Science With Kids + Penny Frame Craft

March is crazy busy this year. This week I have both kids’ birthdays and my wedding anniversary to celebrate! Then Easter at the end of the month…I kinda feel like one of my favorite holidays is getting the shaft: St. Patrick’s Day! Do you have any St. Patrick’s Day traditions? We always have a green pancake breakfast, complete with green milk and anything else kids will eat if dyed green. Today I want to share another idea – a kids craft with a little science mixed in! It’s perfect for St. Patty’s since pennies can be lucky…

Time to get real, folks. Here’s how this idea came about. Last week I had one of those days. One of those weeks. I had to unplug the TV because my kids were crying so much about which Netflix show to watch next. I wanted to throw the iPad in the trash…or maybe steal it for myself and hide under the covers watching some mindless teen drama. I needed to DO something with those cute kids of mine. Something technology-free.
Sometimes I hide from my kids. Don’t tell!
Enter today’s project. I thought we would do a little “science” mixed in with the crafting. This is about as science-project as I get. I got out our big can of loose change and let the kids pick out pennies to get all shined up.
Here’s the recipe to get your old, dingy pennies looking shiny and new!

1. Stir 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of white vinegar together in a small bowl.
Drop 5 pennies in and count to ten while they soak.
2. Take the pennies out and rinse well in clean water. (We just dunked them in a separate water bowl.)
3. Let the pennies dry on a paper towel.

I like to ask the kids questions while we experiment : such as, “What do you think will happen when we put the pennies in?” “What are pennies made out of?” With young ages it’s all about exploring. We don’t get into too much scientific reasoning :)

This is really all about shine. It won’t take a brown penny to a brand-new copper penny. Still, the kids had a great time and since there are no harsh chemicals I felt comfortable having even my littlest help out. Here is a fun before/after – we held pennies just halfway in the solution for 15-20 seconds and rinsed. I loved seeing the difference!

We wanted to make something with all our shiny pennies, so I grabbed what I had on hand. An old 4×6 frame, scrapbooking paper (DCWV) and stickers (American Crafts).

5 minutes and a few hot-glue burns later (for me, not the kids)
and we had a fun St. Patty’s Decoration to put up!
My daughter is learning to spell her name, so she made this version all by herself.
She was so excited to find the letters in Bella!
Looking for more Kids Art Ideas?

Here’s one of our favorites:

Spray-Bottle Silhouette Art


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  1. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I wanted to do something for St. Patrick’s Day with my three year old. I was looking for something fun and easy, since he doesn’t really understand St. Patty’s Day yet. This was perfect! He loves finding pennies (even though he calls all change “pennies”) and he had a blast making them shiny. Thanks again!

    • says

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! It’s so nice to hear that someone uses an idea (especially one I thought maybe no one would like) and it works! Hope you had a great St. Patty’s Day!


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