Apr 25, 2010

Old tea bags and chalk dust

So, I drink tea like my life depends on it. I live day to day with the knowledge that I am a British stereotype. Love the stuff! Oooooh, love a cup! This means we have an obscene number of used teabags in our sink each day.

As with the post last year on paper making, this activity started with my youngest's curiosity. I throw the used teabags in the sink and then sweep them down the garbage disposal later in the day, but she'd taken to finding them and pulling them apart to play with the tea inside. As with the pulpy toilet roll soup in the bathroom sink, I decided it was time to take this activity outside!



I saved up a couple of days worth of used teabags for the kids to disect and muck around with. Gave them a bunch of kitchen utensils, sieves, bowls, trays and jugs of water, plus a couple of little tea strainers for them to play with.

They had a lot of fun pulling the teabags apart, then mixing the tea leaves up with the water and then straining the mixture through things to collect the leaves again. I threw a few fancy words at them like "sediment" and "filter" and they watched to see how long it took for the tea leaves to settle when you stirred up the clear jug.













With them being interested in that, I thought it might be worth trying to see what happened with finer particles, so I got out the microplane and they grated sidewalk chalk into water too. They got the idea that the fine particles settle more slowly, but by this point there was so much colour and gunge that we just decided to play at "making potions".









All in all about 15 teabags and a three sticks of sidewalk chalk kept them happy for around two hours. I'm diligently saving my used teabags for a repeat performance now. Next time I might give them some sand to put in, so they can see how fast that settles compared to the tea leaves. Also some cloth to strain the mixture through, because they were disapointed that the chalk particles could not be sieved out of the mixture like the tea leaves could.

Right, I'm off to make a cuppa. Kettle's just boiled ;)

Read your fortune from that gross splatty heap of tea leaves if you dare!

25 comments:

MustangShelby said...

That is so COOL! Sorry we missed it. Grungy potion-making and early scientific learning is loads of fun.

rainbowmummy said...

Dude, you're giving me a "I've not noticed the bag burst and I've just taken a gulp" shudder.

Egg loves this too.

Painting/drawing with the tea bags is fun too before opening the bag.

Love from a fellow tea addict ;)

Debbie said...

Wow, what cool activities! I live in England and drink loads of tea, too. I'm going to start saving some back and will try this with my kids when the weather gets a little warmer. Thanks for the idea!

Бесплатно травиан said...

Intrestin

Dee said...

I am in awe at your parenting! I used to do some craft and messyplay with my kids,but nothing as inventive as what you have been dreaming up. wow!

Ticia said...

Man my kids would go nuts with this.

Jen said...

Oh, the chalk idea is cool. What a fun mess.

Sherry and Donna said...

That looks like so much fun. There's noting like a good potion making session is there?
Thanks for sharing this.
Donna :) :)

Teacher Tom said...

I'm not a tea drinker myself, but clearly I'm going to have to ask the school's parents to start saving their tea bags. It will be interesting to scale this project up for an entire class of kids!

Great science teaching, KM!

Elle Sees said...

I didn't even consider tea bags for this...now I'm gonna keep mine and try this out.

janimal said...

What a great idea! I go through an obscene number of teabags every day. PG Tips, mmmmmm. This is another of your projects I'll have to try with my little one. Thanks!

topknot_dragonbane said...

Long time RSSer, first time commenter. Have you ever done staining with tea? You can get some really cool patterns and colors on stretched cotton with tea.

"Potions" used to be one of my favorite games to play when I was little.

Crystal said...

I love this idea! It's so up my alley, as I love finding a mucky mess to occupy my daughter, and I LOVE tea!

trixi said...

Thanks for letting me know the name of that lace. I was hoping some one might recognize it. I'm going to have to do a little bit of research now!
Looks like there's plenty of fun stuff happening at your place.Lucky kids.

donna said...

what i brilliant idea, my 2 have got next thursday off because school is closed for polling day- maybe this would keep them happy for a while.

pgkcb13 said...

Sooo cool. After taking a quick peek I'm already in love with your blog, I'm following so that I can use this stuff when my daughter gets a little older!

Mariela said...

I just found your blog today from the Craft Magazine. I just had to tell you that I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! You are a freaking genius! I don't even have kids (yet) but I enjoyed it so much I went back and read a ton of your posts & nearly wept when I saw your St. David's day one! I'm from the US but spent a semester in Carmarthen, Wales & something about that post reminded me of what I loved about that time - the people, the scenery, the traditions (& the flag - of course!) I had nearly forgotten all about St. David's day! All of my Welsh friends would wear flowers (daffodils?) pinned to their lapels - but I remember them telling me that people used to wear whole leeks! Way to turn it into such a cool craft. I am bookmarking it for the coming years & am now a faithful reader. Keep up the awesome work!!

kawaii crafter said...

I would have never thought of the tea-bag idea in a million years! Once the weather gets nice again, I'll have to let my kids test this out.

Crystal @ Semi-Crunchy Mama said...

Someone posted a link to your blog in a comment on another blog (Metropolitan Mama) and I'm so glad I clicked over! I just spent a good 20 minutes scrolling back through older entries, and added you to my reader. I used to be a preschooler teacher, and now stay home with my son, who's two. I've been adapting so many of the activities that I used to do with my preschoolers to do with a single toddler, and it's always fun to get new ideas!

Megan said...

hey! I still get people linking to my blog from the time you linked to my cakes. :) Thanks! I'd like to invite you to check out my new blog for my cakes:
sweetcakesbymegan.blogspot.com

Thanks and you do AMAZING things with your kids!!

Kimira said...

Hi

Your site has been a nice source for inspiration for my kids. We did the paper pulp activity yesterday and it was really cool.http://anjalicuric.blogspot.com/2010/05/mud-play-and-playground-tales.html.

We also made the newspaper hut http://anjalicuric.blogspot.com/2010/04/earth-day-and-our-newspaper-hut.html

And the swords and several of the stuff that you have put up

Thanks

rhyssa said...

clever!!

Julie said...

I have a recipe around here somewhere that uses coffee grounds in an art dough/ modeling compound sort of thing. I wonder how tea leaves would work.

Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

Fun! I loved making potion when I was a kid. I love tea too, but lately the coffee grounds have been flowing a lot more at our house! :O)

p.s. hi friend & internet hugs!

Max California said...

omg i loved this post untl you mentioned the grating chalk. that just FREAKED me out. I get goosebumps at the thought!

ahah