A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Month: August 2021

Science Experiment ~ Cleaning Coins With Kids

There are so many things we do throughout the day that we don’t even realize have a “scientific” explanation.  Some of these things we do on a day to day basis, while others may be less common tasks.  Other times are planned just to create a learning experience for the kids.  Today we did a Science experiment cleaning  coins with the kids.

Have you stopped to wonder why some of the cleaning products work the way they do?  Do you take for granted that they just work?   (When it comes to cleaning I think I get taken for granted….anyone got an Amen?  Just kidding…I love being a StayAtHomeMimi)  Take a few minutes to think of items you clean regularly and how you could make it a learning experience for the young ones in your world.

Coin Cleaning Experiment ~

Now I am fully aware that the average person does not sit around and clean coins.  However, this is a very good place to help explain why items clean the way they do!  This is a simple experiment that encompasses quite a bit of learning and coordination.

Materials Needed ~
  • Warm vinegar – 1/4 cup
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Coins
  • Small bowl or jar
  • Tweezers
  • Paper towels
  • Spoon or something to stir with
Directions For Cleaning Coins With Kids ~

Warm the vinegar slightly in microwave.  Pour in salt.  Let children stir the mixture until salt is fully dissolved.  Drop coins in and watch the magic happen.  It is so much fun to watch their face as they are observing not only how the salt dissolves but also how  the solution cleans the coins.  They may notice that some coins become shiny quicker than others….why is that?

The Knitty Gritty Details ~

Depending on the age of the child you are performing this experiment with will determine how much detail you will want to give.  However, it is good for children to know that different liquids and items create different effects when mixed.   Its actually a pretty cool phenomena.  Below is a basic explanation:

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which strips the tarnish or patina on copper, thus revealing the shiny metal underneath all of the grime.  When metal (coin) touches acid (in vinegar), they neutralize each other. 

Brainstorming On Other Liquids That Could Be Used ~

If vinegar contains acetic acid, what other items contain acid as well?  Will these items clean coins too?  If they will, do we still need to use salt?  Does it have to contain acid to clean the coins?  Wow!  Can you see those gears turning in their little heads….so cool!  Let the kids brainstorm on what “cleaning agent” they should try.  Here are a few examples:

  • Ketchup
  • Lemon/Lime Juice
  • Orange
  • Dish Soap
  • Milk
  • Soy Sauce
  • Plain Old Water
  • Coca Cola
  • Juice

We only did the vinegar and salt, however, I think it would be so much fun and very educational to set out several bowls or jars and try the different ingredients to see which one works best.  This would create more of a “lab-like”  setting for a scientific experiment.  Heck, go the distance and get them some goggles and lab coats.

Check out these colorful kid-sized science goggles!

And, of course, this awesome lab coat for kids ages 2-16 years.


You can make this experiment as simple or as bougie as you wish (I have always wanted to use that word 🤣).  Obviously, the most important takeaway is that the children are engaged and excited about science!

Other Ways To Gain From This Experiment ~

I threw in the tweezers on this activity.  What a great way to work on coordination.  Max had so much fun figuring out how to pick up the coins with the tweezers.  The fun didn’t stop there though!  Once the coin was in the grasp of the tweezers, he had to move the coin from the bowl to the paper towel.  *This is definitely where goggles come in handy as the coin can splash in the liquid very easily.  

If you think you have a budding scientist on your hands, you might want to go ahead and invest in a fun kit for your little one!  This science kit is so dang adorable and includes everything you need for an inquisitive child!

Seriously, isn’t this just too cute?  It includes:

  • Lab Coat
  • Name Badge
  • 4 Large Test Tubes with Stand
  • 4 Eyedroppers
  • 3 Funnels in Different Sizes
  • 5 Measuring Spoons
  • 1 Large Measuring Cup
  • 6 Small Measuring Cups
  • 1 Plastic Beaker
  • 1 Magnifier
  • 1 Set of Tweezers
  • 1 Set of Safety Glasses
  • 1 Stirring Rod
  • 3 Color Agents
  • 1 Pack Citric Acid
  • 1 Pack Baking Soda
  • 2 Balloons
  • 20 Color Catching Sheets
  • 1 Double-Sided Activity Cards Book

Conclusion of Science Experiment ~

I have done this with the kids a couple of times.  In fact, I wasn’t planning on this activity when Max came to visit yesterday.  We were supposed to be having basketball camp with Mimi.  However, Max looked at me with those big eyes and asked, “Mimi, can we clean coins?”  Well, of course we can Max!  Obviously, he enjoyed this activity.

