Five-year-old Sophie eyed the snake suspiciously. Then, summoning her courage, she held out her arms. The slender orange snake coiled around one arm while Sophie used her other hand to grip its head. She grinned over at her mom, who was watching from a safe distance.
Alex holds a snake.
All of this was part of a Colorado church’s summer program meant to encourage kids to explore science.
On Wednesday nights, folks from Crestview Christian Reformed Church in Boulder, Colo., gathered for dinner from the grill, followed by a kid-friendly event. Sometimes that was a bike ride for ice cream; other times it was all about “Crazy Science.”
“‘Crazy Science’ . . . is a reflection of our congregation,” said Art DeBruyn, senior pastor at Crestview. “We have a disproportionate number of scientists and engineers. We decided to take advantage of that and ask the all the scientists if they would be interested in sharing a kid-friendly science experiment. The response was enthusiastic.”
Kids young and old were able to hold snakes, launch water rockets, explore a homemade telephone device, and guess the mass of colored liquids that were eventually dropped from the church roof.
All of the experiments were designed and run by church attendees. Some of them are professional scientists; for others science is more of a hobby.
“We love sharing our passion for God’s creation,” said Sarah Orlofske. “As biologists, our goal was to introduce kids to amphibians and reptiles. We believe that it is important for people to get hands-on experiences with animals and learn to respect and not fear them.”
The passion of the scientists resulted in a lot of excitement from the kids. “This is way better than the science we do at school,” exclaimed Sydney, age 8.