Momma Told Me: Spring Break Files: Orb Factory Curiosity Kits Giveaway ~ 4/19

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Break Files: Orb Factory Curiosity Kits Giveaway ~ 4/19

volcano kit
Momma Told Me: Busy is better than bored!

When I was about 11, one Summer Vacation, Momma informed me that we were going to begin working on my Science Fair Project for the upcoming year. With a disabled mother, who was home 365, I was used to such tenacity in vacation endeavors. While we had previously stuck to craft projects we'd vend at the upcoming Fall Craft Shows, this particular year I'd become addicted to the Bill Nye the Science Guy programs on local access TV. 'Science Projects' were my newest area of interest and I actually jumped at the chance to undertake a long-term experiment that summer. Another developing interest of mine happened to be the 1960s Flower Child movement and all involving this 'Peace Sign' culture. My room was full of tie dyed fabrics and faux disco lamps. So, when Momma announced my project was to revolve around creating my own Lava Lamp, and the science of how different mass fluids reacted to heat, I was in awe, and quite tickled. That project, a modified Easy Bake Oven with sealed cola bottles full of mineral oil and wax, went on to become a State Fair winner.
It's important to me, today, that Sabrina (10) takes a rounded interest in all of her school subjects; though she has expressed an increased interest in science this year. As it turns out, while I had planned for us to create our own volcano over Spring Break, her 4th grade glass had broken into groups of 3 to tackle this chore just last month. It's understandable, with budgeting, there were only enough materials to permit one volcano per group, and the children were inevitably left drawing for who would take it home. Sabrina was a bit crushed that another child would be taking home the 'work of art' she had put so much of her own sweat and patience into. Luckily, knowing we'd have 2 weeks of vacation to fill, I planned ahead and picked up a wonderful (and affordable) Curiosity Kit from the Orb Factory. The Lava Rock Volcano Kit includes everything (sans Vinegar) needed to create an active volcano model at home, for just $20. You really can't beat the price when saving a parent's insanity, and coming out looking like the coolest mom on the block! Best of all, once created, this volcano will last through multiple uses over time.
Our household is no stranger to the Orb Factory and their step-by-step crafts and science kits for kids 4+. While the majority of their project kits for children tend to learn towards the technical skills of early grade school students, the Lava Rock Volcano is slated for children 6+, and proved the perfect skill level for 10 year old Sabrina. Personally, I never had the chance to make a volcano model during my own schooling, so it was a bit of a treat for me as well. The Lava Rock Volcano kit included; paint, brush, 2 toy dinosaurs, plastic cone base, plaster dipped sheets, funnel, cotton ball, foam 'lava rocks,' food color, tubing, small squeeze bottle, and baking soda. The weather this particular day was unusually overcast for Southern California, and I committed to the project indoors with plenty of leftover newspaper laid down for protection. While Sabrina was certain the volcano would produce jets of 'lava' several feet high, I was confident the results would be more minimal, but just as entertaining.
I let Sabrina (10) take the lead on the entire project, making her read the instructions aloud herself (there were illustrated steps to guide as well), and ask questions along the way. We first snapped the plastic cone base together with the marked notches, then placed general stiffening and shaping brown foam strips along the outer edges. These were peel and stick and later offered some texture when draping the damp plaster sheets over the cone. Next the tubing was attached to the funnel, and the funnel was placed inside the 'mouth' of the volcano. Sabrina didn't care for the way the plaster felt on her hands, but thought it was especially cool how the 'shell' hardened (in about an hour) around the cone to create our volcano. As a tip, we used a 9" round cake pan for a shallow water tray to dip our plaster strips. The strips are actually netted fabric dipped in plaster and should be fully submerged then quickly removed to avoid the fabric sticking to itself.
Painting the volcano was a highlight, though the included paint seemed to require stretching. Most children will not act sparingly when 'painting' and the 4 small pots of paint will barely cover the entire surface. Luckily I had some spare gray and red paint on hand to really make the finish pop. In all, there is about 2 hours of wait/dry time in this project, so it is best to have educational side projects set up to keep kids engaged and motivated between steps. With the cotton ball gently placed inside the funnel and 1/3 of the baking soda mixture and 'Lava Rocks' sprinkled inside, we were ready to fill our squeeze bottle with vinegar and begin our eruptions. The squeeze bottle included proved to be a little small for the eruptions we wanted, and I quickly switched to a classic condiment sized squeeze bottle that would allow for more air to propel the vinegar up the tube to the mouth of the funnel. With this minor adjustment we had colored vinegar, foam, and rocks spewing as high up as near a foot from the mouth of our model!
volcano kit
This project was definitely messy- Though I checked the seal on the tubing and the funnel several times, some of the more enthusiastic squeezes did result in a foaming inside and under the volcano. I think this was due to small gaps between our funnel and the plaster at the mouth. Next time I'd reinforce the mouth to funnel connection with the leftover plaster sheets. The volcano still 'erupted,' but proved much messier than intended. For those curious, I used Apple Cider Vinegar (it's what was on hand), and it seemed to foam just as well as regular vinegar, erupting at 1 minute pauses, multiple times through the initial set-up. As far as Sabrina's thoughts- she remarked how 'stinky' the vinegar was (no way around this), and that the foam bits of 'Lava Rock' were kinda cheesy. Perhaps one of the side projects while waiting for the volcano to dry could be making your own 'lava rocks' out of foam sheets.

