New Book Alert! Baby Medical School: My Doctor’s Visit

We are so happy to share with you our newest book, Baby Medical School: My Doctor’s Visit, now available in stores!

Click here to buy!

My husband and I wrote it to prepare our daughter for her doctor’s appointments through meaningful conversation. In addition to making the experience fun and lighthearted, we also wanted her to know WHY the doctor pokes and prods her. We feel that knowledge is power and that little ones are more capable and intelligent than we have been giving them credit for in traditional doctor’s visit books.

In this book you’ll find the basics, like eating healthy and getting your height measured, but you will also find how your heart works, what your lungs do, why the doctor presses on your belly, and more!

We hope that you love the newest addition to the Baby University universe as much as we do! 

Click here to buy the book on Amazon! (affiliate links)

Microscope Discovery Sheet for Sensory Bins

Use this free STEM printable to let your child play a fun microscope game while they are pretending to be a scientist! Perfect for preschool to elementary science programs, this is a fun, safe, and creative way to introduce the world of microbes to a child. It’s basically using a drinking glass to see through murky water to visualize the “microbes” below. I first saw this activity on the Instagram account of happicrafts.com (@happi_crafts) and knew I had to make a microscope version. The set up is simple and this can be combined with several other activities outlined below to keep them engaged and curious. The printable contains microbe illustrations from Baby Medical School: Bacteria and Antibiotics, an adorable introduction to the microscopic world.

Materials

  • Clear plastic bin (or glass casserole dish if you dare)
  • Drinking glass
  • Water with suds or paint mixed in to make it opaque
  • Baby Medical School: Bacteria printable

Procedure

  1. Print out the bacteria printable
  2. Place it under the clear plastic bin.
  3. Fill the bin about an inch with water then mix a little tempera paint mixed in so the water becomes opaque. White paint plus any other color worked the best to make it cloudy for us.
  4. Add a clear, flat bottomed drinking glass to the bin. You should be able to slide the glass around to find the various bacteria.
  5. Describe what bacteria and microscopes are to your kid (see below), then let them at it!

How to explain bacteria and microscopes to your kids: Bacteria are tiny, itsy bitsy things that we can’t see with our eye but are very important. We have bacteria all over us and inside us. Sometimes we get a bad bacteria that makes us sick, but usually the bacteria that live with us work with our body to keep us healthy. There are also bacteria all around us, both indoors and outdoors. Scientist study bacteria to learn how they work, how some can make us sick, and how some can help us. A microscope is an important tool scientists use to study bacteria. It helps them see the tiny little things to learn more about them.

Ways to Play

  • Start playing after you read Bacteria and Antibiotics (Baby Medical School), available on Amazon!
  • Just have them search around a see what they find!
  • Make a game out of it and take turns closing your eyes and sliding the cup somewhere. If you land on a good bacteria (happy faces), you get a point. If you land on a bad bacteria (angry face), you don’t get a point.
  • Set up some cups in another bin next to this one with watered-down paint that they can color mix, suds, or even vinegar and baking soda to play and experiment with. Then have them dump their concoction into the bacteria discovery bin to pretend to check it with the microscope.
  • Have them describe the features of the bacteria they see (colors, spots, etc)

Free Printable

Copy and save this JPG! Please feel free to use this for personal use but please contact me if you would like to distribute it. Enjoy!

6 STEM Book Gift Pairings for Babies: A gift guide

Some of the best gifts for babies are books. They help their big eyes focus, help them learn about the world, and expose them to new words every day. Below, find some fun gifts to pair with some of this year’s most popular science books for babies!

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The product links below are affiliate links, buying from them will earn me a small amount of money with no extra cost to you. I appreciate your patronage! Also, I wrote some of the books included below so that’s a bit of a conflict of interest 😉


1. The Atomic Baby

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Nuclear Physics for Babies written by Chris Ferrie and Cara Florance (me!) uses colorful balls to explain the concept of radioactivity. Babies all over the world have been captivated by the Baby University series’ bold simplicity. To go with the theme, hone those fine motor skills and soothe sore gums with Manhattan Toy’s Atom Rattle & Grasper and the Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy which are both inspired by atomic models.


2. The Atmospheric Baby

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The sky and weather always grab my baby’s attention, and I describe the current atmospheric conditions to her just as something to talk about. If you or a baby in your life also pine for precipitation, this pairing is for you. Weather is part of Jillian McDonald’s beautiful and brightly colored series Hello, World! and would go perfectly with the wildly popular Grimm’s wooden Rainbow Stacker in 6-piece or 12-Piece. (Also available in pastel colors.)


3. The Microbial Baby

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There is a world all around (and on, and in!) us that young ones obviously can’t fathom, but if you or the parents have a tendency for teeny things, look no further. Bacteria and Antibiotics is an adorable introduction to the good and the bad of the microscopic world and also begins to teach about antibiotic medicines. The bright colors and expressive faces on the various bacteria will be sure to engage any baby. Pair this book with any of the adorably ridiculous plush GIANTmicrobes, including E. coliMRSA, or the 4-Pack of the common cold, stomach ache, sore throat, and penicillin for some tactile and fine-motor fun.


4. The Chemistry Baby

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Organic Chemistry for Babies, by Chris Ferrie and Cara Florance, explains carbon’s amazing ability to make a vast amount of molecular shapes. Interlocking Building Disks from EMIDO are great toys to go with this concept. They can lock together to build endless shapes, and are also great for little fingers to grab and mouths to chew.


