Author Archives: topsecretscience

Touch of Home Rice Shakers

Great activity for all ages.  Made by an adult they are great for infants and toddlers.  In fact these are some of our daughter’s favorite toys. Preschool children each part of this project with supervision.

Here’s what you will need.

  • Empty Water Bottles
  • Rice
  • Food Coloring
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Food Storage Bags
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Baking Tray
  • Wax Paper
  • Glue (optional)

Step One: Empty the water bottle.

Step Two: Color the Rice

  • Put 2 teaspoons of Rubbing Alcohol in each bag (one bag per color)

  • Add 5 to 10 drops of food coloring per bag.
  • To each bag add 1/2 cup of rice.

  • Shake until well coated.
  • Remove from bag onto wax paper lined bakin g tray and let dry.

Step three: Assemble

  • Pour rice into each bottle (one color per bottle or multi-colored)
  • Replace the lid.


  • We squeezed the bottles some before gluing on the lids.  This makes the bottle crinkle better.
  • You can make a funnel with a scrap piece of paper to aid in filling the bottle.


Contest Announcement

“Like” us on Facebook or “Follow Us” on Twitter and be entered to win a Free Event. This is open to people in our local service area (Greater Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky). Your choices:

1. An in-school event at the daycare/school your child attends.
2. A home-school event for up to 10 children
3. You can give the event to a daycare of your choice.
4. An event at your church for the children.
5. A Birthday Party.

Winners will be chosen on October 15, 2010. (One from Facebook and one from Twitter)

Go to the website for more information.

Hands-On Approach

I hear, and I forget
I see, and I remember
I do, and I understand
– Chinese Proverb

Experience is the best teacher.  Learning by doing.  Learning is not a spectator sport.  These are all phrase that could be used to explain hands-on learning.

A hands-on approach to learning is exactly what we like to do at Sara Hickman’s Top Secret Science.  We like to get everyone who wants to be involved with the shows and events involved.

How do we do this?  We let the children do many of the experiments themselves.  We ask questions after questions to get them thinking about the processes happening.  We will test their questions.  For example, during a Kitchen Chemistry class a child asked, “Does baking soda make lemon juice fizz like vinegar?”  A great question!  That child came up and put some baking soda in the lemon juice and found the answer to their question.

To find out for yourself mix equal parts of lemon juice and water to give yourself a good amount of solution.  Drop in around a teaspoon of baking soda.  Remember, it might fizz.  Make sure you are testing this in an area that is easy to clean up or in a large enough container.

We do all sorts of fun activities like these and many others here at Sara Hickman’s Top Secret Science.   Go to our website and check out what we offer.

All week we have been discussing “Waiting for Superman.”  At Sara Hickman’s Top Secret Science we are taking action!

We have launched a program called “Early Risers.”  This program brings our science events to low-income schools and daycares.  If you would like to help out this program you can click here for more information.

Waiting for Superman

Yesterday, Oprah dedicated the entire hour to one movie.  A movie that Oprah, Davis Guggenheim (the director), Bill Gates and many others are hoping will, “revolutionize America’s schools.”

I first heard of “Waiting for Superman” on Twitter,  I watched the same trailer was just moved to tears. How could this be going on in our country? Will it be any better when I send my little girl to school in 5 years?

I had to do something. It just so happens that I have a great tool to help take a stand.  I own a an early childhood education entertainment business.  At Sara Hickman’s Top Secret Science we go to schools and perform entertaining and educational math and science events.  After watching the trailer for “Waiting for Superman” it hit me.  I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and there are plenty of low income schools right here in my area. I am going to take my events to these schools.

I sat down with my leadership team and we made a game plan.  “Early Risers” have a goal to get the children excited about learning math and science and get it started early.  By reaching our goal we hope to remind the teachers how fun teaching and learning can be.  When children are having fun while learning it is a win/win for everyone involved.

Next, what are we going to do.  Low income schools will receive 3 events per year for children PreK to 2nd Grade. The teachers will also receive follow up activities for after “Early Risers” leaves.  The schools pay nothing for these services.

For more information on Early Risers go to

Stay tuned for more about the movement.  If you want to read about Waiting for Superman, Monday’s Oprah episode or Bill Gates opinions on the topic click on the links below.

Waiting for Superman


Bill Gates

National Play Doh Day!

September 18, 2010 is National Play Doh Day.

To celebrate we are going to share our play-dough recipe with you.

You will need the following:
1 1/4 cups Flour
1/4 cup Salt
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/2 cup Elmer’s Glue
1/2 cup Water
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Food Coloring

  • In a bowl mix 1 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup cornstarch.
  • In a second bowl mix 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1/2 cup of glue and 1/2 cup water.
  • Color the glue with food coloring.
  • Knead everything together until smooth.

Enjoy!  Happy Play Dough Day!

What’s Going On?

So what is going on at Sara Hickman’s Top Secret Science?

Today has been a great day here at the laboratories! We went to visit our Kindercare friends today. We found out why oil floats on water. It is “because oil can stand on top of the water because it weighs less.” – 4-year-old girl.  She was right, well sort of. Oil floats on water because it is less dense, or weighs less.

We have also put our birthday party information on our website.  So, be sure to check that out!  Schedule your birthday party now before the dates are all gone!  We would love to party with you!

There is a ton of other information at the website as well!  Such as, information on our in-school laboratories and our “Early Risers” program. The website is  Go there check it out and let us know what you think!

Happy Science-ing!