In any case, the project took up a nice chunk of our lazy, gray skies, afternoon, and proved a blast for Sabrina. Cleanup was minimal with the newspaper drop cloth, and the volcano itself wiped down quite nicely for use again at a later date. In all, this was a big hit, and educational; we've already been back to the Orb Factory website to hunt for our next project!

What Daughter Says: Keep parents and children entertained with guided projects from the Orb Factory.





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29 comments:

  1. I'd have to agree with you. What a fun project

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  2. That looks like a ton of fun! I also would have loved to have seen your homemade lava lamp! Groovy!

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  3. Funny... I don't think I ever made a volcano as a child either...

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  4. This would be great for my daughter. How fun!

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  5. That would be great for my classroom when we study Mount Vesuvius!

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  6. REview one of everything lol. We are a homeschooling family and we aren't picky! This rocks!

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  7. I need that kit for my son! This is awesome!!! I am in love with everyone on their website. My son is a big science kid; so I just found his dream site. :) I want to see the Pulsar Powerballs™

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  8. I would love that kit for my kids!

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  9. We love science and projects in our house. What a great site! thanks for the intro. I want to see the pulsar power balls

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  10. The Pulsar Powerballs look so neat! I would love practically anything on the site. I could see my daughter making her wish list now.

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  11. what a fun project to do as a family!

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  12. Cool project also like the Pulsar PowerBalls, but I do like the Volcano the best if you can get a child interested in sciense and experiments they begin to see the world in a different light. Wonder what the lava light looked like I still have my Lava light from the 60"s still works and is cool...

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  13. The Pulsar Powerballs™ look neat!

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  14. I like the Pulsar Powerballs

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  15. The Pulsar Powerballs look pretty fun!

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  16. I would love it if you reviewed/featured the Pulsar Powerballs™.

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  17. I'd like to see you guys make the Pulsar Powerballs.

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  18. The Knight Light or Magical Mermaid Night Light would be great

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  19. I love to see a review of the Curiosity Kits

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  20. I'd like you to review the Pulsar Powerballs

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  21. The Superstar Pillow from Plush Craft looks like fun!

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  22. wow every thing is realy neet over there so its heard to pick just one buhttp://www.curiositykits.com/Products/New-Arrivals/Pulsar-Powerballst here is what I pick

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  23. I would love a review of Curiosity Kits.

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  24. I would like to see Sparkle Ups reviewed.


    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

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