STEM@Home: Panda-Monium

Baby giant panda Xiao Qi Ji at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Image credit: Smithsonian National Zoo.

Pandas. Are. The. Cutest! Giant pandas? Cute. Red pandas? Cute. Pandas eating bamboo? Cute! Baby pandas? That’s break-the-internet cute. Good news for your cute-o-meter – and bad news for the ‘net – the Smithsonian National Zoo is hosting a live panda event featuring their itt-bitty baby giant panda, Xiao Qi Ji!

Meet Xiao Qi Ji!

Tune in at 1:00 on January 27th for a free livestream event from Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Don’t worry if you miss it – a recording of the event will be available afterwards on the website!

Xiao Qi Ji is about four and a half months old, and like all curious babies, loves to explore. Check out the #PandaStory blog for stories about his favorite toys and videos of Xiao Qi Ji in action. Play is the name of the game for this happy baby! Exploring his surroundings, wrestling with mom, and tumbling about with toys keeps baby Xiao Qi Ji busy.

Learn Like a Baby Panda

Like babies everywhere, play gets them ready to learn skills crucial for their adult lives. One important skill for pandas is using scent to identify different individuals and mark their territory. Although giant pandas have poor eyesight, their acute sense of smell helps them move confidently through their environments. Xiao Qi Ji’s parent pandas love one scent in particular – a spicy-sweet smell called clove. Sound familiar?

Cloves are used in many holiday recipes, from gingerbread to baked hams. You might also taste it in apple pies, festive punch, or chai tea. Mmm! Just thinking about cloves gets us hungry – no wonder the pandas love it! Get your sniffer ready and try these activities designed to help you develop your sense of smell – just like baby pandas do.

Panda Scent Detective

Head over to KC Edventures and get ready to challenge your senses. First, you’ll stretch your powers of observation by setting up a “white tray” of five common, white-colored powders. Pretend you’re a panda with poor vision. Can you tell these substances apart with your just senses of smell, hearing, taste, and touch?

Honed your sense-skills? Time for Challenge #2! Most grocery stores carry a wide variety of ground brown spices that might all look alike, but taste and smell very different from each other. You might even have most of them in your kitchen’s spice drawer already!

Gather cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg and cover their labels. Practice identifying them using just your sense of smell. Try dipping apple slices lightly in the spices and comparing the flavors. Do you have a favorite, like the giant pandas? Let us know! Follow ExploreHope on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to never miss a post.

Love exploring our world, inside and out? Do we have a summer camp for you! Hope Summer Science Camps has over 20 years of experience giving kids the hands-on science explorations of your dreams. Check out the Science Camps page on our website for safety updates, camp schedule, and registration links. We are excited to see you this summer!

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