Under Pressure: Water Bottle Science Tricks


My girl showed me an awesome trick today: by twisting a nearly-empty water bottle at its middle, you can make the water inside it boil. Watch out for that lid when it pops, not to mention the escaping steam! We recommend trying this outside, and wearing the wrapper like an upcycled wristband. ;)

Two other neat tricks to try:

Take an empty plastic water bottle through airport security before your next flight. They will make you throw it away if there’s any liquid in it, but once you’re through security you can fill it up again. When you’ve finished the water, and while still at cruising altitude, and take off the lid to allow some lower-pressure air inside. Screw the lid back on tightly. The bottle will compress or even collapse as you land into what should be a higher air pressure area. “Mama’s Little Book of Tricks” suggests telling your kids you will crush it with your mind. While they observe the bottle, you’ll observe how quiet they are. You can explain the science later. :)

And here’s one I wrote about on my old blog: how to make a cloud in a bottle. In short, put the lid on a just-emptied water bottle, and set it in a sunny window where the water inside will evaporate. When that’s done, add a bit of smoke from a just-blown out match, then put the lid back on again. Then give it a squeeze and let go. The air pressure inside the bottle will drop and a tiny cloud will form. Or, you may already have a cloud, which will disappear when you apply pressure to the bottle. Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Cloud in a Bottle


Six kids means you’ll see more birthday posts, and today’s birthday boy happens to be six himself. I’m liking the idea of a birthday haiku for each kid, and in fact will need to backfill for two others and write two more still before the year is out. But for our toast-loving young man of the hour:

Strawberry jelly
And such imagination
Make you player one

Happy birthday the little guy who lives in his own great big world.


A haiku for Mary’s Birthday

Here’s to Miss Mary
My little philosopher:
Old soul and young heart.

Today she’s with her dad celebrating her twelfth birthday. In some ways it seems she’s been thirty something since she first learned to talk. In other ways she’s delightfully young, unscathed by society and its expectations.

Twelve terrifies me. I remember how incredibly difficult that year was for me. But Mary is strong.


I know she’ll change. I know teen years are terribly hard. But she will get through. May she continue becoming the wonderful person she’s always been!

(A little speech about life, from nearly half her lifetime ago)


Last night Ethan and Mary started working with the littles on math. We got quite a bit of joy out of hearing the five year old grok questions like these: “So, if there are fifteen oranges in each bag, and you have zero bags, how many oranges do you have?”

And when our eight year old girl, who struggled with math last year, smugly asked, “What if there are seven oranges in each bag, and you don’t know how many bags there are?? How many oranges then?” … it was a glorious thing to see Ethan graph the solution, and watch her eyes grow wide with wonder and understanding.

I’d like to see more of that. So in addition to rebooting pebbles, we are rebooting out old math games as well. The ensuing conversation in this morning’s meeting made me laugh:

Me: “I’d also like to play some math games with you, so math can become easy and fun for you.”

R: “Awee… do we have to do math every second?”

E: “No, not every second. Otherwise you’d be doing math sixty times per minute, and 3,600 times per hour…”

I lol’d.