String hoarders beware–kids can have lots of science fun with string so you might need to guard your supply. Set out some pieces of string, yarn, or even shoelaces with other toy or materials for your child.
As adults, because we use it so often, we think of string as something ordinary but to kids, a piece of string is almost magical. With a string attached, kids can pull all kinds of toys along behind them. First, the toys are small animals or vehicles with wheels that often make noises as kids walk or run.
Next, kids ride wheeled toys and use strings to pull other objects along behind. These might be wagons or little carts, or a lawn chair tied behind a pedal tractor with a skipping rope. The adult watching (me) couldn’t really understand the attraction of the activity. While appreciating the science and creativity of towing a lawn chair, it had to be untied. The young scientist eventually agreed to a cardboard box instead. No photo for this one.
Besides pulling, string can also be used to lift. A piece of string and a cardboard tube or empty plastic bottle make a simple crane. Attach a fairly long piece of string to the bottle or tube with tape and wrap it around a few times to anchor it. Kids can hook up whatever they want to lift and turn. As the string winds up, it gets shorter and shorter and up goes the load. Going down is really fast as the weight makes the string unwind really fast.
Along with two cups, string also makes a telephone. Poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup and thread the string into it. To hold the string in, you can either use a paper clip or tie a knot. Two people can each hold a cup and stretch the string taut in between, one talking in the cup and the other person listening.
With a button, a piece of string can make a whirligig. Use a button with holes and lace a couple of feet of string in and out. Tie a knot in the string and slide the button to the middle. Hold each end of the loop and twist it a few turns. By quickly moving hands back and forth, the button whirls around and around and makes a whirring noise. Keep noses and fingers from getting too close to the spinning button.
Some puppets and yo-yos are two toys that use strings, altho they could be vintage hand-me-downs. Swings use ropes that are just really big strings. Speaking of swinging, kids like to swing toys and other things tied to string around and around. They may need reminders about checking if they have enough space and no one is in the way. Knots are almost a science in themselves.
Lots more magic and science fun with string. Any string flings at your house?
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