Tag Archives: science

Six Science Investigations for Summer

4 Aug shutterstock_417289936

Curious how your children can get more involved in science learning this summer? Take advantage of the time off from school to tap into children’s natural curiosity with scientific investigations at home! Whether little ones want to catch up, get ahead, or just have fun, summer is the perfect time for creative, scientific play.

1. Kitchen Creations

Change things up by encouraging children to play with their food! Together, you can make something edible or make food discoveries just for fun. You may want to try the marshmallow challenge: make a marshmallow sink by compacting it so that it is more dense than the water in which it would normally float. Check out more science experiments for the kitchen here:

kitchen-science-roundup1

Source: Makes and Takes

2. Grow Up

Use the summer sun to help practice planting and gardening! You can grow a whole garden outdoors, or keep a small potted plant on a windowsill inside to study with children. What do plants need to grow? Depending on what you plant, how high will it grow? Find out those answers and more with these gardening ideas here:

seedlings

Source: PBS Parents

3.Sponge Fun

Learn about absorption with a sponge! See how the sponge absorbs soap and water indoors, or take it outside to get messier! Compare the sponge to a block or other non-absorbent materials when it is both wet and dry. Why do you think it works like this? You can even turn chores, like washing dishes or a car, into a lesson about absorption. Check out the details of how absorption works and more fun facts about this activity here:

dsc_5546-1024x685

Science Sparks

4. Tornado in a Jar

Jump into sensory play by creating your own tornado! All you need is a jar, water, and a little bit of dish soap. Now, just shake it up. For more detailed instructions, click on the jar!

dsc_0008181

In Leiu of Preschool

5. Stargazing

If it’s a clear night, search for stars in the night sky! You can use a telescope or just look up above. Can you see planets? Any constellations? What are stars made up of? Here are the answers and some cool science facts for kids. Go even deeper into night sky exploration by checking out our related post: Planning a Family Stargazing Night.

constellations

Easy Science for Kids

6. Fireflies

Can’t see the stars from where you are? Fireflies make a great summertime substitute! You can catch these little critters temporarily in acute bug jar (with a hole for airflow) to observe the bugs up close. Find out what makes fireflies glow and other cool facts about fireflies here:

708px-photinus_pyralis_firefly_4

Smithsonian

For more summer science fun, visit our science section!

Three Science Adventures for Spring!

22 Mar

85431.jpg

 Spring is here and with it comes sunny days for outdoor exploration! Foster children’s natural curiosity into inquisitive engagement with the outdoors with three of our favorite science adventures for spring:

1. Rainbow Sprinkler

Science Objectives: observation, classification, communication.

What to Do: 

  1. Turn on the garden hose and adjust its nozzle so that water comes out in a fine spray.
  2. Hold the hose nozzle so it shoots straight up in the air. If possible, find a way to attach the hose to a chair or some other stationary object, so you do not need to hold it. (Bathing suits before hand is always a great option!)
  3. Tell children that they might be able to observe a rainbow as the sun’s rays strike the water droplets in the spray. Suggest that children move around the spray and look for a rainbow. You will have to experiment to find the best angle to see rainbow colors. (This experiment is best on very sunny days!)
  4. After the children spend some time observing the rainbow, talk about ROY G. BIV, the mnemonic device for remembering the rainbow color order.
  5. Next, put out a set of crayons whose colors appear in rainbows, and put them in the rainbow order. Once the children do this, invite them to draw a rainbow with the crayons or chalk, or to make a picture that uses rainbow colors.

Source: Science Adventures Nature Activities for Young Children! 

80869b.jpg

2. Riding Toys in the Yard

Science Objective: classification, measuring, identifying and controlling variables.

 What to Do:

  1. Bring the children out to an inclined riding area. Encourage children to help you draw a chalk line along the ground part of the way down the incline. Tell children this is the starting line, then using the yardstick, help the children make additional marks going down the hill.
  2. Talk with children about momentum. Use the example of how a tricycle will continue to roll along after its rider stops pedaling. Tell little ones that by experimenting with this idea, they can learn to determine which riding toys roll the farthest and how certain variables can affect the distances the objects roll.
  3. Ask your child to pedal a tricycle up to the chalk starting line, then to stop pedaling and coast to a stop. Invite children to use the chalk marks to measure how far the tricycle traveled.
  4. Ask children to think of ways they might increase the distance the tricycle coasted, such as having another child push the rider from behind, or having the rider pedal harder. Other suggestions include having a smaller or larger child as the rider or oiling the wheels. Record the children’s suggestions, and then help them try each suggestion from the list one at a time and compare the results.
  5. If other riding toys are available, invite children to compare them to the tricycles, then rate the various riding toys based on how far each coasted.

