An illustration of a bird, an molecule, and a magnify glass


An illustration of a pencil, a paint brush, a paint tube, and a succulent
Fun things to do at home, including science and art activities --and the books they connect with
THe Ellie Mcdoodle Diaries Book Cover

Backyard Book Club: Ellie McDoodle Overview

For this month’s meeting, the kids read The Ellie McDoodle Diaries: Have Pen, Will Travel. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) We started with a double art activity, learning to draw Ellie (the kids were really good at this!) and learning to keep a sketch journal.  Then it was time for a science activity. We […]

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Kids outside

Backyard Book Club: Sketch Journal

Our Backyard Book Club read The Ellie McDoodle Diaries: Have Pen, Will Travel…so of course we had to learn how to start our own sketch journals! The first thing we tried was drawing Ellie from the step-by-step instructions in the book. (If you look closely at the photo above, the Ellie on the whiteboard was drawn […]

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Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans book cover

Backyard Book Club: Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms Overview

For this month’s meeting, the kids read Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms. It was a little longer than our previous picks, so we made sure everybody knew they could still come even if they hadn’t finished. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) Our book trivia challenge took the form of Beech Road Bingo (click for printable) where […]

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Kids learning Magic

Backyard Book Club: Magic Show

The most popular activity at Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms Backyard Book Club meeting was definitely the magic show and lesson. The kids were impressed with my meager magic skills and loved learning all the tricks themselves!  There are tons of great resources for learning magic tricks online, but we started with the very basics. We learned classic tricks like The Jumping Rubber […]

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Liquid Chromatography: Separating Plant Pigments

n this week’s book, Gianna had to identify lots of leaves for a school project. We’re going to learn about leaves too with this awesome chromatography experiment by ecologist Heather Hawke. Take it away, Heather! Have you ever wondered why leaves turn color in the fall? They don’t really switch colors – some of those yellows and […]

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Created By: ecologist Heather Hawke

Inspired By: The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z

Apple Experiment

Apple Science

In this week’s book, Sierra got in big trouble when she brought her mom’s lunch bag by mistake because there was a knife in it. The knife was probably there so Sierra’s mom could cut her apple right before she ate it so it wouldn’t go brown. Do you agree? Let’s see if we can come […]

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Recycled Paper
Environmental Science/Chemistry

Making Recycled Paper

In one of my favorite scenes of Ida B (this week’s book), Ida B’s dad tells her that they need to take care of the Earth. One of the best ways to do this is by recycling! Let’s make our own recycled paper to help take care of the Earth just a little. Materials: newspaper water aluminum […]

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Inspired By: Ida B

Homemade Gears
Physics/Mechanical Engineering

Homemade Gears

In this week’s book, some of the characters had body parts made of tiny, intricate gears. Today we’ll make our own gears and learn a little about how they work! Gears are wheels that turn each other. To start out, make some wheels by cutting different size circles in cardstock. (We traced ours from the bottom of […]

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Inspired by: Goblin Secrets