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Teabag Ghosts

witchy tea















These teabag ghosts really fly high when conditions are perfect.

What you need:

  • Teabag with a string and label
  • Non-flammable plate
  • Scissors
  • Lighter or match

What to do:

Remember – always ask an adult for help with matches and don’t do this experiment near any flammable materials.

  1. Remove the staple, label and string from the teabag.
  2. Pour the tea out.
  3. Unfold the teabag.
  4. Turn the teabag into a cylinder.
  5. Draw a ghost face.
  6. Stand the ghost on one end on a plate. Make sure it’s on a flat surface.
  7. Use a lighter or match to set the top of the teabag cylinder on fire.

teabag ghost burning

What happens? You should see the ashes of the teabag fly into the air!

What’s Going On?

When you light the top of the teabag, the air inside the cylinder heats up. When air molecules heat up, they move around more and more and take up more space. As they spread out, the air inside the cylinder becomes less dense. The air around it is more dense. Warm, less dense air gets squeezed up above cool, dense air.  As the warm, less dense air rises, it has enough force to lift the ash of the teabag straight up into the sky.

teabag ghost

Sizzling Summer S’mores in a Pizza Box Solar Oven

BBQ hot day

Harness the power of the sun to cook. It doesn’t take much to make your own portable camp oven. All you need is a pizza box, some tin foil, plastic wrap and a sunny day to get cooking

















What You Need:

  • 1 large size pizza box
  • Several feet of aluminum foil
  • 1 sheet black construction paper
  • 2 1/2 feet of clear plastic wrap
  • 4 feet of masking tape
  • 2 feet of string
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Ruler
  • Marker

What You Do:

  1. Open up the pizza box.
  2. Glue aluminum foil –shiny side up– to all inside surfaces of the box–except the top. Close the box.
  3. On the outside area of the top flap of the pizza box measure 1 inch from the edge on all sides and draw a square.
  4. Have a grownup help you cut along three lines of the square, leaving the fourth line along the box’s hinge uncut.
  5. Then fold open the flap, making a crease along the fourth line
  6. Open the box and glue aluminum foil to the inside surface of the top flap.
  7. Be careful to make as few wrinkles as possible in the foil, and smooth out whatever wrinkles occur.
  8. Tape the black construction paper to the inside bottom of the box. (This will help to absorb the incoming sunlight.)
  9. Carefully stretch the plastic wrap over the opening of the box, sealing the edges with tape to seal the air in.
  10. Cover any air leaks around the box edges with tape. Make sure the box can still be opened, so you can place food inside the box and remove it later.


To cook stuff:

  1. Go outside in the sunlight and place oven on a flat, level surface. This really works only on sunny days at peak sunlight hours—from 9-3 are best.
  2. Place your s’mores in the oven.
  3. Use string and masking tape to tie back and adjust the flap so that sunlight is reflected into the oven.
  4. Let your s’more cook, and check the angle of the flap once in a while to make sure the sunlight is getting inside the oven. Watch your food is get melty and
  5. When it looks good, take it out and enjoy your solar s’more!



Fern Smash T-Shirt

fern Here’s a fun project to do with the kids to make a memorable t-shirt. Collect leaves while hiking and then use them to make art.


What You Need

  • hammer
  • thin piece of cardboard (not corrugated)
  • Fresh fern or leaf (NOT poison Ivy!)
  • T-shirt
  • paper towel


What You Do

  • Put a piece of cardboard inside your T-shirt so the stain won’t soak through to the back.
  • Place the leaves on your shirt in whatever design you like.
  • Place a couple of paper towels over the ferns
  • Carefully hammer over the whole fern. You have to hammer the complete design or it won’t show up on your T-shirt.
  • When you’re finished, remove the paper towels and lift off the ferns.
  • Keep it out of direct sun. The sun will fade the design.
  • When you get home, toss the shirt in the dryer for 10 minutes to set the design.


What’s Going On?

You’re making a grass stain! When you hit the leaf with the hammer, the cells break open and the green pigment, chlorophyll, leaks onto your shirt. Plants need this green chemical to make sugar with sunlight. It’s amazing. Plants are the only things that can create their own food from the sun.

Lucky for us, it stains! We can use the color to make prints on cloth or paper.


Try it!



Want more fun things to do outside? Check out my book Camp Out! Then go out and have fun!


How can you keep your flowers from wilting? Science! That’s how.

flowers mom



Using stuff you probably already have around the house you can make a great flower preservative and keep those blossoms around a lot longer.

What you Need

  • Water
  • Fresh cut flowers
  • 2 cups lemon lime soda such as Sprite or 7-Up
  • A tablespoon of bleach.

What you Do

  1. Trim your flower stems with a sharp knife—a fresh cut helps the flowers pull fluids up.
  2. Put the soda and the bleach in your vase and fill the rest with water.
  3. Place your flowers in and enjoy!

What’s Going On?

The secret to a good cut-flower preservative is in the solution. It needs to hydrate the flowers, feed the flowers and kill off any bacteria that will cause decay and wilting. The bleach acts as a disinfectant killing bacteria that may be hanging around on the flower stems or even on the inside of the vase. The soda is slightly acidic and that helps prevent new bacteria from growing and taking hold.

Extract DNA from a Kiwi!

many-momsDNANothing says Mother’s Day science more than DNA, right? Why not take that fruit salad you serve to mom for Mother’s Day brunch and do a little science and see DNA. You can pull the long molecules out of all kinds of fruit. And while you won’t see the actual ladder-twisty molecule up close, these molecules are so, so, so long that you can actually see the strands!You don’t have to be a geneticist. You don’t need a microscope. It’s easy, fun, and all you need are some household materials.









What you need

  • kiwi
  • Zip-lock bag
  • Small jar or glass
  • Water (1/4 cup)
  • Dish soap (2 teaspoons)
  • Salt (1/4 tsp)
  • Coffee filter
  • Tall thin Glass
  • Isopropyl alcohol (chilled)
  • Spoon

What you doDNA_from_kiwi_from_www_stagesofsuccession_com

  1. Cut a kiwi in half and squeeze the insides into a Zip-Lock baggie.
  2. Seal the bag and squish it until it’s mush.
  3. Place the water, salt and soap in a small jar or glass and stir gently. This is your dismantling solution.
  4. Pour the dismantling solution into the baggie with the kiwi and zip it shut.
  5. Mix the contents well.
  6. Place a coffee filter over the tall thin glass.
  7. Pour the contents from the baggie into the filter and let it drip. This separates all the solids.
  8. Add about an inch of chilled isopropyl alcohol to the solution by pouring it onto a spoon that you’ve lowered into the glass. (This helps to keep it from getting jumbled. The alcohol should float on top.
  9. Can you see how there is a separation of white “stuff” atop the rest of the solution? That’s the DNA of the kiwi

What’s going on?

The long thick fibers you see in the extraction solution are strands of kiwi DNA. DNA is present in every cell of all plants and animals and determines the genetics of the individual organisms.

DNA comes packed into tiny pouches called nuclei. These are small organelles in every cell. They are surrounded by a tough membrane. The cell itself is surrounded by a tough membrane. Mashing up the fruit in a plastic baggie will not break through the membranes. That’s where the “dismantling” solution comes in. Each ingredient in the solution does a job. The soap helps to dissolve the fat that makes up cell membranes. The salt breaks up protein chains that hold nucleic acids together, releasing the DNA strands. Finally, DNA floats in isopropyl alcohol, especially when the alcohol is ice cold.

DNA is everywhere! It’s the blueprint of every living thing. Try it with other fruits. Strawberries work well, bananas and blackberries, too.