Tot School 36.5mo Twins – E is For Electrical Engineer

I don’t know who had the most fun being electrical engineers for the day.  The answer might be mommy.  We are plugging right along with exploring the letter E and being engineers has gotten the boys ohing, ahing and asking lots of questions.

We started out talking about dad’s job since he’s an electrical engineer.  I’m not sure if they understand that dad doesn’t go to work and play with balloons all day since most of our experiments used balloons today.  We had hoped to go up to his work and see the lightning chamber but it was being worked on so we’ll have to make a special trip at a later time to see that cool visual of electricity.

Our first experiment wasn’t all that exciting, but it helped to show how electricity flows.  I took one of our very small flashlights and let the boys take the battery out of it.  They love taking things apart!  I showed the boys the two different ends in the chamber and I had to remind Lance to keep his fingers out so he wouldn’t bend the coil or break it.  Then we looked at the two ends of a battery.  I had them tell me whether each end was flat or knobby.  Just throwing a bit of language in there too.  I put the battery in the wrong way.  Of-course the battery didn’t work.  I took the battery out and put it in the right way and it worked.  I told them that anytime a battery was used the battery had to be put in a certain way so the electricity could flow.

Next I pulled out the vacuum cleaner.  I had the boys try to turn on the machine with the switch.  Lance said “Why doesn’t it work mommy?”  I love it when kids ask the perfect question for what you’d like to teach them.  I told them that the outlet in the wall had electricity.  So we plugged the vacuum in, flipped the switch and watched it come to life.  I took this opportunity to let the boys clean my living room floor, just learning reinforcement mind you.  I pulled the plug a few times while the boys vacuumed just to make the point of some machines running on electricity.

Now we moved into the fun experiments.  I blew up a red balloon, any color works and almost everyone has a balloon somewhere in the house.  I told the boys we were going to create our own electricity.  I told Lance that I was going to rub the balloon on his head and it would create static electricity.  At first he said he was too scared to let me do it, but eventually he decided I could.  We laughed as each one of us got our hair to stand up.  The boys wanted to get mom’s long hair to stand up but it weighed too much for our tiny bit of static electricity.


Next I poured out a few pieces of chex cereal.  I had a hard time getting the boys to pay attention and not eat the cereal.  Anyone else have kids that just go bonkers over food?  So I rubbed the balloon over James’ head really well and put the balloon down close to the cereal.  Just like magic the pieces stood up on end reaching up towards the balloon.  I’d never done that before.


None of that impressed my electrical engineer husband until our last experiment.  We bent water and he had never done that with a balloon.  Kind of makes me laugh, you can always learn something new.  I took the boys into the bathroom.  I turned on the water to a low, steady stream.  I rubbed my head really well then put the balloon down close to the water.  What do know, the water actually bends and arcs towards the shape of the balloon.  Now that’s cool science.

DSC_1389I didn’t explain all the details of the science because they’re too young for all that.  I did tell them though that it was science at work and not magic that did all those things.  I had fun.  The boys had fun and I think their love for learning increased.


Tot School 36.5mo Twins – E is for Chemical Engineer

We are continuing on this week with the letter E.  Specifically we are exploring engineers.  All types of engineers.  Today we focused on chemical engineers.  Mind you, this is preschool science so no atom splitting going on today but my boys enjoyed the experiments we did.  I’m not expecting a lot of comprehension either.  Rather just instilling a love of learning science, guessing and hearing new words all while having some fun.

I started this morning with handing the boys a pan and letting them fill it up with water and set an egg into it.  I set it on the stove to boil for a hard-boiled egg.  When it was done, we put the egg into a glass bowl.  I poured some vinegar into a measuring cup and let them take turns pouring it over the egg.  I told the boys to watch carefully.  Lots of bubbles started rising off the egg and eventually  the bubbles stopped rising and just settled all over the egg.  I asked the boys to guess at what the vinegar would do to the egg-shell since it was an acid.  At first they both said they didn’t know so I gave them some options to choose from: the egg will harden, the egg will soften, the egg will get rubbery, the water will turn green and the egg will turn black.  James predicted that the egg will harden while Lance guessed that the egg will soften.  I said that the vinegar would react with the calcium in the egg-shell and we would have to wait until Friday to see what will happen.  We put the bowl up on the counter and we will check it everyday until Friday.








Next we made a series of eruptions.  We added something different each time and tried to guess how the eruption would change.


 We started with a drinking glass set inside a shallow pan.  The boys spooned in baking soda and a few color drops in the bottom of a drinking glass.   I gave each of them a measuring cup of  vinegar to pour into the glass.   The first eruption happened fast and overflowed a lot because it was watery and light.



 Then we prepped another drinking glass in the same way as before except we adding a squirt of dish washing liquid to it.  We got a really fast and big overflow that was foamy.



  Lastly we prepped everything the same way again but added some vegetable oil to the mix.  What we got was a slower, more controlled fizz. DSC_1362DSC_1363  There were so many big bubbles that slowly rose to the top and the boys had fun poking their fingers into them and popping them.








