Organic Vs. Conventional

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We just had Earth Hour last week and are now into April. With Earth Day coming up, this is a great time to open up a conversation with your children about the earth and caring for our planet. There are many hot topics when it comes to the environment and many views on what the real problem is (or is not!) with our planet. Regardless of your opinion or knowledge on the topics, we have some great little experiments that you can try with kids of all ages to get both you and them thinking. The first is to take a look at organic farming vs. conventional farming.

WHAT YOU NEED

This part is easy – go to the grocery store and buy two of the same fruits or vegetables, one organic and one not labelled organic. Try to get two pieces that appear to be the same quality, freshness, and age. If at all possible, try to get them from the same location (e.g. both from Canada, both from Mexico). We used apples.

WHAT TO DO

Absolutely nothing! Bring them home and put them side by side on your counter somewhere. Then wait a few days, weeks, or months depending on the produce you selected.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

At regular intervals, have your children take a look at the produce and see if they still look the same. Is one decomposing faster than the other? Does one smell different than the other? Do they feel different?

ENDING THE EXPERIMENT

When you have had enough of your observations, cut both pieces of produce in half and see if there are any differences happening inside.

WHAT WE  NOTICED

We kept our apples out for two months. The organic apple’s peel went wrinkly and soft, and the conventionally grown apple’s did not. When we cut them open, the organic apple had begun to rot inside, where the conventionally grown apple had not begun to visibly decompose.

QUESTIONS TO ASK (and perhaps Google!)

  1. What does it mean to be grown ‘organically’? What does ‘conventionally grown’ mean?
  2. Why does growing food organically seem like a good idea? Why does growing food conventionally seem like a good idea?
  3. What else could have made them decompose at different/same rates?
  4. Do you think they taste different from each other? Why or why not?
  5. What does GMO mean? How do you know if something is a GMO?
  6. Why does organic food cost more than conventionally grown food?
  7. What does ‘natural’ mean in reference to food? Do organic and natural mean the same thing?

 

Baking Soda + Vinegar = Magic

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There are very few things that excite my children quite the way vinegar and baking soda do. The combo is a staple in my house on boring days and play dates, and when bought in bulk, they’re cheap and easy entertainment! There are three great ways to play:

The VOLCANO

The classic! You can go all out with the paper mache and paint or you can stick to basics with this one. Hang onto a transparent plastic water/pop bottle, clean off any label so that you can see through it. Place it in a large, shallow dish. Fill the bottle about 1/5th with baking soda, then slowly pour in vinegar. Add a few drops of food colouring to the vinegar if you want to make it more dramatic.

The EXPLOSION

Draw out the magic a little bit! This is a great activity for children of all ages. Get a baking pan (like an 8×8 square for example) and pour about 1cm of baking soda equally across the bottom. Repeat for each child. Pour a few small cups of vinegar and use food colouring to tint them different hues. Give your child a medicine dropper or syringe (not the kind with a needle, obviously!) and let them experiment with adding drops of vinegar into the baking soda to make little bombs explode all over the pan. Play with colour combinations by dropping one colour over another colour. Try big drops vs small drops. Do rapid successions of drops vs slow drops. This is a great time filler activity!

The MAGIC HAND

For this one you’ll need your baking soda, vinegar, a glass jar (Mason jar or old spaghetti sauce/pickle/salsa jar with the label taken off), and a disposable glove (latex or latex-free). Pour some vinegar in the jar and pour some baking soda in the glove. Without spilling the baking soda into the jar (keep it in the fingers), put the wrist of the glove over the mouth of the jar and make sure it is sealed. Slowly tip the glove so that the baking soda mixes into the vinegar. Watch as the reaction causes the glove to fill up, ready for a high five! Try different amounts of baking soda and vinegar – watch as less makes the glove fill slowly, more will make the glove fly away! Click HERE to watch a video.

When your kids are all done with their play, dump the vinegar and baking soda mess into your sink and give it a scrub – it’ll be shining!

