two (very sweet) sons that do cool experiments and crafty type science and they have given me some good inspiration for things to do on rainy days with the kids over the last year, usually with stuff that you have lying around the house.  I have also signed up for a free trial of a Toucan box (, describe themselves as a flexible subscription box encouraging crafting, creativity and learning in children) pre-Easter, so I will let you know how that goes. If anyone has experience of them and would recommend them as a fixture in our house, please do let us know!

I can't actually believe that I haven’t included The Pirate Cruncher by Johnny Duddle as a book recommendation yet.  It has been SUCH a key book in our house for a year now, and not a week goes by where we don’t read it (and listen to it in the car) at last twice.  It's SO good. I can't even really tell you what makes it so great, because it's all about the twist at the end, which makes you go back over the whole book and see it from a completely different angle.  My daughter loves it (nearly) as much as my pirate-obsessed son. We also love The Pirates Next Door by the same author (and a sequel has just come out!). They are good books, for pirates and land-lubbers alike. 

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