For our last chemical experiment, we were going to learn about what makes leaves change color.  We collected our leaves, tore them up, poured rubbing alcohol over it, covered the jar and place it in hot water.  What should have happened was all the color coming out of the leaves making the water a dark green.  Had that happened, we would have continued on in the experiment, but sadly after 2.5hrs all we had was a pale green color.  Oh well, not everything works as planned.  The boys got to have fun and do one of their favorite things, make eruptions.  Tomorrow will be a fun filled engineering day too.

Tot School 36.5mo Twins – Beginning the Letter E

This week we are working on the letter E.  We read the books, Enemy Pie, When the Elephant Walks, An Elephant On my Roof and My Letter “E” Sound Box on Monday.  Today we worked on some letter E science.  I pulled out a carton of eggs.  We gathered around to look at them.  We talked about their color, the feel, the shape and I asked them if eggs were strong.  From past experience with breaking eggs during cooking, they both said that eggs were not strong.  I told them that they just might find that eggs are actually really strong when the weight is distributed out.  Then I set the carton of eggs on the floor.  I helped James step up on the eggs without his shoes on.  We all laughed in amazement as the eggs held him up.  Then he leaned forward and the carton dumped over and with it James smashed a few eggs with his feet.  I cleaned it up and asked Lance if he wanted to stand on the eggs.  He said no, that he was scared. 

DSC_1315  I put all but 4 eggs back in the fridge so we could make our next “E” science project.  We made an egg custard pie.  My boys are getting quite a bit better at breaking eggs into the bowl.  I only picked out a few shell bits this time.   James has learned how to mix without sloshing everywhere.  They are still working on how to correctly measure ingredients out.  Cooking is becoming a favorite thing to do around here.  Not only do we enjoy doing it, but we love to eat our finished product.


Tot School 36mo Twins – Finishing the Letter D

Last week we finished up the letter D.    I  wrote our last name, Davis, on a sheet of paper and let the boys use yellow fingerpaint to trace it.  With a bit of help from me, they did a great job.  I helped them write a short thank you note on it to grandma  for sending gifts.  I asked them to name all the letters in their last name and give me the sounds too.  I was so busy getting it ready to mail to grandma that I forgot to take a picture.  Next we played with dominoes.  The boys have been asking every morning for about a week to play with them.  But instead of just dumping them out and letting the boys do whatever with them, I asked them to guess at how many dominoes would fit into the back of their dump truck.  One of them said 10 and the other said 40.  When we put them all in, 93 dominoes fit before they start dumping out.  After that the boys decided to make roads for their imaginary diesel trains.  They both worked together on the same track and eventually the whole thing covered the living room floor.  We only had two squabbles that got resolved quickly.












Lastly, since we worked with our dump truck and bulldozer to put all the dominoes away, I did a dirt project.  I began by talking to the boys about how bulldozers move the dirt at the construction sites along the freeway that we saw recently.  With all the talk of dirt, I asked them if they wanted to make their own dirt and they both shouted yes.  I took a package of chocolate pudding mix, let James measure and pour milk into the mix and let Lance stir.  Into the fridge it went during nap time.  When they woke up, I let them take a kitchen mallet and crush up oreo cookies in a baggie.  We dumped the crushed cookies on top of the pudding and now we had dirt.  I got a hearty approval of dirt from both boys.


Tot School 36mo Twins – Letter D

We got off to a great start today on the letter D.  We didn’t have to go anywhere and the boys were in a cooperative mood.  We began by reading our “D” Soundbox book and the number 4 book by Jane Moncure.  Then I taped a piece of paper, onto the table, that I had drawn a big letter D on.  I had the boys tell me the name and the sound of the letter.  I explained that we were going to put dot stickers all over the letter D.  The boys weren’t excited about it until they saw the sheet of stickers and realized what we were going to do.  Peeling the stickers off gives the boys some good fine motor skill practice.  I didn’t give them any directions on where to put the stickers.  James stayed neatly inside the D for most of the time while Lance outlined his D with the stickers.  When Lance got to the third sheet of stickers, he decided that he was done with the page and started himself as the paper.  For the rest of the morning someone was putting a sticker on their face or toes or on my nose.  When they ran up to put the sticker on me they would say “Here’s a dot!” and run off laughing.









Last night I cut out a cute little felt dinosaur and made spikes to go with it for some preschool math.  I got the idea from  This morning I grabbed a die out of a game upstairs.  I put the body of the dinosaur on the felt board and laid the spikes out below.  I showed the boys how to roll the die.  James does a  decent shake but then he likes to pick out his number and show it to everyone.  Lance rubs the die between his palms before he throws it down.  We’ll have to do a bit more practice on the proper dice rolling technique.  Whatever number it lands on, that’s how many spikes you put up on the dinosaur’s back.  The boys both loved it.  Lance wanted the spikes put nice and even on the dino but James was fine with the spikes on the back, on the body itself and sometimes hanging out in the air.  That was a bit of role reversal.















