Christmas 2017 Leads to Science!

The earliest bits of this website date to 2003, fifteen years ago. That’s nearly half of my life! I keep telling myself that I need to tend to this site (currently called Dammit, Rick!, but who knows what it’ll be called next time I post here), but for the past few years, I’ve been objectively lax in creating meaningful content.

(Wait, have I ever produced meaningful content?)

Anyway, we’re fresh out of the 2017 holiday season, and my daughter enjoyed her sixth Christmas, at our house and elsewhere, with some awesome gifts, such as the fantastic My Little Pony Canterlot castle.

I can’t deny that when it comes to toys, she’s not at all wanting, and to totally parent-brag, she’s a pure joy to go shopping with: it is absolutely rare for her to get the “I want! I want! I want!” attitude, even in aisles filled with her favorite things!

What is going to define this year, though, is not an abundance of toys, but science! That’s right, science! My mom gave my daughter two really amazing gifts which I’m eager to get up and running: an ant habitat and a carnivorous plant garden! 

We’re going to need to order ants at some point, but we’re going to have to wait until slightly warmer weather hits so that the ants aren’t sitting on the porch freezing while I’m at work. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, it could be more interesting to catch our own ants. The instructions that came with the habitat claim that it can support a colony of ants with a queen, but that claim seems highly dubious given the size of the enclosure.

We attempted to set up the carnivorous garden earlier today; however, we hit a couple of snags.

  • According to the instructions, these plants are rather persnickety and require distilled water. We didn’t have any on hand at the time, but having procured some during a quick grocery run after dinner, I hope to get started on at least half the garden tomorrow evening.
  • I say “half the garden” because one packet of seeds requires a several weeks long period in the refrigerator as part of a process called stratification. These are plants which ordinarily sprout during the fall and so must be “tricked” by spending some time living with the milk and ketchup.

Gardening, of course, is the domain of the patient, and the carnivorous garden is looking to be no exception to that. My daughter shows true excitement at the prospect of setting it up, though, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!

Those were the two big science projects I knew about going into Christmas, but oh my goodness, the amount of science and creative activities that she now has is astounding! A “fossil dig” kit, a volcano kit, a gemstone kit, a crystal growing kit, a book on a hundred or so things to do before growing up, a scrapbooking kit, a “daddy and me” memory book, a numbers puzzle book, a book of scientific activities for kids, and so much more, including a small handful of fantastic learning books found at Goodwill around Christmastime as well, one of which has page after page of the systems of the human body in beautiful detail.

For a few  years now, she has said she wanted to be a veterinarian (a “pet doctor,” originally, before she knew the title), and while I won’t pretend that her pre-first grade hopes will define her life, I know that as long as she has a sense of wonder and awe about the world around her, she’s a sponge for all the science I can throw at her.

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