Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sweet way to introduce science - for less than $5

Science gifts for kids. Easy. There are scores of them on the internet, at children's museums and educational stores.

Ones under $5 that's not simply a piece of plastic junk? That's a different story.

Last week, we had the challenge of picking a school-age kid for the daycare gift exchange. We had a $5 limit, per our sitter's decision. And because of the way our schedule falls, I'd never met this child in my life.

She was eight and liked science. And that's all I had to go on.

I figured it'd be easy to find something science-oriented with a quick internet search and a jaunt to store, right? Wrong. The cheapest thing I could find was in the $15-20 range, and even from the web photo, it looked like it would break.

My solution? Hit the science fair project circuit.

After a quick search, I stumbled on a great website - There I found a project perfect for a wintery afternoon: Using chemistry concepts to create marshmallows. I printed the directions and packed the dry ingredients in a decorated shoebox. Ready to go, in less than 10 minutes and fewer than five dollars.

Yes, science is sweet. I just hope her parents can forgive me for the mess!