Sunday, February 1, 2015

Going a Little Mad!Science Experiments and Activities the Whole Family Will Love: Part 2- Creating the Atmosphere

The one thing that really made our party a hit was the atmosphere I created for it within our house, and I'm not talking about ozone layers and that type of thing. I will heartily admit, it took a good week and a lot of hard work, but our downstairs went from every day house to a grand laboratory ready for our little scientists.

You are going to want to think way outside the box here when it comes to decorating. Things that are creepy, crawly, and unusual are perfect for props and displays. I'm lucky enough to have some shelves scattered through our house and all I did was come up with fun collections to display on them. If you can, start saving up bottles and jars as you empty them because they are truly some great and cheap ways to make the house look more like a lab.

Case in point, this fun "specimen" display I had by our front door. It really wasn't too hard. All I did was save a couple of jam jars and a pasta sauce jar. Then I made sure to clean them off really well. For the more stubborn labels it was amazing what an overnight soak with cooking oil and a hot soapy bath after could do. Just a few scrubs with a Magic Eraser and off they came! Once cleaned off, I found an old rubber snake and a frog bath toy to put into two of them. Then I added various drops of food coloring and filled them at different levels with water and hello specimen jars! Oh, yeah, and that funky silver thing in the back, yep, a martini shaker. But like I said, think outside the box!

Here is another example of crazy containers and objects from around our house. Once again, I put empty bottles to use and filled them up with food coloring and water. For the ones without lids, I just put some Press 'n Seal on the top and it worked like a charm. Along with the bottles on the mantle is a funky red vase, a hand held sieve, and a huge metal food strainer I use once in a blue moon. I managed to make a fun birthday banner just using Word with a New Rocker font and fun Clip Art icons I found when doing a "science" search. Finally, a strand of Halloween lights worked their magic for some funky visuals. 

And this just happens to be a funky bottle dryer from my husband's beer brewing supplies. Did a great job adding in an odd, yet cool look to the munchies table.

The biggest "wow" room in the house was our dinning room, which I turned into a black light driven experiment room. I knew it would be where we would do the first few experiments and also where the kiddos could chow down on their DIY sundaes toward the end of the party. So it really got the most time and attention in creation mode.

This was step one to getting our dining room black light ready. After reading all those old Victorian Gothic novels and visiting old homes, stained glass windows are practically a must for lighting for any self respecting mad scientist. This was just a matter of using construction paper under the grid divider to our windows. It helps dim the light in the room and create neat spots of color when the sun is shinning through. All I had to do for a better black light room was to tape two thick construction grade garbage bags to the top of the windows. When we were ready to get the room going for the sundae bar, down came the bags, and this beautiful color display was ready and waiting!

Again, I cannot stress how using things around the house really ended up being the best way to go. I made a super banner for over our dinning room entry with the same font as mentioned before. To help keep the majority of sunlight from our living room out of the dinning room, I just took 3 large construction grade garbage bags, slit them up either side, unfolded them, and then with some black duct tape and command hooks, created a blackout screen. It created an air of mystery for when the guests first arrived and it really did help do the trick. I just had to make one more blackout curtain for the smaller door between our kitchen and dinning room and the results are as follows...

Plastic neon items will glow under the power of a black light
Two of our experiments used black light friendly items to make it just that much cooler to do!
This is what our little scientists saw when they first entered the "Laboratory" and you can be sure that "oooohs" and "ahhhs" were a popular response from both kids and parents. 

And make sure to wear some white!

The last big thing to get set up in our house was the sundae bar in the dinning room. It was just a matter of creating another easy banner, stringing up some Halloween lights, and finding some fun containers for the "fixins" we served at the bar. 
As you can see our fixins got a little extra touch of science with some fun periodic table inspired labels. No, they are most certainly not accurate but it was a fun way to make something as simple as M&Ms look pretty darn experimental at the end of the day. It's those little touches that helped carry the mad science feel through the entire party. Even the cupcakes got a fun touch with a great packet I found on Amazon. 

So good luck and have fun with it! If it's crazy or weird, chances are good it will be the perfect fit for the Mad Scientist atmosphere for you party.