A nature journal is a great way to encourage kids to be creative and really pay attention to what’s going on around them. All you need is a blank journal (you can buy one or make your own) along with something to write with. Then just go outside and encourage your children to write or draw what they notice. This could include descriptions of animals they see, tracings of leaves, a drawing of a beautiful flower, etc. Encourage your kids to ask questions about what they observe (Why do birds need to build nests? Why is this flower so brightly colored?) and explain to them that scientists collect research by doing exactly what they’re doing now.
This solar energy science experiment will teach kids about solar energy and how different colors absorb different amounts of energy. In a sunny spot outside, place six colored pieces of paper next to each other, and place an ice cube in the middle of each paper. Then, observe how quickly each of the ice cubes melt. The ice cube on the black piece of paper will melt fastest since black absorbs the most light (all the light ray colors), while the ice cube on the white paper will melt slowest since white absorbs the least light (it instead reflects light). You can then explain why certain colors look the way they do. (Colors besides black and white absorb all light except for the one ray color they reflect; this is the color they appear to us.)
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This Rainbow Skittles science experiment can be done in seconds, making it a great way to try science at home even with the most easily distracted of toddler-sized assistant. All you’ll need to do is arrange Skittles in a circle on a plate and fill the middle with warm water. Then sit back and watch as the colours drain and mix with the water, creating a cool rainbow pattern in front of your eyes. Plus, any bonus Skittles = a tasty treat for you.
When these nails and copper wires collide, heat is generated (psst ... heat is a result of expended energy, so you can explain to your little runner why he feels warmer after a race around the house). But with some potato magic, the properties of the nail and copper stay separated, allowing the heat to become the electric energy needed to power up your devices. Build your own potato battery with this tutorial from PBS Kids.
There are loads of different science kits to choose from and we know it can be confusing sometimes which types are ideal for younger children to begin experimenting with. Therefore we have picked some really cool experiment kits. In this review, we have reviewed a whopping 32 science kits that stand out as the best overall, so choosing couldn’t be easier. All have an appropriate age guide so you can’t go wrong with picking.
My First Mind Blowing Science Kit also comes with cool scientific tools like test tubes, pipettes, stirring sticks, and measuring scoops that will make your child feel like a real chemist. Not only will they learn important skills in conducting experiments, they will also learn the basics of acids and bases. While none of the experiments are particularly messy, it’s safer to perform them on a flat surface with adult supervision.
If your kids are curious about how animals like polar bears and seals stay warm in polar climates, you can go beyond just explaining it to them; you can actually have them make some of their own blubber and test it out. After you’ve filled up a large bowl with ice water and let it sit for a few minutes to get really cold, have your kids dip a bare hand in and see how many seconds they can last before their hand gets too cold. Next, coat one of their fingers in shortening and repeat the experiment. Your child will notice that, with the shortening acting like a protective layer of blubber, they don’t feel the cold water nearly as much.
Have you noticed that science seems to be a hot topic recently? Wondering how you can help at home? As busy moms of three kids and former elementary school teachers we’ve shared over 30 science experiments for you at The Educators’ Spin On It. Our biggest tip is to simply allow time for it. Encourage your child to use those “wh” questions to explore their world through a scientific view…What, Why, How, Where, When. Take a peek below at our science activities and let us know which one you want to do first!
By mixing just flour, salt, and water, you’ll create a basic salt dough that’ll harden when baked. You can use this dough to make homemade dinosaur bones and teach kids about paleontology. You can use books or diagrams to learn how different dinosaur bones were shaped, and you can even bury the bones in a sandpit or something similar and then excavate them the way real paleontologists do.
You’ve probably seen the label that says “fortified with iron” on your cereal box, but how much iron is actually in your cereal? Is there enough to cause a magnetic reaction? This super easy experiment doesn’t require too many fancy ingredients (cereal + magnet) which means you and the kiddos can try it right away. The results may surprise you! Get the how-to at Rookie Parenting and get started!
Insect hotels can be as simple (just a few sticks wrapped in a bundle) or as elaborate as you’d like, and they’re a great way for kids to get creative making the hotel and then get rewarded by seeing who has moved into the home they built. After creating a hotel with hiding places for bugs, place it outside (near a garden is often a good spot), wait a few days, then check it to see who has occupied the “rooms.” You can also use a bug ID book or app to try and identify the visitors.
Science is a wonderful thing for kids! There is so much to learn and discover right around us. Many science concepts start in the kitchen with simple materials you already have on hand. Fill a plastic tote with easy to find supplies and you will have a homemade kids science kit filled with learning opportunities that are sure to keep them busy all year long!