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  • Koreen Liew-Young

NZ Lockdown Extension and DIY Science

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Yesterday at 3:50 pm, I patiently waited for the news of whether New Zealand would move out of lockdown. While trying to block my five-year-old’s greasy fingers from swiping away on the iPad, Jacinda Ardern took the stand and advised New Zealand would move to Level 3 in one week following ANZAC Day on the 27th April at 11:59 pm.

I felt relieved and hopeful that we can beat this. The curve has flattened. But we must not get complacent yet.

Well, I guess it means of gearing up for another week of my 5-year-old standing at the curb and yelling at other "isowalkers" from across the road: “I DON’T HAVE CORONAVIRUS… DO YOU HAVE CORONAVIRUS???”

Watching him passionately scream at Home Learning TV | Papa Kāinga TV, that McDonald's is an essential service has also been entertaining.

We may laugh that it will take another week to have our treasured takeaways, but the reality is that 12 people did not survive Covid19. Lockdown meant there were many people who could not farewell their loved ones or lost their jobs or some simply don’t know how to get from one day to the next. I look at my family and am thankful we have the resources to get through and I’m humbled by that.

Lockdown for me has been a challenge in other ways, such as staying calm. I have had some spectacular moments as a mummy, including losing the plot at my son (or my husband) as I've been running haggard trying to meet graphic design deadlines or being a bit sleep deprived because the night terrors for my son had returned. The uncertainty of coronavirus and New Zealand's lockdown did my head in and if I can’t get my head around something (especially when I'm tired), I can get a bit pessimistic. At least I have my husband to sub me out from his "WFH" setup. (I applaud all you single parents out there.)

Do what you need to do to get through

I was told by my wise sister in law, every person will respond differently and has different needs and that’s ok. Don’t feel guilty, just get through. And find what works for you. I’ve loosely stuck to our schedule which has given me some stability. Connecting online with Facebook groups with like-minded people also helped when I needed support managing "taboo" emotions such as anxiety. As well as challenging myself to find crafts and DIY science experiments for my son. I changed my focus from getting overwhelmed by all the negativity in the media, to looking for more ways to have a positive outlook on bubble life. As an introvert, I have loved the isolated time, but I've also needed connection. Social media has been fantastic to bring us together, despite being in lockdown and allowed us all to share with each other, hilarious memes, treasured photographs and ways to entertain our kids.

So with that, I will leave you with the next DIY science experiment for you to try using everyday household items. Stay home, stay safe. If you are really struggling emotionally, please message someone you can trust, as we all have to be there for each other. And as Jacinda has said, "Let's finish what we started."

Marshmallow Edible Slime.

I did look up a recipe online for Marshmallow Sunshine slime however due to sticky fingers on D day and not being able to unlock the iPhone, I kind of just winged it. LOL

What you need:

1 cup of marshmallows (I used 7 large baking mallows)

Food colouring

1 T corn starch and extra for moulding

1 T oil

Heres what I did:

  1. Cut up big marshmallows into smaller pieces (I gave my son a little pair of scissors and got him to do a pink batch and a white batch- this killed extra entertainment time)

  2. Put marshmallows in microwave-proof bowl and heat on high at 10 seconds at a time, till it becomes gooey.

  3. Drop food colouring into marshmallow goo as well as corn starch

  4. Sprinkle extra corn starch onto the plate

  5. Roll and knead the dough on the plate until the colour has gone right through. If it still feels sticky, add a bit more cornflour until you get a puffy elastic dough.

Over time, it will get sticky again so add more corn starch.

Then as an absent-minded mum, I put it in a plastic bag and chucked it in the fridge (thinking it will keep longer) only to find it had completely hardened.


So...... I chucked it back in the microwave to soften with oil and heated for 10-second bursts until it became a stretchy goo (more like slime than dough). And as it cooled and was played with more, it became more like a blue tack consistency.

And there you have it, no worries your child eats it, and washes off in warm water and soap.


Here are a few other DIY science experiments I’ve tried during lockdown which you can also try with your kids.

Marshmallow Engineering

Use only marshmallows and toothpicks to build a structure that can stand by itself and be more than one story high. You can see how tall you can go, simulate an earthquake or let the kids just build.


Lemon Volcano

1. Cut top and bottom of a lemon.

2. Carve out the inner part of the lemon with a cutting knife and scoop out zest with a teaspoon.

3. Drop food colouring into the the top of one lemon (it is clearer if you use one colour)

4. Fill lemon with baking soda

5. Use a butter knife to poke lemon to mix and watch the fizzing

6. For extra flow add a couple of drops of detergent and vinegar


Milk experiment

  1. Pour milk in a shallow dish to cover the whole base. (Be sure to use full-fat milk)

  2. Drop different food colourings into milk.

  3. Dip a cotton bud into detergent and then put into the milk.

  4. Watch it go!

Basically, the science behind it is that the detergent breaks the bond between fat and water in the milk. The food colouring makes it easier to see this chemical reaction.


DIY lava lamp

  1. Fill 2/3 glass with vegetable oil.

  2. Fill the remainder of glass with water.

  3. Drop food colouring into the glass, (different size droplets work well)

  4. Drop fizzy Lolly or tablet into the glass and watch the chemical reactions go!

Water is denser (heavier) than oil so it sinks to the bottom. The food colouring also sinks but is soluble in water so it mixes. When you put the fizzy tablet in it creates bubbles which go around the water molecules which makes them rise to the surface. Once they reach the surface the bubbles pop and the water sinks back down creating the lava lamp effect.


Shave foam rain cloud

  1. Spray shaving foam on top of a clear vessel filled with water.

  2. Drop different food colouring into the foam.

  3. Wait for the colours to drop through.

The shaving cream represents a cloud and the water is the atmosphere. How you could explain it to your kids is that the dark clouds in the sky get full and heavy with lots of water droplets, and eventually, they will push through and begin falling to the ground, like in the experiment.

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