It was New Year’s with two little ones, so naturally we were in need of some glitter. I was planning to make snow globes with the girls for Christmas, but the we got sidetracked with some other projects (Salt Clay Snowmen, Paper Plate Angels and Coffee Filter Snowflakes), and I couldn’t find any great Christmas figurines to use as the centerpiece for them. So, it became a New Year’s project, which turned out to be much better. Since New Year’s doesn’t really have any specifics like snowmen or reindeer the way Christmas does, Riley was able to pick out what she wanted in the globes, which were two figurines that only ever took up room on the floor before. With the re-use of empty pasta sauce jars and the use of the otherwise unplayed-with toys, I consider this a great activity to make use of otherwise unwanted items, making my momma heart and the Earth happy. I had ribbon lying around, so the only supplies I had to purchase for this project was the glitter.
I must admit, planning an activity with glitter had me a little nervous. I’ve never been brave enough to bring it out before. The only experience the girls have had with glitter is at daycare. Their glued-on glitter projects, though adorable, leave such a ridiculous mess in the car. The thought of bringing that in the house makes me think I will have glitter on my face during work meetings for the next year, at least. But, the holidays brought out their typical everything-is-fun feeling, and I let my own true love of glitter take over. After the purchase was made, opening the glitter was all Riley could think or talk about. And when the time came, guess what, it went all over the floor. Sigh. The project was still full fun though, and we got to talk a little bit about why things float (see Nurture the Experience section).
Planning an activity with glitter makes me nervous. The end result though was really cool.… Click To Tweet
What You’ll Need
Empty and clean glass jar with lid (you could use one that held pasta sauce, maraschino cherries, etc.)
Figurine (something like these animal figurines would work)
- Be sure that your jars are completely clean. You really don’t want food particles messing up the pretty glitter view. Use this cool trick if you have trouble getting that pesky stickiness from the labels off.
- Stand the figurine on the inside top of the jar lid so that it will stand up inside of the upside down jar. Glue the figurine’s feet or base in place with the super glue. Note: I used a hot glue gun to do all of the gluing. It worked, but eventually it broke loose. Super glue is a lot sturdier in the water.
- Put just enough glitter in the glass jar to cover the bottom. You don’t want to put too much in, or the glitter won’t be able to float around the jar. I’m afraid we probably used too much in ours.
- Fill the glass jar with water to the top. You don’t need to leave any room.
- Twist the lid with the figurine on the jar. Glue the ribbon around the jar lid and turn upside down.
Nurture the Experience
Why does the glitter fall the way that it does? Why do boats float? It’s all related to buoyancy, and this is a great activity to get the conversation started. Thanks to bath toys, your child has probably already wondered (even if not consciously) why some toys float and some toys sink. He or she just may not have had the context yet to ask. So, you can start by asking, “What floats in water?” If you are a Monty Python fan, this line of questioning will become pretty fun for you, even if your child isn’t in on the joke. When you get to a couple of objects that float and don’t float, ask why. Let him or her know there was a man who asked the same question many, many years ago, Archimedes. He figured out that objects would float if they were lighter than the water displaced, or caused to move. If an object is lighter than the water that is moved, it will float. Remember, the concept does not have to be completely grasped. Early learning is sometimes just about creating connections in the brain, or creating context for later learning. Talking about it and looking at different examples is good enough for this early lesson in buoyancy. After you’ve talked and played a bit with your heavier-than-water glitter snow globes, check out this cool computer game to enhance the learning further.
My girls are very into alphabet books right now, which makes this one a perfect book to follow up on discussions about buoyancy. There aren’t many “what floats in water” conversations that don’t lead you to talking about boats for just a little bit. The nice thing about alphabet books is that they can expand your knowledge in a category beyond what you normally think about.
This is a find! This book is full of great activities and lessons to teach buoyancy to kids, complete with their alignment to the Common Core State Standards. Whether or not you are a teacher, or live in a state that follows the CCSS, it’s great for parents to know the kinds of things their kids will be expected to know in school and even better if they can help lay those foundations at home.