5. The Gravitational Baby

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This lucky theme has two wonderful books to chose from (or just get both!), Baby Loves Gravity! by Ruth Spiro and General Relativity for Babies by Chris Ferrie. What better toy to let a baby learn about gravity than balls. We have had the set in the link since my first daughter was born and they have been a staple in our home.


6. The Space Baby

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The adorable new release, 8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie, takes you on a rhyming tour of our solar system explaining the features that make each planet special. Uncle Goose Planet Blocks are beautiful, high quality toys that pair nicely with this book.


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Make your own painting Art-Robot: Inspired by “Ada Lace Sees Red”

One of the best ways to bring a new activity into your kid’s life is to be inspired by a special book. After reading Ada Lace Sees Red, (SPOILER ALERT) which features a robot that can paint (and an intelligent heroine), my daughter couldn’t get enough, so I thought I’d expand her love of the book by helping her make her own art-bot.

This project uses a vibrating motor to wiggle a cup attached to paint brushes. Other variations of vibrobots include bots that vibrate a scrub brush (bristlebots) and bots with markers for coloring!

Anna really likes taping things.

Materials

Note: Instead of using a motor with a nut, you can alternately just buy a vibrating motor. I prefer making it from a normal motor because we can also use the motor for other things that don’t involve vibration, whereas vibrating motors can only be used for vibrating things.

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Procedure

  1. Securely tape the bolt nut to one side of the motor shaft. As the motor spins, the nut will cause it to be unbalanced, making the whole thing vibrate.
  2. Hook up your circuit (including a switch if you would like). Be sure to follow the directions on the motor you purchase, as incorrect wiring can cause things to get hot or spark.
  3. Add the battery and test your motor, making sure the nut is securely affixed so it doesn’t fly off.
  4. Flip the cup upside-down and tape 3-4 paintbrushes around it so it can stand up on the brush ends (see picture above with markers as an example).
  5. Tape the battery terminal and motor to the cup, ensuring the nut has room to move around.
  6. Test out your bot to make sure everything is affixed securely.
  7. Dip the brushes into paint, put it on paper, then turn it on!

This can also be done with markers, which are less messy than paint, or crayons, which are even less messy than markers. After you’re done making art, try attaching your eccentric motor to something else, like a scrub brush or dry mop!

Book Inspiration- Ada Lace: Sees Red

From the publisher:

From Emily Calandrelli—host of Xploration Outer Space, correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World, and graduate of MIT—comes the second novel in a brand-new chapter book series about an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology.

Ada Lace is building a new robot! She’s determined to beat Milton in the upcoming robotics competition. But she’s distracted—Ada finds her dad’s art class impossible, while Nina is the star of the class, basking in the glory of being Mr. Lace’s star pupil.

When Mr. Lace suggests that Nina put on an art show, Ada becomes jealous and loses her temper. Now Ada isn’t speaking to her dad, she’s falling behind in art class, and she still doesn’t know how to fix her robot. As the competition looms closer, Ada starts to wonder if there might be a way to use both science and art to solve her problems.

Will Ada make up with her father in time to test her hypothesis? Or will her hurt feelings leave her seeing red and without a medal at the end of the day?


Ada Lace Adventures is a series about a girl who uses science to help solve problems and mysteries. It is intended for readers ages 8+, but I read them a chapter at a time to my young daughter. The books are not in-your-face nerdy at all, as Ada is just an ordinary girl who likes science. I like that these books counter the stereotypical dorky science character that we frequently see. They are well written, fun to read, and a great addition to your chapter book library.

Snippets of Science: Radioactive Fiestaware

Snippets of Science are short tales of fascinating science for a quick read.

Would you like some uranium with your tea?

From 1936-1972, the makers of Fiestaware (and also many other ceramics from that time) used uranium oxide in the glaze, making the dining sets radioactive.
They initially used natural uranium which contains a mix of uranium-238 and uranium-235, but during World War II, the US government seized uranium supplies around the country to collect the fissile U-235 for use in atomic weapons. After the war, the ceramics were glazed with depleted uranium oxide, which has a smaller percentage of U-235. Other uses of depleted uranium are armor piercing bullets and golf clubs because it is so dense, hard, and cheap. (Don’t let the “depleted” term fool you, they are still radioactive. It just refers to the amount of U-235). You probably won’t get sick using this dinnerware, but there’s also lead in it that could leach out (along with the uranium) so I’m not gonna be using our set.

“But if I buy some at a thrift shop, will they still be radioactive all these year later?!” you also ask?! Fear not, the half life of uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years, so they are essentially just as radioactive as the day they were forged.

If you’ve been dreaming of teaching your kids about radioactivity, check out Nuclear Physics for Babies for their first taste of this wild subject. 😉

Sources:

Oak Ridge: https://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/fiesta.htm

EPA: https://www3.epa.gov/radtown/antiques.html

Landa, E. and Councell, T. Leaching of Uranium from Glass and Ceramic Foodware and Decorative Items. Health Physics 63 (3): 343-348; 1992.

Piesch, E, Burgkhardt, B, and Acton, R. Dose Rate Measurements in the Beta-Photon Radiation Field from UO2 Pellets and Glazed Ceramics Containing Uranium. Radiation Protection Dosimetry 14 (2): 109-112; 1986.

Extract your own DNA!

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Did you know extracting your DNA so you can see it with your own eyes is one of the easiest science projects you will ever do? Take a look at the video below and try it out for yourself! We’ve also included some cartoons from The Baby Biochemist: DNA to illustrate what is happening during each step!

Continue reading “Extract your own DNA!”