Want to Do More?

  • Invite children to test out their favorite riding toys to expand the variety of objects they compare.
  • Bring children to a steeper slope, repeat the activity, and discuss with the children what differences they notice between the two inclines.
  • Help children build a simple racetrack, and invite them to measure the differences in time it takes the various vehicles to complete the track.

Source: Science Adventures Nature Activities for Young Children! 

3. Clear Containers and a Sunny Day

Science Objectives: observing and classifying.

What to Do:

  1. On a clear day, select a sunny spot and ask children to help you fill a few clear plastic containers or bottles with water, making sure to reattach the lids securely.
  2. Line up the clear water-filled containers so the sun will hit them all at the same time.
  3. Point out to children the shapes and colors the sun makes when the light passes through the water-filled containers.
  4. Encourage the children to pick up the containers and move them to see how the sunlight passing through makes different shapes as they move the container.
  5. Ask kids to describe what they see when the sunlight hits the containers. Ask them to pick which containers they think generate the best light patterns. Ask, “Do all the containers show shapes and patterns?” Encourage children to describe the different ways the various containers affect the light.

Want to Do More?

  • Fill several colored containers and bottles with water and set them out for children to look through. Ask the children to describe the differences between how these containers affect the light, as opposed to the clear containers.
  • Provide plastic or glass prisms for the children to use and compare.

Source: Science Adventures Nature Activities for Young Children! 


Did you enjoy these science experiments for your kids? Find even more outdoor activities in Science Adventures Nature Activities for Young Children! 

 

 

 

 

10 Fun and Educational Science Toys for Kids

27 Jan

Children like to ask questions because they are naturally curious, but the questions they ask aren’t always easy to answer. This is especially true for questions kids ask about science-related topics, such as why the sky is blue or how birds can fly. You may or may not know the answers to your kids’ questions, but there are plenty of resources and tools you can use to find the answers. We’ve come up with a list of educational science toys that can help you answer their most challenging questions while also helping them learn about the world around them:

Where does my shadow sleep

1. Where Does My Shadow Sleep?

This parent’s guide will help you explore science with your kids. The book features a variety of stories and activities that cover multiple science themes and reading concepts. Children can learn about animals and plants and investigate why their shadow gets bigger and smaller during the day.

Weather Bear Set2. Weather Bear Set

This is the perfect way to introduce younger kids to early weather concepts. The set includes a cuddly bear and four seasonal outfits to help your children learn about the weather and how to dress for different seasons. This is also a great way to encourage children to pick out their own outfits and dress themselves.

Geosafari3. GeoSafari® Jr. Talking Bug Net™

Do your kids ask a lot of questions about insects? If so, kids can learn interesting bug facts with this educational toy by choosing one of the included toy bugs and dropping it into the net. The Talking Bug Net also asks kids quiz questions about the facts they have learned.

Backyard Birds4. Backyard Birds

If your children are fascinated with the birds they see in your backyard or enjoy watching them from the window, Backyard Birds is a great way for kids to learn what blue jays, robins, and cardinals look like and the sounds they make. Each Backyard Bird sings authentic sounds and songs when you press their back.

Creature Peeper5. Creature Peeper

If your kids would rather study real bugs to learn about insect characteristics, then the Creature Peeper is a great choice. Children can keep insects in the bug viewer for a short time as they study its characteristics or take it for show and tell. The escape proof, watertight viewer also allows kids to study tadpoles or small fish.

Rocks and Fossils6. Rocks and Fossils

Are your kids interested in rocks or other archaeological items? Kids can learn about a variety of gemstones, rocks, fossils, marine life, and sea shells with this set of Rocks and Fossils. This is a great discovery tool for kids and will help them learn and identify objects found in water or on land.

Walking Tightrope7. Koontz™ Walking Tightrope

Children who are curious about balance, gravity, and mass would enjoy learning how acrobats stay balanced with the Koontz™ Walking Tightrope. This educational toy will help children understand that acrobats must position their center of mass over the center of their body in order to stay balanced as they are performing.

Enviro Battery8. Enviro Battery

If your kids are interested in learning how to make things run, Enviro Battery is a good choice because it helps children learn about power sources and alternative energy. Kids learn to create unique batteries that can light bulbs and power watches with everyday household items.

