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These are the inspiring words of 19-year-old Kiarna… a young woman who grew up in foster care who has faced more adversity than anyone ever should in their early years… who now has the dream to help change the life direction of other children, just like her.
Kiarna was only five years old when she went into foster care. At five years old, life was already so unstable, confusing, and chaotic… but it was all she knew. Her biological mother had struggled with bipolar disorder, and could not give Kiarna the attention and care she desperately craved.
If her childhood wasn’t already challenging enough, it took a heartbreaking turn when her mother died from a drug overdose when Kiarna was just 11, and her father left the picture after the funeral. She has not seen or heard from him since. For an eleven-year-old, life felt lonely and hopeless, and sadly, this was all that she knew.
Living in foster care felt constantly busy with other children in the home, mixed in with appointments and child safety visits. Growing up, Kiarna felt safe, but she also often felt lonely and lost. She felt different from other kids and like she didn’t fit in.
She often questioned her identity and place in this world which no child should ever have to worry about, but this was Kiarna’s reality.
All of these unfortunate events lead to mental health issues for Kiarna which made her teenage years more turbulent.
When Kiarna turned 13, an “Angel” was sent from The Pyjama Foundation. Her name was Dianne, and she reassured Kiarna that she wasn’t alone and that she was there to help guide her, mentor her and be there as a friend.
Dianne made a huge impact on Kiarna’s life. There were many life-defining moments but with her help, Kiarna managed to build her resilience and fight through everything that was thrown her way.
Dianne often read books with Kiarna, helped with homework and other schoolwork she struggled with. Mostly, she was a shoulder to lean and cry on, and an ear to listen to any of Kiarna’s worries or concerns. Life was better, and much more manageable with Dianne by her side.
As Kiarna got older, she became inspired by the work of The Pyjama Foundation and was in awe of volunteers, just like Dianne who wanted to help children in need and make a world of difference.
Now she wants to do the same for another child who may be going through what she went through.
Science activities can be very engaging for kids but may feel daunting if you are trying on your own for the first time. With STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) being incorporated into curriculum, it is important to bring this learning into a child’s home too.
We have created six fun and EASY science activities using common or easy to find household items. You can download the activities by clicking through the links on the images below.
This activity teaches children about sound. The vibrations of the string, caused by movement, travel along the string and are amplified by the hollow cup, which acts as a sounding board. If you cover the open end of the cup, the vibrations from the string are almost silent = no sound).
This activity teaches kids about reaction. The baking soda is a compound called sodium bicarbonate. The vinegar is an acid. When they get mixed together, they react to produce carbon dioxide gas (hence all the bubbly). The detergent helps to trap the bubbles created by the carbon dioxide, so you get much better ‘lava’ from your volcano.
Recycled crayons teaches children about the phases of matter. By heating the crayons, you can change their state from one form to another. Once cooled, the forces are strong enough to hold the particles together again to make a solid. The crayons start out as a solid, the heat melts them into a liquid, then they return to their original state as they cool.
Stringed instruments make a sound when their strings vibrate, that’s why you need to pluck the strings of a harp to hear the notes. The strings make different notes depending on their thickness, the amount of tension they’re under and their length. The sound hole helps to make the sound louder by amplifying the vibrations and allowing the top of the shoebox to vibrate slightly. The pencil raises the strings off the lid so they can vibrate more freely.
This activity educates children on energy transfer. When you pull back the rubber band, you transfer energy to it. The rubber band stores the energy until you let go of it. Once you let go, the rubber band transfers energy to the marshmallow to make it fly through the air.
Here, we learn about oxidation. When you draw your map or message, the lemon juice is absorbed into the paper. By heating the paper, you create a chemical reaction that releases a chemical element called carbon in the juice. When the lemon juice comes into contact with air, and is heated, it turns brown as carbon is released – a process called oxidation.
We hope you enjoy trying these out! What are your favourite science experiments to do?
Is science not for you? How about trying out some of these awesomely engaging edible activities!