a peek inside the fishbowl

24 Sep, 2012

A bit about some squishy marble things

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Oh! Things!

My spare time has been filled with shopping for our reno. There is still so much to do. This past week it was about lighting fixtures. We have almost everything we need, including an amazing ceiling fan we picked up from a store called Northern Fan.

Sidebar: Twitter rocks.  We wouldn’t have known about this shop otherwise!

We do however, need something for our dining room. Sadly Mark and I can’t seem to agree on anything. Gah.

Anyway, I need to focus on other things before my brain explodes. Things like squishy marbles.

These came from a test-tube science kit we picked up at Tag Along Toys in Kanata. (Tag Along is a Fishbowl patron and we are big fans of this great little store.)

The test-tube science kits are all pretty cool. I like them because they give us an opportunity to do something a little different with the kids.

This particular one was called Garbled Marbles, and I believe the package said something about expanding polymers. (It’s up to you if you really want to use these to illustrate basic scientific principals but we totally glossed over it.)

The girls followed the instructions and set it all up themselves. It was pretty easy. All they had to do was put the tiny multicoloured pellets in a large bowl of water. When we checked in on them a few hours later we realized they’d expanded – a lot.

garbledmarbles-bowlfull

Some of them were totally transparent too – totally invisible if they were separated and placed in a glass of water. And oh, it was so neat to run my hands through these gummy-like slippery things:

garbledmarbles-mixing

It’s the perfect thing for kids who are super sensory. (Er, as long as they don’t eat them of course.)

Even cleaning up was kind of fun. We admired them for a couple of weeks and eventually decided to strain them and lay them out on a tray to let them dry. (New science lesson in evaporation!) When they had returned to their original state we decided to see how many we could fit on a quarter, just for fun:

garbledmarbles-cleanup

And the best thing? They’re reusable too. Cool eh?


6 Responses to "A bit about some squishy marble things"

1 | Brenda A.

September 24th, 2012 at 11:51 am

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This is so neat! I want this for Christmas! Er, I will see if my girls would like it for Christmas. Neat find and right up our alley. Ba-boom ching! “Alley”. Anyone?

2 | Ross Brown

September 24th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

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My kids have these things. I’m finding glasses of water all over the house, filled with these balls.

It’s driving me crazy!

3 | Marianne

September 24th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

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My girls and I saw these demonstrated at a storytime at Chapters this summer and were able to take home a very small sample bag. My 4 year old really enjoyed the experience of watchiing them grow, and the secosry experience of feeling them. Sadly, I shoudl have laid them out on a try or soemthing to dry rather than just drain the water from the bowl. They shrank back up, but got a little mouldy, as I think there was just a little too much excess moisture. The completely transparent one was definitely a hit!
I’ll have to look into the kit, and see if it would be appropriate for my daughter’s upcoming 5th birthday.

4 | Marianne

September 24th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

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My girls and I saw these demonstrated at a storytime at Chapters this summer and were able to take home a very small sample bag. My 4 year old really enjoyed the experience of watchiing them grow, and the secosry experience of feeling them. Sadly, I should have laid them out on a try or soemthing to dry rather than just drain the water from the bowl. They shrank back up, but got a little mouldy, as I think there was just a little too much excess moisture. The completely transparent one was definitely a hit!
I’ll have to look into the kit, and see if it would be appropriate for my daughter’s upcoming 5th birthday.

5 | Mary @ Parenthood

September 24th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

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Cool!!! Clearly need to go shopping

6 | Lucy

September 26th, 2012 at 11:09 am

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Can also report one call to telehealth and the poison control centre…..oh so tempting for little ( & not so little) ones. My daughter reported that they looked so much like candy that she couldn’t help but touch one to her tongue and then it “slipped” down.

The concern is that they continue to expand in moist environments…..everything passed but we were on the lookout for 48 hours to ensure that it didn’t block the pipes;)

( …and yes she was older than the recommended age and she was being closely superivised….these things happen in the blink of an eye)

We’ve since given them as presents but only in families where everyone is 5+.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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