Nancy B's Science Club9. Nancy B’s Science Club Crime Solver Scope & Forensic Activity Journal

Kids will enjoy learning how to solve mysteries with forensic techniques, such as fingerprinting, hair identification, counterfeit money detection, and surveillance. The Crime Solver Scope can help kids examine evidence or serve as a telescope.

Very First Magnet Kit10. Very First Magnet Kit

Kids who are interested in learning about magnetism and how magnets work will enjoy the Very First Magnet Kit. Children can use the magnetic wand or horseshoe magnet to pick up magnetic marbles, paper clips, and other objects.

12 Days of Learning | Day 1: Decorating Fun

29 Nov

12Days_Blog_0000_Layer Comp 1

Many people, especially kids, love decorating for the holidays because the festive wreaths, Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations are symbols of the holiday season and heighten the anticipation of Christmas morning. Decorating for the holidays can provide plenty of educational opportunities for your kids and is also the perfect opportunity for your family to spend time together. We have some great tips to help make decorating fun and educational for your family:

1. Decide which decorations are best for your family.

The age of your children will help determine which decorations you should put up for the holidays. Young children, especially those becoming more mobile, will require extra safety measures to ensure that they don’t break something or injure themselves. One good safety measure to remember while you’re decorating is to make sure you put kid-friendly ornaments closer to the bottom of your Christmas tree if you have young children. You can still decorate the tree with delicate or glass ornaments, but you need to place them closer to the top of the tree to ensure that children can’t reach them.

If you’re worried your children might accidentally topple the tree over, try to place it in a room where you can shut the door to prevent kids from entering without an adult. You could even make that room a special holiday room in which your family spends time listening to Christmas music or reading holiday stories. If you use garland to decorate, make sure you secure it properly or place it where kids can’t reach because they may accidentally tear it down. You should be able to use a variety of decorations if your children are older. Just make sure that they understand any rules you may have, such as them not being able to light candles without an adult present.

2. Ask kids for their decorating ideas.

Kids can come up with some really creative ideas, so ask them for their input on where things should go or what decorations they would like to see. Being able to help decorate their home will add to kids’ excitement for the holidays and can help them start their own traditions. You can ask kids to pick out the Christmas tree topper or come up with a fun table centerpiece. It’s also a good idea to let children pick a few decorations they want to put in their own room. A small Christmas tree, Christmas rug, or a plush and cuddly snowman would be a great addition to a child’s bedroom during the holidays.

3. Create an ornament tradition.

Ornaments are a major part of holiday decorations, so come up with an ornament tradition that your whole family will love. One idea is to pick out or make an ornament for each of your children every year. When children are old enough, they can then pick out or make their own ornament. This would make a great family time activity and will give your children a collection of ornaments they can hang on their own Christmas tree when they are older. You could also purchase or make a family ornament each year and personalize it with pictures, names, or important dates and events.

shutterstock_123550264

4. Incorporate science lessons while decorating.

There are a plethora of science lessons you can incorporate while decorating with your kids. As you decorate the Christmas tree, for example, talk about how it grew and ask children what they notice about its characteristics. Can they describe the texture, color, or smell? You could even take your children to a Christmas tree farm, so they can see where the trees come from while they pick one to take home. If you have an artificial tree, you can still talk to children about real Christmas trees or other Christmas plants, such as poinsettias and holly. Talking to kids about electricity and light bulbs in relation to Christmas lights is another science lesson you can incorporate while decorating with your kids. Ask them where they think electricity comes from or what they think makes Christmas lights so pretty.

shutterstock_783684

5. Come up with kid-friendly decorating tasks.

One great way to engage children and keep them occupied while you’re doing some of the more difficult holiday decorating tasks is to give them some of their own tasks to do. Have them complete a centerpiece bowl or basket by filling them with pine cones, beads, ornaments, candles, candy canes, or other small Christmas items. You can also have them stick bows onto presents or have them practice tying bows or making their own designs with ribbons. Another great idea is to have them make their own decorations or greeting cards to hang around the house. Consider purchasing a variety of art supplies to help your kids create their decorative masterpiece and to keep them engaged during the upcoming winter months.

6. Have a special holiday decoration for each of your kids.

Having their own decoration or holiday tradition will help children feel more involved in the holidays and increase their excitement for Christmas. Consider giving children a Christmas train set, holiday village, ornament set, or holiday stocking for them to put up every year. This helps children know what their decorating task will be and gives them something to look forward to each year. Regardless of which decorations your family chooses to put up, taking the time to include kids in the decorating fun will make the holiday season more enjoyable for the whole family.

Check back on Monday for Day 2 of our 12 Days of Learning!

Happy Holidays!