World Book Day. Three small words that put the fear of God into huge numbers of parents. For those of you whose children are not yet old enough to be involved in World Book Day, it is a a day created by some clever PR bod to encourage children to read at home. Almost all primary schools take part, requesting children dress up as a favourite character from a story book. This year is the first that my son has been able to participate. Having seen scores of older children walk by our home on the way to school over the last few years on World Book Day, Bonkers Boy was ever so slightly over excited about the prospect of wearing his own costume this year.
Initially Bonkers Boy informed me that he wanted to dress as a fireman. To be fair his most prized possession is a book detailing the history of the fire brigade, which more often than not, he falls asleep clutching. However I didn’t feel him throwing on the fireman’s outfit that he changes into pretty much every day when he arrives home from school, was really in keeping with the spirit of the day. I am sure my enthusiasm may wane somewhat over the next few years, but for this year at least I felt that my son and I should put a little thought and effort into the character that he was going to be.
During half term, with Granny and Grandpa out of action and my husband working all week I decided to introduce some science experiments to my children as much to entertain myself as them. I found a recipe on Pinterest for an erupting snow experiment so we set about creating our own snow. It was awesome. Both Bonkers Boy and Giddy Girl were enthralled by the magic of throwing together a few everyday ingredients collected from around the house. They took turns adding things to the mix and throwing their hands in to test the temperature and I swear they didn’t bicker once.
Keen to build upon this new found sibling unity I decided we should go off recipe and throw in some extra things to extend the fun/peace. It was at this point I reached for the food colouring. They took turns in choosing which colour to add next and we ended up with a cold, frothing, purple sweet scented mess. I asked Bonkers Boy what he thought it looked like. Quick as a flash he said the medicine from George’s Marvellous Medicine. It surprised me that he’d even remembered this story. I’d read it to him last Summer, after finding his daddy’s very old copy in a moving box. I asked Bonkers Boy to tell his little sister what happened in the story and asked him to recall what George threw into his mixture. Much to my astonishment he recounted the story in great detail. I was thrilled that this story had left such an impression on him and suggested that he dress up as George for World Book Day. He excitedly agreed so I began planning how we could create a simple costume. I had ideas of an old pan filled with different coloured tissue paper and a wooden spoon and a retro medicine bottle. Genius. A very simple, not too try hard costume sorted.
Shame that four days ago my very fickle five year old decided that he’d prefer to go as Harry from Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs. Cue a frantic hunt for a bucket, and a rummage through the toy baskets. Still we’ve always got the idea for George lined up for next year.
Just in case you fancy having a go at creating some erupting snow or taking the experiment a step further and concocting your own marvellous medicine, I’ve detailed the method below.
George’s Marvellous Medicine Recipe
bicarbonate of soda
Squirt a tube of shaving foam into a large bowl (a washing up bowl would be ideal)
Add a tub of bicarbonate of soda and sprinkle with glitter
Then the fun begins. Start to slowly add the vinegar a slosh at a time and stand back to see the vinegar react with the other ingredients. My two helpers squealed with delight at this point.
They loved how it actually felt cold like snow and frothed up in an uncontrolled manner. The more vinegar we added the more it erupted.
Finally if you’re feeling really reckless/slightly unhinged reach for the food colouring and let them have even more fun transforming the frothy mixture into their very own marvellous medicine.