An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

The Balloon Gusher Experiment September 2, 2011

U: The Unknown

Do It Calvin's Way

Do It Calvin's Way

Boom Splat Kablooey, the Explosive Science that’s a Real Blast and The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself books were two recent book reward purchases for summer reading. Ava, our third-grader, had reached her reading goal of 10 books over the summer. Calvin, our kindergartner, just happened to reap the benefits as well. I thought she might come home with something more along the lines of Junie B Jones and the Fudge Series she’s been amped about. It was just her and her Dad, the program’s enforcer, on the bookstore outing to Wild Rumpus.

As she perused her new book, she seemed a bit disappointed, I didn’t know it was a book for boys. It has stuff only boys would think to do in it. We sat down together and gave it a once over. There was Map Your Neighborhood, Make Your Own Greeting Cards, Freudian Ink Blots, even a Girls Rule comic strip. Not intriguing enough? Then she pointed out sections on the boyish side: a clean version of Would You Rather, a list of Totally Awesome Practical Jokes, a page to List Your Injuries.

I had to agree with Ava, this was mostly boy stuff. Calvin was eating this up. Bonus: Ava also got the scientific experiment book for him. Nice sister. He immediately tore into the kit (launchers, high quality balloons, other small gadgetry) and perfected the art of balloon blowing. We failed one experiment where you added vaseline to the tip of a skewer and poke it through at a spot near the tie where the balloon was the least stretched. Then it was supposed to come out on the opposite side and leave the balloon intact. It popped. Then we talked about sound waves and how the compressed air in the balloon, once popped, cause the bang sound we heard. A little advanced.

We gave the experimenting a rest for a bit. An hour later, water is flying all around the kitchen. The rug and my child are soaked. I raise an eyebrow. The experiment moves into the bathroom. Ava joins in. I hear squealing. The entire bathroom floor and rugs are now soaked too. Then it moves outdoors. In and out of the house several times. They have my full attention. What is going on? They are filling up one little red balloon over and over with water and letting it loose. In case you’re wondering, see the video to see what happens (sorry, it needs to be rotated 90 degrees).

Calvin might have used the book as inspiration but the Balloon Gusher experiment was all his own. Even more fun! For all of Ava’s hard work to complete her reading challenge, we’ll continue to be in search of a better suited book for her reward. Ideas anyone?


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