Thursday, June 12, 2014

CHildren's Book Review: Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments by Mike Adamick

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from F&W Media, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

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Obviously with DAD in the title, this book needed to be reviewed for Father's Day week!

But it is such a great book for continuing Summer education and keeping ye old Summer slide at bay, AND a could way to combat the 'I'm bored"s as well!

Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments cover

The science behind, "But, why?"
Don't get caught off guard by your kids' science questions! You and your family can learn all about the ins and outs of chemistry, biology, physics, the human body, and our planet with Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments. From Rock Candy Crystals to Magnetic Fields, each of these fun science projects features easy-to-understand instructions that can be carried out by even the youngest of lab partners, as well as awesome, full-color photographs that guide you through each step. Complete with 30 interactive experiments and explanations for how and why they work, this book will inspire your family to explore the science behind:
  • Chemistry, with Soap Clouds
  • Biology, with Hole-y Walls
  • Physics, with Straw Balloon Rocket Blasters
  • Planet Earth, with Acid Rain
  • The Human Body, with Marshmallow Pulse Keepers
Best of all, every single one of these projects can be tossed together with items around the house or with inexpensive supplies from the grocery store. Whether your kid wants to create his or her own Mount Vesuvius or discover why leaves change colors in the fall, Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments will bring out the mad scientists in your family--in no time!


Miss Grace could not WAIT to start the experiments in this book, as she has decided she wants to be a scientist when she grows up (and cure cancer! I adore her sense of helping others first!). We started with some of the simple experiments, and those that we had the needed items for, in the pantry. Most of the experiments don't require much, but we had limited time due to Irish Dance camp, and I wanted to try a couple before reviewing the book!

marshmallow pulse experiment

The first experiment we tried was Marshmallow Pulse Keepers. I was actually out of the large marshmallows, which would have made it easier. But 3 minis on the toothpick actually worked quite well! It was also a lesson in how substitutions CAN work, if made of the same material! Double science lesson! She was pretty impressed at how well she could see her pulse! It was also good timing, as we had just discussed why you can see your veins more on the underside of your wrist the day before! And bonus, you get to eat your experiment material! LOL.

Next up- Penny Shiners!

penny shiners experiment 1

In this experiment, there are different stages you can conduct. For stage one, you take pennies, salt and vinegar, and mix the 2, then add the pennies, so see what type of chemical reaction you get. As you can tell from the grid above- the pennies were pretty nasty looking when Miss Grace started. And by the end, they were pretty well cleaned! The mix removes the copper oxide buildup! It was a neat way of showing her what happens to copper when exposed to air and and how to reverse it! Stage two was actually cleaning one of the pennies with water and seeing what happens when the acid bath is removed. The penny on the right in the bottom photo looks brand new doesn't it? That's the one that was cleaned! The other one started to get a bluish tint to it, from reacting to the salt water! Just like the State of Liberty! 

penny shiners experiment 2

The next stage was to leave the pennies for a few days in the acid bath to see what happens.But in the meantime, Miss Grace wanted to see if the same bath would work on different coins, like a nickel or a quarter. I explained it might, so off she went to test her theory! As you can see above, the nickle came a little bit clean, but not much. The quarter on the other hand, got partially cleaned, but then formed a ring where the edges were as it was held into the bath. Dad stepped in (!!) and explained the metallic makeup of them both and why/why not regarding the reactions. Miss Grace was thrilled with her new info, and couldn't wait for the last experiment.

penny shiners experiment 3

This is what happens when you leave your penny in the mix for 3 days! Yup- it is literally coming apart! You can SEE the chemical reaction, as the oxygen is being eaten away- all that black stuff? that's part of the penny! Yup- the acid actually will eat away at the penny! We're going to leave the penny in for at least 2 weeks to see if it will totally erode the penny and if it will start bending! Miss Grace is totally into this experiment and can't wait to share it with her friends, as it is SO easy.

Most of the experiments in the book are just this simple. But there are a couple that are a bit more involved  and require a waiting period to see the reaction (like the Banana Balloon and Rock Crystal Candy). Some need to be done outside (like the Mentos Coke Rocket) or adult supervision (Egg in a Bottle). There are 6 Chemistry,6 Biology, 9 Physics, 4 Planet Earth and 5 Human Body experiments. So that is 30 experiments, enough for every other day to so this Summer! And since some require time to expire, you could actually be working on 4 at one time! It would be great to keep a 'Science' journal of the experiments- that way your child would be working on writing, charting, science and drawing, all at the same time! Who said science had to be boring? With this new book it doesn't have to be! We give it our highest education review!

About the Author:
Mike Adamick is the author of Dad's Book of Awesome Projects and a stay-at-home dad who writes for the Adventures in Learning science blog at, theSan Francisco Chronicle, KQED Radio, Disney's parenting website,, and the Daddy Issues column on His work has also appeared in theNew York TimesMcSweeney'sDetails magazine, NPR, and other media outlets.

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