No, it’s not President’s Day. But we’re getting close.
No, today was just another no-school snow day. And when I walked into Maddy’s room after Cora and I changed everyone’s sheets, I noticed that she and Owen had dumped the contents of Maddy’s piggy bank onto the floor.
They were counting, clinking, playing with the dirty coins. This had to be the perfect time for us to head down to the kitchen for a little coin-cleaning and science experimenting.
So that’s what we did.
- Coin Cleaning: I grabbed some old toothbrushes, some plastic take-out containers and lids, some towels, and tiny bowls.
Then I found our Baking Soda and vinegar, and I poured some baking soda into each small bowl. I added water to make a wet, gooey, paste, and then I brought them to the table.
Then I said, Okay, are you ready for some crazy, magic, bubbles? Look what this tiny bit of vinegar does to the water and baking soda in the bowl. . .
And on cue, Maddy, Owen, and Cora sent up a collective Wow! Oh my gosh! Ahhhh!
(It really is pretty cool if you ask me!)
I told them that if they wanted to make their gross and dirty coins more shiny, then they needed to use their muscles to scrub, scrub, scrub. And after they scrubbed, they had to rinse their coin in water, then dry it with the tiny towel.
On this snowy, stuck-inside morning, they did just that: they scrubbed, rinsed, and dried until their little fingers were pruney and their coins were a-shinin’.
While they cleaned, we talked about coins–not as detailed as we did before–but this time for some reason, Owen was really interested in the “guys on the front of the coins”.
It certainly wasn’t a full-fledged history lesson, but we talked a little about George and Abe and about why they’re on the coins.
To make today’s activity all the more worthwhile, right before I made dinner, I went through Maddy’s backpack and found her February Letter from her teachers.
It explained that they were going to chat about presidents! About Abe Lincoln and George Washington! About pennies, nickels, dimes, and their values!
And she had a homework assignment to hunt for pennies–2000 through 2008!
Talk about crazy-coincidental timing (okay, and some major luck).
After dinner, we searched through our shinin’ gleamin’, gorgeous pennies, found what we could, and taped them to Maddy’s paper.
The cleaning of the coins this morning was really great for Maddy, Owen, and Cora’s little fingers to get moving (como se dice, ‘fine motor skills’?) and for them to practice following a set procedure: scrub, rinse, dry.
The vinegar and baking soda combo–bubbles, textures, you name it–is hands-on science right at your kitchen table.
The hunting for dates (or numbers–however you explain it) is super for practicing number recognition.
And of course, if you get into the heart of why old Abe and George and all of those big-presidentes are on our coins, it’s a history lesson shoved in as well.
Happy snow day, coin-cleaning!
fyi: The Numismatist Sheet is here to download (not great quality, my apologies, since Maddy’s already had most pennies on it by the time I remembered to scan it!). Made by her teachers, and it’s pretty darn cool! Thanks, teachers!