Seasonal Science: Will These Fall Favorites Sink or Float in Water?

Looking for an activity that’s educational, kid-friendly, and seasonal? Check out this simple DIY science experiment that utilizes fun fall objects and the age-old question: Will it sink or float? This experiment tests the concepts of density and buoyancy. Basically, dense objects sink and buoyant objects float. 

All you need to conduct this experiment is a large bucket or container of water and a collection of your favorite fall items, such as gourds, leaves, pumpkins, apples, or acorns—the possibilities are endless! 

Step 1: Categorize 

Get a piece of paper and separate it into two columns: sink and float. Go out and collect different sizes of fall leaves so your child can see how size and shape factors into the experiment. Don’t forget to grab some heavier items that are sure to sink like gourds and pumpkins, too. Next, have your child make guesses on whether each item will sink or float. This gets their brain thinking critically before getting to the fun part!

Step 2: Experiment

Now comes the real action! Take each item and place it in the bucket to see whether it will sink or float. See what happens when you push a floating item down to the bottom of the bucket. Try each object more than once, just like a real science experiment, to ensure accurate results. Don’t forget to record each answer and check if their guesses were correct. 

Step 3: Reflect

Encourage curiosity! Ask your child what all of the sinking items and what all of the floating items had in common. Inquire why they may think certain items floated or sank. Don’t forget to explain the concept of density and buoyancy to seal this science lesson in their brains!

Soaking up the science is as easy as 1, 2, 3. This seasonal sink or float project provides a fun, educational activity to kick off the autumn season! Don’t forget to whip up a couple of tasty, water-based fall drinks to enjoy while you explore.

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Start Feeling Festive with These DIY Fall Drinks

Certain tastes can transport you back in time to your childhood or evoke some of your favorite memories, especially surrounding the holiday season. Did you know that you can make your favorite festive drinks from the comfort of your own home? 

Satisfy your taste buds while staying safe by becoming your very own barista. Try out these four DIY drink recipes that all have one thing in common: water! 

Apple Cider

 

 

Nothing says autumn has arrived quite like a hot mug of apple cider. Make this fall classic with only four ingredients and a slow cooker. All you need is apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, and—of course—water!

1. Place everything in the slow cooker.
2. Add water. Use enough to cover the fruit.
3. Cook for 6–7 hours on low heat or 3 hours on high heat.
4. Mash the fruits. Take a giant spoon and begin mashing up all those warm apples and oranges. 
5. Simmer. Allow this liquid mash to simmer for another hour.
6. Strain. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the cider.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup 

 

Fall hasn’t started until pumpkin spice enters the picture. This easy DIY recipe allows you to make a syrup to put in any of your coffee drinks for that extra fall flair to your caffeine fix. The basic ratio for a simple syrup is one-part sugar and one-part water. You’ll need equal parts brown sugar and water, pumpkin, cinnamon sticks, ginger root, vanilla bean paste, and whole cloves.

1. Heat. Heat the brown sugar and water together until dissolved.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, paste, and cloves to the mix.
3. Simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes. 
4. Pour. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and you’re set!

Hot Chocolate

 

 

 

Nothing warms the body and soul more than a mug of hot chocolate. Grab a blanket, turn on your favorite holiday movie, and get cozy. A single serving ready in just 2 minutes? Yes, please! All you need is 10 oz. of hot water just off the boil, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of half and half, and a dash of salt. 

1. Add all dry ingredients into a mug of hot water. 
2. Stir.
3. Add desired amount of half and half.

Sparkling Cider

 

 

 

Even though you can enjoy it all year long, there’s something special about sparkling cider in the fall. Plus, it makes the perfect non-alcoholic drink for the kids to toast later in the holiday season on New Year’s Eve! Make this fizzy favorite with four ingredients and a freezer. You need frozen apple juice concentrate, frozen white grape fruit concentrate, lemon-lime soda, and ice. 

1. Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl.
2. Serve

These four DIY drinks will set the mood and have you feeling festive in no time. Water you waiting for?

 

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Watercolor Tips and Techniques

If you’ve been finding yourself stuck on the couch lately, it might be time to get creative! Arts and crafts are a fun and productive way to spend your free time, and watercolor painting is an enjoyable and easy medium to create a masterpiece. We’re here to demonstrate three unique techniques to help you WFH (watercolor from home).

 

If you don’t have watercolor paints around the house, don’t worry—you can easily create your own by combining acrylic paint with water. Just choose your favorite colors and slowly mix in the water until you get the thin, watery consistency of the examples below.

 

 

Salt and Watercolor

The creativity doesn’t have to stop at adding water. Use other household objects like salt for a grainy, textured pattern in your painting. The key to this technique is salting the paint while it’s still wet.

 

  1. Start by painting a small area to ensure it won’t dry up too quickly.
  2. Next, pour some salt on the wet portion of the paint. You can add as much or as little as you’d like!
  3. Finally, once the paint is dried, wipe off the salt to reveal your unique pattern.

 

 

Pro tip: Try out different kinds of salts (such as sea salt) to achieve different sizes, textures, and effects.

Watercolor Drip

This next effect doesn’t require any add ons—just gravity. Make sure you have a paper towel or newspaper underneath your paper for this one since it can get messy.

  1. Choose your watercolor and add a generous amount of water to your paintbrush.
  2. Mix the water and paint together on your canvas, add even more water, and tilt your paper upright to allow the paint to drip. It’s as simple as that!
  3. If the paint is not dripping enough, continue to add water to the painted section with your brush.

