by Jennifer Robertson
My original plan for my son’s 9th chemistry-themed birthday party was to demonstrate science experiments to him and his friends myself. I could visualize it. I’d spent my childhood watching the Discovery channel, Bill Nye and Star Trek with my MIT-educated big brother. I had this. I’d get a funny Einstein wig and glasses and even a lab coat! I’d be funny! Hilarious! I’d let all those kiddos get their hands messy! Google would hook me up with all the coolest experiments! My son’s friends would not only be learning wonderful science that I’d explain to them patiently and gently yet also with engaging wit and charm, but they’d leave the party telling him how lucky he was to have such a cool mom! Yes, I could see it. And I’d be the best mother ever.
But as I started making my to-do list, taking on the additional task of hosting the activity seemed daunting. How could I do all of it and stay sane, much less, be the best mom ever? Add in that I’m a photographer, and my mind was spiraling with thoughts of how to set up my tripod and remotely photograph myself. I realized I couldn’t do it. I needed help. I needed someone who provided this service to parties. Was there even such a thing?
I was thrilled that just a bit of research led me to an article in Northern Virginia Magazine by Micaela Williamson of Kid Trips who had written a review of science-demonstration business. It was just what I was looking for. Two weeks later, I was meeting with Calsin of STEM-Kids.
Calsin of STEM-Kids runs a mobile lab, bringing science to childrens’ events such as birthday parties, play dates, girl/boy scout troops, homeschoolers, and winter/summer break camps. Calsin can provide tailored experiments for the event based on preferences of cost, location and theme. I wanted our party to stay in a chemistry theme and needed the experiments to entertain 8 very active nine year olds for a full hour. Calsin knew just what to do -- MESSY, hands-on chemical reactions that would result in slime, exploding "elephant toothpaste" and a giant bowl full of smoky, bubbly dry ice!
Our party was such a hit! My son and his friends had so much fun and aside from the amount of sugar I served them, I, with STEM-Kids by my side, had pulled off a guilt-free, mom-of-the-year party. They laughed, they learned, and they took home a quart-sized bag full of their very own slime. I might’ve even overheard a “that was the best party ever!” as one of the little boys waved goodbye.
For more pictures and details about this party, visit Charlie's Science is Awesome 9th Birthday Party.
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