Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Lemon juice concentrate
- Small cups for participants to share
- Cotton swabs or thin paintbrushes
- Blank white paper, four pages per participant
- Two or three toasters
- Magic markers
Preparation for Activity
- Do a trial run of this activity. Write on paper with lemon juice concentrate, using a cotton swab or a thin paintbrush, and heat the paper in a toaster oven until the writing appears.
- If the electric system in your building is old, set up the toasters in the meeting space in advance. Place the toasters near each other on a table and plug them in. Turn them all on, to make sure that you won't blow any fuses in your session.
- Take four sheets of blank white paper. Write "I'm good at... " on the top of one, "I love to... " on the top of another and "My favorites... " on the top of the third. On the fourth page write "My Magical Me Book," on the top and "By ____" on the bottom. Photocopy all four pages for all participants, collated with the "My Magical Me Book" page on top. Do not staple them at this time.
- Place small cups and cotton swabs or paintbrushes at work tables. Pour a small amount of lemon juice concentrate into each small cup.
Description of Activity
Gather the children at work tables and say, in your own words:
In the story, when the children heard that someone in their class was a messiah, they began to notice good things about each other because they thought one of them was very special, and they wondered which one. Then they learned that all of them were special, just like all of you. Today we're going to think about some of the things we love to do and some of the things we're good at and make books about ourselves using appearing ink.
Invite the children to dip a cotton swab or paintbrush into the lemon juice concentrate and write with it on the appropriate pages about things they love to do and are good at and their favorites (favorite color, food, sport). They may use the markers to draw a picture of themselves on the front cover.
The lemon juice will be invisible. Encourage them to use it sparingly. The wetter the paper gets, the longer a mark will take to appear when heated. As they finish a page they can bring it to the toasters, where an adult will place it over the toaster and turn the toaster on. As you watch, the heat from the toaster will dry the lemon juice, causing the image or words to appear on the paper. You may need to move the paper around a bit to dry all areas of the paper. Be patient - it can take a few moments for the marks to appear.
NOTE: This activity has a magical quality to it when the lemon juice writing "magically" appears with heat. It does, however, require adequate time and require close supervision, as unattended paper can catch on fire. Be sure you have ample time and sufficient adult volunteers to monitor the toasters.
As the children complete their pages, allow them to staple the four pages into a booklet and share their booklets with one another before taking them home.
Including All Participants
Children this age have a wide-range of writing abilities. Offer the option of drawing pictures with the lemon juice rather than writing words. If a child finds it particularly challenging to write or draw with the lemon juice, offered the option of using the color markers for some or all of their pages.