Northern Lights Illuminated

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With a few Swedish recipes to prepare from Raddish Kids this month, Travis and I sat down to learn about the Northern Lights, a neat STEAM lesson alongside the Swedish cuisine.

I started be asking him to picture dancing lights in the sky, and he immediately got very silly imagining twirling reds, greens, and blues. But I told him this really exists! An informative website and video helped him visualize and understand the concepts further. Help your child walk away with new vocab, like solar flare and solar wind.

So now it was time to paint the northern lights! Using black construction paper as our background, I invited Travis to craft the lights however he felt inspired. He started with blue paint…

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…but soon liked the way that just water looked when swirled on the black page.

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He added in a bit of color, then more water, for a very ethereal effect.

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As we painted, we listened to ambient music from Mannheim Steamroller. Once he finished painting, it was time to dance and be the auroras.

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With scarves as props, he got really into his swirly, twirly, silly dance moves. And so did little sister!

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For a final scientific component, we made the “Northern lights” in food coloring and oat milk. Set out paper plates filled with the milk and add a few drops of food coloring to each.

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Dip a q-tip into dish soap, then touch this to the milk. The food coloring will dance and skitter and mix.

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This had a big wow factor. I had hoped for it to be a little bit of a science lesson, thinking there might be a difference between our full fat and low fat oat milks in the fridge, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

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For variation, we tried it in glue, too. (Note: You can let a glue version dry for a full week, then pull it off the paper plate and hang as a “suncatcher.”

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Last up was a little bedtime reading from the library. Check out Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean Pendziwol; Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer, or Auroras: Fire in the Sky by Dan Bortolotti.

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I loved that this lesson got Travis to learn, to create, and to get active!



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