WHAT IS IN THE SURFACE TENSION BOX?
We recently learned about force and tension in the Kiwi Crate Push and Pull box. This time we learn about a different type of tension – surface tension! Ever wonder why water soaks into some materials but pools on top of others? Well, water droplets are pretty sticky and they most like to stick to each other – especially on a surface like wax paper that is water resistant. That ‘stickiness’ is also at it’s strongest on the surface – which is why insects like water striders can delicately move across it.
Kiwi Crate’s Surface Tension box comes with materials for four experiments:
BUILD A BLOB
Liquid watercolours in primary colours are provided along with water resistant wax paper and a stirring stick. When you squeeze the watercolours onto the wax paper, instead of dissolving into the paper – they sit on top and make blobs! You can make small blobs, big blobs, and baby blobs. You can move blobs by herding them with your stick. You can merge blobs and watch the colours change to orange, green, purple, or ‘muddy mix’. The fun science magazine comes with kid friendly infographics to explain why when you drag one water droplet, its friends want to stick together and come along.
MAKE A WATER MAZE
This activity reminded me a little of wooden mazes and steel ball bearings that we played with as kids – twisting, turning, and tilting, to try and guide the ball to the centre of the maze. This brings a whole new level to the game while teaching us about science. The maze that you build combines water absorbent walls with a water resistant floor. It is a fun challenge and the secret is definitely patience (and slow movements!).
MAKE A WATER ELEVATOR
So, when we were learning about (cable) tension, we built a toy elevator. This time, we’re kind of making an elevator for water and it works because of that principle of water being ‘sticky’. Cool Science Experiments have a great visual demonstration; KiwiCo simplify things by providing a kid friendly kit. We have tested this with friends and it’s a ‘magic trick’ that does not fail to entertain and amaze! It is important that you remember to soak the yarn (water follows water) and that you keep a careful eye on tension + pour speed. Have some towels handy just in case you need to mop up spills.
MAKE YOUR OWN WATER STRIDER
I shared a video at the start of the post about water striders – excitingly, you get to make your own! You get a bunch of wires that you can crimp and then use to make a water strider. You can also experiment with making shapes to float on the top of the water. What gets a bit tricky, is that your insect’s legs and feet need to be balanced on the surface; if the angles are not quite right then they will pierce the surface tension and potentially drag part of your insect under the water. If you’re struggling a big with the water strider, try using the dipper to gently place a needle or paper clip on the surface.
Want more ideas for learning about surface tension?
HOW DO I ORDER KIWI CRATE?
This is not a paid review. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find out more information about the Kiwi Crate and Atlas Crate boxes before deciding to try them and found the blog posts / photos that people shared were really useful!
If you would like to try Kiwi Crate (or one of their other lines), you can receive 50% off your first box by clicking here.
What I like about the Kiwi Crate kits is that they use a combination of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics to explore a concept or idea. There’s no obligation to sign-up in an on-going capacity so it’s easy to tie them in with birthdays / Christmas; the boxes are quite compact so they also store easily in a cupboard for bringing them out on a rainy day. Mind you, this only works if you spot the package on the door-step first – children become quite adept at recognising the green Kiwi Crate box and screaming with delight at it’s arrival!
The boxes are sent randomly so there’s no way to know what will come in the future; however, you can log-in to your account at the start of each month to see what box has been selected. Your box history is kept which means that even if you cancel and then pick-up again the following year they can make sure that you aren’t sent repeats of boxes.
WHAT IS IN A KIWI CRATE?
The Kiwi Crate is aimed at ages 5-8 years. It comes with a copy of the Explore magazine which opens with a fun comic about Steve the Kiwi and his friends. [As a side note, these are made by an American company despite the use of our New Zealand native bird]. These comics are really approachable for younger kids and a great way of exploring the concepts being introduced in a relateable manner.
The Explore magazine provides a range of information on the topic, it might include some simple games or tricks to try at home, and provide ideas for additional crafts / activities using simple materials. It also has a sticker [unique to each box theme] to put on your Kiwi Crate chart.
The box also includes an instruction manual and the materials that you need to build the main craft. Generally, there are two activities to do – one that is more art related, and one that is more mechanical engineering. What makes the kits special, is how well crafted the engineering components are. They really are designed for the intended age group so that they can either build themselves or help assist an adult. There are handy visual images and checkpoints to make sure that things are aligned correctly. There is no super-bonding-fingers-together wood glue to use with these projects (which makes them great for highly sensory children); instead parts come with double sided tape finely engineered on so that you just need to remove the backing strip of paper.
INTERESTED IN MORE HOMESCHOOL BOX REVIEWS?
Discover the World with ATLAS Crate
Explore STEM with Kiwi Crate