 

 

Wet on Wet Blending

 

One of the best things about painting with watercolors is the ability to easily blend colors and create beautiful, unexpected patterns. Combining more than one color while they’re still wet allows them to bleed into one another and create a classic watercolor look.

 

  1. Start with the base color of your choice.
  2. Slowly add other colors and let the water blend them.
  3. Continually add water to help the natural blending process.

 

The best part about this technique is its unpredictability. Just let the water guide your design and see what happens.

 

 

There are plenty of ways to get crafty and creative if you’re stuck indoors. You can even combine all three of these techniques to create a new masterpiece every day! Don’t forget that anyone in the family can be an artist—just add water.

 

 

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Inside the Witch’s Cauldron: The Science of Dry Ice

It’s the season for all things spooky and scary! From witches and warlocks to jack o'lanterns and sweet treats, there’s so much wonder to behold during the Halloween season.

Looking for a fun activity to get in the festive spirit? With a few simple ingredients, you can make your very own witch’s cauldron for decoration. All you’ll need is some dry ice—and water, of course!

How can ice be dry?

At Aqua, we’re always fascinated (but never surprised) by water’s versatility and the ways that it can teach us new lessons about the world around us. Though there’s nothing spooky about water, it’s a key ingredient in a DIY witch’s cauldron that’s sure to wow trick or treaters.

The other key ingredient is dry ice, which is exactly what it sounds like: ice without water. That may be hard to imagine, but it’s possible because of carbon dioxide.

Believe it or not, dry ice is colder than ice made with frozen water. Essentially, dry ice is carbon dioxide (with no moisture or air) that’s frozen at -109.3°F, while regular ice freezes at 32°F. So what happens if water and dry ice meet? Let’s just say things can get spooky.

When the dry ice meets water, it immediately undergoes sublimation, which means it changes from a solid to a gas without ever becoming a liquid. The best part of it all? Water is a catalyst that helps to create this phenomenon!

How to make a DIY witch's cauldron

First and foremost, you’ll need the main ingredient: dry ice. If you aren’t sure where to buy it, call your local grocery store to see if they carry it. If not, search online for a supplier near you.

Next, look for a cauldron at a Halloween store, or use a large cooking pot from your kitchen. Even if it doesn’t look exactly like a witch’s cauldron, your bubbling potions will still look festive.

Fill the cauldron about halfway with hot water and a dash of dish soap, which will help to give you bubbles. Then, using tongs, place small chunks of dry ice into your soapy water mixture and watch as the kettle starts to gurgle and bubble. Remember to handle the dry ice with care—due to its negative temperature, touching it with bare hands can give you frostbite.

To keep the potion going, add more hot water when needed, and enjoy watching this fascinating scientific reaction unfold.

Happy Halloween!

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Spice up your summer with a DIY garden

Summer is officially upon us, which means it’s time for tons of fun in the sun and a lot more time on your hands. What better way to spend that time than starting a DIY garden in the backyard?

At Aqua, we’re committed not just to providing water, but also celebrating the (sometimes literal) fruits of its labor. Planting an at-home garden this summer is not only good for the environment, but it also might even get the kids interested in eating their veggies.

In order to start you off on the right foot, we’ve laid out all of the best tips for planning your summer garden, watering it with care, and supporting Mother Earth at the same time. Grab your shovel—let’s dig in.

Selecting your seeds


Before you can enjoy your home-grown produce, consider which plants are best suited for your local environment and, of course, for your tastebuds.

While greens like lettuce and arugula thrive with 3–4 hours of sun exposure per day, broccoli and carrots require 4–6 hours, and summertime favorites like watermelon and tomatoes are happier with 6–8 hours of sunshine.

Keen on getting the kids involved? Impress the little ones with the ease of planting strawberries or the various shapes and sizes of potatoes. (Purple french fries, anyone?) Harvesting beets, digging holes, or even weeding can give children a sense of responsibility and pride at having contributed to a memorable summer.

When and what to water

Once you’ve picked which plants will work best in your garden, it’s time to lay down some ground rules. What’s most important is consistency. In order to ensure healthy, developing plants, it’s best to establish a routine in the frequency with which you water them and the amount of water you use.

For warm-weather plants, plan to do your watering in the early morning so the plants can soak up the water ahead of the afternoon heat. Overwatering can lead to fungus and other plant-related diseases, so an ideal watering will penetrate the soil but not leave it soggy. Don’t forget that the root systems of newer plants are not fully developed and will therefore need to be watered more frequently.

Using your green thumb


If organic produce and family fun isn’t enough to convince you to start digging, consider your impact on the environment. While it may seem like a small contribution, community gardens compose more than 25 percent of the trees in non-forest environments. Plus, growing your food at home means less air pollution from grocery delivery trucks.

Think back to elementary school science: Every plant undergoes photosynthesis, which actively converts carbon dioxide to valuable oxygen molecules. That means that more plants result in more oxygen and less carbon dioxide. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Don’t forget about the small critters that keep our ecosystems alive. Without gardens—even small, DIY ones—we run the risk of endangering essential insects and wildlife. Gardening plays a small but vital role in preserving our planet and the species that we know and love.

Planning an at-home garden this summer? Let us know how it goes on Facebook or Twitter—we want to hear all about your gardening adventures.

 

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