We read a few of our books on dinosaurs then I talked about archaeologists and paleontologists and how they dig for dinosaur bones buried deep in the ground.  So I set up their own dinosaur bone dig sensory bin.  I dumped out 3 bags of red beans and threw in a handful of dog bones.  I mixed it all up and the boys were so excited to jump right in.  They quickly found the bones, asked to do it again, asked for a third time then they got crazy.  James started throwing the beans off the table and laughing wildly which got Lance started in on the throwing.  I told them it was ok to throw them but they would have to do all the cleanup before we did anything else.  So throw and laugh they did.  They also picked up every single bean.  They used brooms, dump trucks, bulldozers and their hands to get all the beans.  I have to say it was mighty creative in the cleanup.


Tot School 36mo Twins – Letter B

This last week we worked on the letter B, as in almost everything bombed.  Well, we really did learn the letter B and I had to laugh because most of what we tried did not work.  Thank you pinterest!  So here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the week.

Monday was the worst.  Five failed science experiments.  I was excited beginning the day.  The boys and I made the homemade bubble recipe with pipe cleaner wands, which didn’t produce a single bubble.  We made the bouncy  bubble recipe so the bubbles wouldn’t pop, but they did immediately upon touching.  Then we made another solution of bubbles that we poured into a small swimming pool, added a hula hoop and tried the tunnel bubble up over the kids.  All we managed was getting the tube bubble up about 4″ from the bottom of the pool.  By this time I called off the bubble making.  We went inside to try our hand at making a homemade bouncy ball.  The boys measured and poured and mixed until we had a big green stiff blob, that neither bounced or stayed in a ball shape.  Being the go getter type, we charged ahead and tried to make the bubble art on paper.  I added blue tempera paint color to the soap and my boys had a ball blowing huge mounds of bubbles.  When we pressed the paper to it, the blue paint didn’t show up.  At this point I was frustrated so I did the only thing that I knew would work, we made brownies from a box.

The next day we did some easier things relating to the letter B.  We read “My B sound Box” book by Jane Moncure.  Her math and alphabet books are really good.  We also read “The Three Little Bears.”  Then I pulled out an art project.  It didn’t really bomb, but it didn’t turn out cool looking like the one on pinterest.  I took several sheets of card stock and folded them in half,  I placed 2-3 blackberries inside the folded paper and let the boys bang their hammers and hands on the berries.  When we opened up the paper, the resulting splat image should look neat, but ours didn’t and the seeds and pulp stuck to the paper so it was hard to scrape off.  While the art wasn’t much to look at, my boys loved hammering away and got carried away with saying “SPLAT!!!!!”  They said spat throughout the rest of the week.











Wednesday morning was spent coloring a letter B and then we talked about bugs.  I pulled out a bag of spiders for us to play hide and go seek with.  Lance grabbed the bag and flung them everywhere.  I tried to go with it but then when he got the first three spiders he stuffed them in his mouth, ran around like crazy and refused to take them out of his mouth.  So the bugs went away quickly.  Next I tried to make a sticky spider web to catch some bugs.  Not the best thought out plan on my part.  I grabbed a roll of painters tape.  I was trying to use the fireplace mantle and the train table below to make a spider’s web with the sticky side of the blue tape facing outward.  The tape kept curling up, falling off and getting tangled, all while my boys kept running around me like I was a May pole or something.  After some frustration, the web was up.  We talked about how a spider catches bugs in its web for food.  So I wadded up some paper balls to use as our bugs and I let the boys throw them at the web.  The paper wasn’t sticking to the tape.  All it did was bounce off in the floor.  The boys thankfully didn’t care.  They had fun throwing anyways.  Lesson for today, spiders don’t get to eat much around our house and spiders usually don’t leave as big of holes in their webs.


Our last day of attempting B activites did slightly better.  I had seen some fun balloon painting art.  So I poured out some paint and blew up two small balloons.  When I gave them to the boys, they each promptly bit a hole in the balloons.  I tried it again and Lance popped it again so there went that project.   I was able to redeem the week with one last science project.  I took a funnel and poured a small amount of baking soda into two balloons.  I filled an empty bottle 2/3rds full of vinegar.  I carefully stretched the balloon neck over the bottle top.  I let each boy take his balloon and pull it straight up so the baking soda would dump down into the vinegar.  From the reaction, a gas builds up and blows up the balloon.    At first Lance was all interested in doing the balloon project while James ran around saying he didn’t want to do it.  When Lance’s balloon was inflating he stared at with a blank face and walked away while James came running over yelling it’s getting bigger.  What I should have done was explained a bit about the experiment, but by this time I was just plain tired and that ended our letter B week.











Well, things did not go as planned this week, but the boys did learn about the letter B.  This morning before I started on the letter C we did a quick review of A  and B.  The boys both recognize the upper and lower case as well as they have the right sound it makes.  That is what matters so while the activities were not up to par, I take heart knowing that my boys are learning.  So when you are having a bad day or week, remember that it’s not all a lost cause.