This Weekend in London

MARCH

The weather is finally shifting, can you feel it? If that doesn’t inspire you to get out of your house, I don’t know what will!

SUGAR BUSH

London is so fortunate to be surrounded by delicious seasonal sugar bush farms. Pack up the fam and head out to enjoy this truly Canadian treat! For a full list of nearby locations and when they are open, see HERE.

MAPLE LEAF MONSTER JAM TOUR

Rev up your engines and head on over to the Budweiser Gardens for Monster Jam! This is the only event happening at the Bud this weekend, with shows Saturday and Sunday. See HERE for more information.

RAIDER ROBOTICS SCIENCE EXPO

H.B. Beal Secondary School is holding their first annual Raider Robotics Science Expo, geared towards children ages 4 -13. There will be science demonstrations, robot displays, reptiles, and more! Entry is by donation or canned good. The event runs from 12:00noon to 2:00pm at Beal.

BOLER MOUNTAIN

Boler is still open for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing this weekend! They’re open Saturday 9:00am to 10:00pm and Sunday 9:00am to 7:00pm for skiing and snowboarding, Saturday 11:00am to 10:00pm and Sunday, 11:00am to 6:00pm for tubing.

LONDON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

The Children’s Museum is full of fun this weekend with so many exciting activities for kids! On Saturday, they have the ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) dogs to talk to families about adopting and caring for new pets, a Chronic Pain Management Workshop for kids presented by The Arthritis Society, a dance performance by the Dance Essence dance troupe, star shows, magnet experiments, and fun art opportunities. On Sunday, the St John Ambulance Therapy Dogs will be there to give information on their program and let you meet the dogs!

PA Day Fun for November 21

PA DAY

Looking for something fun for the kids to do this Friday, November 21 while they’re home from school? We have a few ideas!

Mad Science at White Oaks Mall

Head to the Jalna North Court from 11:00am to 12:30pm to learn about Optical Illusions and again from 1:00pm to 2:30pm for Fun-damental Forces.

Children’s Museum Day Camp

Drop the kids off for a full day of fun from 8:30am to 5:00pm where they will be learning about becoming a zoologist with Amazing Animals! Pizza lunch is offered at an additional cost. Email info@londonchildrensmuseum.ca or call 519-434-5726 for more information.

Museum London: A Story of Canadian Art

Museum London has an exciting and educational day planned for children ages 6 through 12, from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Kids will be exploring the museum and getting hands on as they create their own art inspired by Emily Carr, Group of Seven, and David Milne. Cost is $45 per child. Register HERE.

Stoney Creek YMCA Day Camp

The Stoney Creek YMCA has an all-day camp for children 3-12 years old. Find the registration form HERE or call 519-453-8858 for more information.

London Public Libraries

Byron Library (auditorium), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

Byron Library, 2:30pm to 3:30pm: Button making, drop-in, ages 5+

Carson Library (meeting room), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

Central Library (children’s section), 10:00am to 4:00pm: Project Art Day, drop-in for families

Central Library (TDCT children’s program room), 1:00pm to 2:00pm (English), 2:00pm to 3:00pm (French): NFB of Canada’s short films for children, drop-in for families

Cherryhill Library (Sam Katz Room), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Family Movie, TICKETS REQUIRED available at the branch now

Crouch Library, 10:30 to 11:30am: Family and Friends Puppet Show,drop-in, children with caregiver

Crouch Library, 2:00pm to 5:00pm: Get Your Game On, drop-in, ages 7+

East London (Rotary Meeting Room), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: LEGO Creation Station, drop-in, ages 4-12 with caregiver

Pond Mills (meeting room A&B), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: LEGO Creation Station, drop-in, ages 4-12 with caregiver

Stoney Creek Library, 10:00am to 4:00pm: Rhyming and Finding Scavenger Hunt, drop-in for families

Westmount Library, 2:30pm to 3:30pm: Craft Time, drop-in for families

** See branches for more information