October was upon us, despite it being 2020, the year that seems to have gone forever! Although it seems like he was just a tiny baby about 5 seconds ago, Master Soren was turning seven and a party was in order. Luckily we weren’t in lockdown here in Canberra and a celebration with school friends was possible.
Always a big fan of science and experiments, the theme was easily decided, he was going to have a mad-scientist party. Luckily this theme proved to be both super easy and particularly fun. The adults were more than happy to play with dry ice, and decorating was as easy as covering the house in plastic wrap and biohazard tape! Meanwhile the kids spent hours choosing all the experiments and activities, the messier the better……
Soon party day had arrived. Lab coats, access passes and safety goggles were donned and it was time to put the plastic wrap and biohazard tape up – oh and check that dry ice was working!
Each kid had a lab coat, and we made them their own security passes too. You needed a high level clearance to get into the fun! We had a basket of coats and passes ready as everyone arrived. Astrid and Soren definitely looked the part.
Of course there had to be balloons (it is a birthday afterall) and we made sure everything was plastic wrapped – the walls, the table, the doors. It was getting reminsiscent of a Dexter episode 😉
Soren gave the thumbs up to the decorating and party preparations. Now all that we were waiting for were some guests!
Meanwhile, the experiment zones were being readied. We had plenty to keep the little scientists entertained. All the kids favourite messy experiments were going to be relegated to outside but there was some inside fun too. Who doesn’t love an icecream laboratory, complete with different ‘additives’.
Soren loves his electronics, so we set up a special ‘circuit zone’ where all the party-goers could follow the instructions to make a switch activated light and motor or a switch activated machine gun sound (all the things mum usually gets cranky about and sends him to his room to create).
We also set up a ‘build your own molecule’ area. Each jube represented a different element and the toothpicks represented chemical bonds. We had fun making example molecules including:
- H20 (water)
- C02 (Carbon dioxide)
- O2 (oxygen)
- NaCl (sodium chloride – table salt)
- NaOH (sodium hydroxide)
- HCl (Hydrogen chloride)
The best bit is you can eat your creations when you are done!
Next up was the marshmallow catapult. Fun to make out of skewers, marshmallows, a plastic spoon and elastic bands. The aim was to see how far you could make a raspberry lolly fly. Who would win?
We also set up Astrid’s microscope and slides. We had pre-prepared slides with:
- Onion bulb epidermis (skin)
- Hydrillla verticillata leaf
- Broad bean leaf
Plus a number of mystery slides so the kids could guess what they were looking at.
Then there was the melting skittle challenge. Skittles, test tubes and water were provided to see how skittles melt and to let the kids experiment with different colours and patterns.
With the experiments ready to go, it was time to get the food ready and table set up. The kids prepped the green lemonade and plastic beakers for drinks.
We had managed to convince Zinnia to have a sleep but she remembered there was a party (with cake and balloons, her favourite things!) so she was up early and ready to go, with her own lab coat and security pass too 🙂
We all definitely looked the part. Granny even donned a full biohazard ensemble, somewhat appropriate for a kids party!
With the guests about to arrive, it was time to fill our foyer with dry ice….. and the kitchen bench too!
The screams of excitement as kids arrived were epic. No further fun was needed, a foyer full of dry ice was the bees knees!
The kids were straight into the experiments and activities – the microscope proving popular, with Astrid helping some of the younger kids.
Pretty soon there were skittle melting contests and flying marshmallows everywhere!
Then it was outside to start some of the messy experiments. First, self-inflating balloons. The bottles are prefilled with a measured amount of vinegar and the balloons pre-filled with a measured amount of bicarbonate of soda. As the kids attach the balloon to the bottle, the balloons start to inflate. They did a great job figuring out the chemical reaction taking place and the simple experiment was a huge hit!
With a bit of hard work under our belts it was time to eat. On the menu chocolate cupcakes with galaxy mirror icing (favourites of my space obsessed kids), jelly petri dishes with sour worms and some delightful fake bacteria (sprinkles added while the jelly set) which added a gross but realistic touch!
We also had crystal sticks (always a favourite with the kids, who can resist pure sugar?) and frankfurts that were able to be dissected with our dissection kit and blood (tomato) sauce added.
To continue the medical theme, we’d made donut balls that the kids could inject with custard. The home made donuts were pretty good, Anto and I had sampled one or two while making them the night before……
Finallly there was the birthday cake, waiting for it’s final decorations. Soren had requested teal, green an purple for the icing and Anto hand made the gelatine bubbles and painstakingly filled the beakers and flasks for the top.
With a bit more food (and sugar) in their bellies, it was time for the real mess to begin. The kids (big and little – Zinnia wasn’t being left out) gathered outside to watch the Dr Antony show. Anto, accompanied by his able assistants – Astrid and Soren, cracked out the dry ice and the fun began……..
First we mixed dry ice with water and watched what happened.
Then it was time to start the dry ice icecream, adding our custard mix to the dry ice and putting it in the mixer. The kids were transfixed…..
