The hot summer activity in our house right now is this science kit and color mixing kit that the kids got from their aunt and uncle for Christmas. It’s all been in storage pretty much since December because science is messy and mom wasn’t willing to keep mopping up all the puddles of water, so when it reemerged last week everyone was ecstatic.
It’s interesting because we’ve bought them a ton of water toys before. They have a water table, a little pool with lots of floating boats, a cooking set for playing outside, a doctor set for playing outside, and variations on things that squirt water. This science kit has definitely trumped all previous water toys. Stomped them into the ground. They can do this for an hour a day every day, with very slight variations. Today it was glitter and a little dish soap. Tomorrow it might be baking soda and vinegar or we might go old school and just stick with blades of grass and a little dirt. Food coloring, Jello, shampoo, oil, corn syrup, fizzy bath salts…it’s all kind of secondary to the fact that they get to pour things in and out of test tubes and beakers.
My kids are very into science, both in activities and in outings (think museums and natural phenomena) but I don’t think it’s a personality thing. I think science is an age equalizer. By doing hands on experience that create changes in the world around them, kids get to do exactly what adults do all the time. It’s easy to forget how interesting every little experiment is for them. You and I know what would happen if you take a little glitter and dish soap and swirl it around, but the kids don’t really know. Will it keep swirling? Will it settle? Will the dish soap separate and rise to the top? Does glitter float? It’s all fascinating.
And messy. And shiny. Extra points for that.