What I wasn’t planning on (but should have knowing my daughter’s obsession with cleaning) is Max being worried about one coin that just wasn’t getting clean enough.  “You see that dark spot Mimi?  We need to get that off of there!”  Next time I will have an old toothbrush ready for issues such as this.  This time, however, we used an SOS pad because that is what I came up with on the fly.

  • Yes, we washed his hands thoroughly right after using it
  • No, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest using this unless maybe they have gloves on
  • Yes, my cream colored chair stayed clean….whew!!!

Have fun experimenting with your little ones and please, come back and let me know if you tried other methods of coin cleaning.  I can’t wait to hear about it!

Much love and learning ~








Pen Pal Fun With Grandkids

I walked out to retrieve our mail today expecting the usual advertisements and bills.  However, as I opened the mailbox, my eyes went straight to a different piece of mail.  There was a long white envelope addressed to Mimi & Pappy.  Well,  that sure did bring a quick smile to my face!  As I began to open the letter, I had an epiphany.  It is time to start having some pen pal fun with the grandkids!

In July, I wrote this post about Grandparenting from a Distance and in that article I discussed snail mail with the grandkids.  In fact, I even admitted then that I am not very good at it but want to get better.  Well, NOW is the time to start having some fun with the snail mail and pen pals!

Letters From The Grandkids ~

This particular mail was from Max.  He drew us pictures and wanted to send them to us.  Now, keep in mind that we are very lucky grandparents that get to see the kids several times a week.  However, this should not keep anyone from sending fun letters, cards, games, jokes, etc. to the grandkids.  As we all know, everyone likes to receive a special piece of mail.  It gives you the same feeling you get when opening gifts at Christmas.  Someone took the time to personally acknowledge you.

I actually keep a folder in my office of artwork and letters they have written for us.  Each one gets labeled with their name and date on the back of the pages so they can see how their writing and picture drawing improves over time.  I also pull them out once in a while just to enjoy the love they share in each page they create for us.

Pen Pal:  A person with whom one keeps up an exchange of letters, USUALLY someone that is so far away that a personal meeting is unlikely.

Benefits of Pen Pal Fun With Grandkids ~

  • Create a close connection
  • Allows opportunity to praise the children’s artwork and writing = boosts self confidence
  • Long-lasting memories
  • Teaches correspondence skills – stamps, addressing envelopes, proper writing etiquette over time
  • Patience – in this world of everything at our fingertips, it is good for them to learn the anticipation of “waiting for something good to come.”
  • Fosters creativity
  • Improves penmanship

Fun Snail Mail Ideas ~

  • Pre-stamp and address some fun post cards and give them as a gift to your grandchildren.  This way they can correspond with you any time they want.
  • If they are old enough to practice envelope format, then give them a blank notebook/stationery and envelopes.

Include some small item with your letter to them:

  • An old picture of you
  • A picture of the two of you together
  • Several charms – one at a time so they can make a bracelet or keychain once all are sent
  • A fun drawing
  • A coloring page
  • A seek and find page – I have always loved the Highlight brand but you can also find a lot of free ones to download on Pinterest! – I especially love this Highlights Back to School Version!

  • Bookmark
  • Ask a question and tell them to reply with their answer in a letter back to you
  •  Origami
  •  Stickers
  • Send a small puzzle a few pieces at a time
  • Cut the letter in large pieces so they have to put together like a puzzle
  • Write the letter in coded ink and send special pen for them to uncover the message.  I LOVE this Invisible Ink Spy Pen set…kids will too!

  • Bible verse – you can write them yourself in your letter or use something like this fun book to send in your letter – Fun Bible Memory Book for Kids

  • Send a Hug!  – I love this idea by Becca of Who-arted.com
  • Start a Write Me Back! – Jennie Moraitis describes this fun idea in her littlegirldesigns.com blog
  • Write a letter on a deflated balloon for them to blow up and read
  • Make an origami fortune teller – We love to create our own but if you struggle in this department, here is an easy fortune teller (or cootie catcher as we used to call them) book with templates – Origami Fortune Teller Booklet with pre-printed and blank templates!

  • Create a family quiz – it would be fun do do this annually and save to look back at their answers later!

These are just a few fun ideas.  Once you get started I am sure more fun ideas will come your way.  These ideas are simple ones that can be included in a small envelope.  It is also fun, of course, to send a small gift once in awhile.  However, the bigger importance here is trying to foster a fun relationship with your grandchildren with money not being the focal point.

Keep in mind, too, that it doesn’t matter if you live far away or in the same town.  It still can be such a fun activity between grandparents and grandchildren.  As I am sitting here writing this, I am getting so excited about all the fun ideas that are forming in my head.  I am truly looking forward to having some pen pal fun with my grandkids!  (And don’t you think for a second that I won’t be involving Pappy in this fun adventure as well! 😉)

Happy letter writing to you ~




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