It is definitely a fun, quick and rather spectacular way to make icecream! The icecream needed a little time in the freezer to firm up enough for consumption, so it was onto self-inflating gloves (dry ice inside a rubber glove). We managed to get them rather big before they popped!
It wasn’t just all dry ice fun. Dr Antony had a captive audience and they were ready for more mess! Next up was the very fun but very messy ‘elephant’s toothpaste’ experiment. Yeast, hydrogen peroxide and water are the simple ingredients but the result is pretty impressive. It also taught the kids about catalysts and exothermic reactions!
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done this, it’s pretty fun! The green was a nice touch too…..
After we cleaned up the mess the elephant made with his toothpaste, it was time for some oobleck. Oobleck is made with cornflour, water (with some fun food colouring) and is a simple example of a non-Newtonian fluid. A funny name for a fluid that changes state not from temperature but by applying pressure or force.
Astrid certainly gave it a good work out and helped some of the other kids. It is a truly bizarre substance, and fun but messy!
With the dry ice icecream now ready for eating, the icecream lab was open!
The kid enjoyed changing the colour of their icecream with various sprinkles, lollies and chocolate filled candies. The experiments continued with figuring out how whipped cream whips as it comes out of the can, why sherbet is fizzy on your tongue and how ice magic works. OK, lets face it the kids were mostly just scoffing their creations but it was kind of educational!
The final bit of experimental fun was making slime. The kids got to make their own slime (in 2 different colours) and add their own glitter. They then had their own container to take home as a party favour (sorry parents!).
We had to drag all the kids away from the fun for the birthday cake. Anto and I were pretty impressed with how this one worked out. Soren had requested ‘a science cake’ and wanted the gelatine bubbles and plenty of colour. We won’t pretend those bubbles weren’t a pain to make but they looked great and yes they are entirely edible!
With a little Persian fairy floss added, it was up to the table for the official singing and Covid safe candle blowing.
Everyone loves birthday cake, and when there is dry ice around it is even better!
Soren thoroughly enjoyed his happy birthday rendition and with the candle out it was time to crack into the cake. Soren had requested lemon and poppy seed. So I used my favourite recipe for 6 layers of cake, interspersed with home made lemon curd and lemon butter cream icing. Our lemon and lime trees are very happy so we have a lot of lemons!
It was delicious, although everyone was so full that there was a good half a cake left for lunchbox treats – and post-riding snacks……..
With the party wrapping up Soren cracked into the presents. He was thoroughly spoilt, so many fun and thoughtful gifts!
That was a wrap on a fun but utterly exhausting mad-scientist party. The kids all reported having a wonderful time and the noise would indicate so! The brilliant decorating strategy of plastic wrap and biohazard tape paid off with the clean up, the easiest party clean up ever!
Anto may have slightly over-ordered on the dry ice – enthusiasm or just wanting to make sure we ‘didn’t run out’. At any rate, despite liberal use of the dry ice for experiments and just generally filling the house with it, we still had plenty left. It survived the night in our big esky, so the next day we had a little fun.
We made another batch of icecream and found many different ways to use it up. The best fun ever (or so the kids thought)
The big kids didn’t miss out either. We had plenty of fun making dry ice gin and tonics and burnt orange espresso martinis. Fun for all the family!
If a weekend of presents, parties and endless dry ice wasn’t enough excitement, on Tuesday it was finally the big day – Soren’s 7th birthday! Of course there was no sleeping in as it was time for presents from Mum, Dad, Astrid and Zinnia………..
Soren certainly did well, so many fun things and oh to be 7 again and be opening piles of presents!
The giant model plane was definitely a huge hit, although his littlest sister took quite a liking to Soren’s new sunglasses!
After presents, there was, of course, the traditional birthday breakfast of whatever treat you desire. Soren chose hagelslag (Dutch chocolate sprinkles) on bread. I think this is the second or third year in a row. Not that we are complaining as it’s super easy for us! Zinnia wasn’t complaining either 😛
After a day at school, complete with chocolate crackles for classmates. There were more presents from grandparents in the afternoon and a Turkish banquet for our family dinner. We were officially full of food and cake and the festival of Soren was coming to a close.
Six was, as always with Soren, an adventure. I’m sure Seven will be the same!
A seven year old Søren might just be the cutest young man ever! How he has made it to seven without serious injury is beyond us, he can’t get through a day without banged up knees, arms or head – he only knows 1 speed, flat out! Still a lover of all things space, science, swimming, cycling and dinosaurs. He never shuts up (whomever said only girls talk non-stop doesn’t know my son!) and always ‘has a plan’ or wants ‘to do a deal’ or ‘excuse me mum/dad, I have a question!’ So many questions!!
A great big and little brother and he still loves his cuddles and to sit on our knees. He loves his animals and loves to dress up. There is never a time he doesn’t want to wear his suit, a kilt or a ‘dinner shirt’. If only he didn’t get everything so dirty. So of course the official 7th birthday photos were in a suit with his alpacas, rolling around in the grass. It was very Soren.
Happy 7th birthday to my spectacular son. May the next year be just as fun, but with slightly less injury and questions!