IT'S SUMMER! The time we get to sleep in and relax (a little....) As a science teacher I've had multiple friends ask me the same question: "What science activities can I do with my kids over the summer?" I remember growing up over the summer my Mom making rock candy with us (which never seemed to work out very well, but I digress). I've complied a list of 5 activities that are easy to do and you probably already have the materials at your house.
1. Solar Cookers: Since I live in Arizona, solar cookers are a must. All you need is a shoe box and a little tin foil, although they can get fancy depending on what you have lying around. Put inside one of your kids favorite snacks- hot dogs, smores, or even cheese quesadillas. Have a little contest and see who can build the hottest solar cooker.
2. Firework Milk Lab: This lab is great because you can do it with almost any age. Little kids love it, and even my high school students enjoy watching the milk swirl. All you need is milk, food coloring, and some soap. See it in action here.
3. Density Column Lab: Grab some liquids laying around in your kitchen and get pouring! Slowly pour various liquids into a clear glass and watch the layers form based on the densities of the liquids. It's best to add a little food coloring to see the layers more clearly. Some favorite liquids are vegetable oil, water, honey, and rubbing alcohol. See it in action here.
4. Sink or Float Lab: Grab a big tub of water (an aquarium works great but the bathtub will do) and objects that you can put in. Ask your kiddo before dropping it in- will it sink or will it float? Some objects will surprise you. For example, a grape will sink, but a banana will float. A can of coke will sink but diet coke will float. See the soda cans in action here.
5. Balloon Rockets: have your kids explore Newton's 3rd law of motion with this fun activity. All you need is a piece of string, a balloon, a straw, and some tape. Run your string across the room and tie one end of the string to something heavy (like a chair). Next, thread the other end of the string through the straw. Blow up a balloon and tape it onto the straw so the opening of the balloon is facing you. As you let go of the balloon, you will see it race down the string. Have your kids measure how many breaths of air it takes to make the balloon go across the entire room. See it in action here.
What other science related summer activities do you enjoy? Leave them in the comments!
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Becca of Science Rocks
Hi, I'm Becca! I've been teaching science for 10 years at both the middle and high school levels.