Friday, 1 March 2013

Invisible Ink And Secret Messages

It was enormously gratifying to hear Francesca skipping out of her violin lesson today declaring that she had had such a brilliant day. "I haven't done anything I didn't want to do! I even wanted to do violin!" Wow.

Her lesson went well and her teacher has selected one of her exam pieces to make a start on this week.

We didn't do an official violin practice this morning but, as we had friends round, Francesca got out the violin, unbidden, and gave an impromptu concert, which was nice, not least because it was in the other room(!)

With the friends, there were 8 children round my dining table this morning. Their mums had brought some delicious baking round for snacks but we did manage to do some 'work' before the food.

We did some 'secret messages' and made some 'invisible ink'.

The secret messages were prepared in advance, by me. They consisted of drawings done in white wax crayon, which could be revealed by colouring over them with felt pen. I think everyone enjoyed that, except the two year olds who didn't quite have the staying power for such intensive colouring in.

Once my 'secret' pictures had been revealed, the children had a go at making their own.

I then showed them some ostensibly blank peices of paper, on which I had written things in 'invisible ink'. Actually, the writing wasn't as invisible as I'd hoped and I was waiting for the older children to read out the words, but they didn't (thanks!) I had tried to disguise the words by adding extra squiggles in plain water.

We had to develop the messages using heat. My radiators and hair drier weren't up to the task so I popped them in the oven for 10 minutes at quite a high temperature, whereupon the messages were clearly revealed, showing what had been used to write them in each case.

Then we had a go a making our own invisible inks using:
  • lemon juice
  • milk
  • vinegar
  • sodium bicarbonate solution
  • onion juice
  • sugar solution
  • soap solution
It was fun! I wish I'd got pictures of them all sitting round the table working enthusiatically. There was also a wonderful interlude of quiet chomping when the flapjacks and melting moments came out...

At another time during the day, Francesca, completely without prompting, took out her seeds project and helped herself to a piece of plain paper. She then neatly wrote and underlined a title "Wake up Littel Seeds" and drew a wonderful flowering plant, with soil and some orange blobs which are probably worms. Underneath, she ruled some lines for writing and paraphrased the worksheet that she had done last week, about the plant needing sunlight and water and soil. I am amazed at her presentation skills - all so neat! Much more artistic than me, perhaps. This, she said, was her English work for the day. It wasn't much but at least she was keen.

Both girls did some maths on the apps.

We walked up the the High Street for milk and Sebastian walked there and back - no pushchair! Then we all walked to violin - No Pushchair!! Liberating :)


  1. Another great report.

    Thank you for sharing it!

    Intrigued that the seed project is so appealing.

  2. The invisible ink is really very impressive. Sounds as if the activity went down very well.