This book by Mike Adamick was my father’s day gift from Avisha, my 4 year old daughter. [This was my wife’s idea, of course.] I was thrilled to get it. Anything that would build an interest in my daughter(s) in science was definitely worth it. Unsure of whether it was appropriate for a 4 year old, I skimmed through the contents and the first few experiments. My first thoughts were that the experiments were definitely going to be interesting and fun to conduct. Following are my impressions at the end of three of the 30 experiments with my daughter.
The book classifies 30 experiments into 5 different chapters/categories/sections - Chemistry (6), Biology (6), Physics (9), Planet Earth (4), and lastly, the Human Body (5). In addition, there is an introduction and an introductory chapter on the scientific process. For each experiment, Mike gives us a brief of what it is about, describes the phenomenon it exemplifies, what the result of the experiment is and why that result occurs. He then lists the items required to conduct the experiment and then describes the procedure to use. He writes each of these elements in an easily understandable manner without getting into unnecessary scientific jargon. Note that the objective of the book is to make science fun for children and not to synthesize the scientific literature behind these experiments.
Till date, my daughter and I have completed three experiments - floating grape (chemistry-2), colored leaves (biology-1), and soap clouds (chemistry-1), in that order. (See pictures below.) Of the three, the one my daughter immediately fell in love with was the soap clouds study. I suppose it was because it was the only one (among the three) that showed results within a minute. And it was really cool to microwave a bar of ivory soap… believe me. We have two more bars to show to Avisha’s friends. The colored leaves experiment took the longest… few days. It gave me an opportunity to talk to my daughter about the importance of patience in science/discovery. The result of this experiment wasn’t as neat as Adam’s picture suggested, but nevertheless, it was fun. Lastly, the floating grape experiment did require a lot of sugar. I suppose the next step would be to try that with other types of liquids with different densities.
To sum, I am glad I have Adam’s book to share with my daughter. She is very excited at the prospect of doing an experiment any time I tell her that we are ready for one. She used words and phrases like “wow” and “the most awesome thing ever” to describe the soap cloud experiment and others. She’s 4 years old. I doubt she’ll remember why the experiments work, but she’s likely to remember the coolness of what she’s doing. It also gives me an opportunity to redo many of these experiments with her. And, she has to do them with her little sister as well in a couple of years.