Science Activities

Transportation Activities #14: Father’s Day Paper Airplane

Kids love to make something for their dads. This Father’s Day paper airplane combines a simple gift with an invitation to spend time together and play.

(The following instructions are from an earlier blog post.)

making paper airplanes step 1-2

1. Fold an ordinary piece of printer paper in half, the long way or hotdog fold. Open it back up.

2. Fold the top outside corner down so it touches the center line and do the same for the other side.
making paper airplanes step 3


3. Do the same action again of folding each side to the middle. It sort of looks like a skinny mountain, the kind that kids draw.
making paper airplanes step 4


4. Fold the two sides together. Now it looks like the wedge that goes under a door to hold it open.
making paper airplanes step 5


5. Hold the point with one hand, and with the other bend that folded edge over to line up with the center fold. This part is a bit trickier.
making paper airplanes step 6


6. Flip over and do the same for the other side.
making paper airplanes step 7


7. Pinch on the bottom center fold and the wings open up. This kind is called a dart and it’s ready to fly.

Father's Day paper airplaneWith some crayons and markers kids can decorate their Father’s Day paper airplane.  It’s much easier to do the drawing and coloring before folding. Some x’s and o’s for hugs and kisses and some hearts send the message to dads they are loved. Or kids might want to draw something dad really likes.

Father's Day playWho can resist sending a paper airplane flying around the room or the yard? When a dad does this, a child’s heart takes flight too. Kids have made something dad is holding in his hand and using.

After dad has a turn, kids want a turn next and before you can count to 10, play happens, in one form or another. What better way can there be to celebrate Father’s Day than time together and the enjoyment of each other as we play?

Transportation Play Activities #7: Boat Float or Sink

This boat float or sink play-of-the-day is brought to you by World Ocean’s Day. The kitchen sink or a container of water will be your child’s ocean.

pirate boat activities for kidssKids are natural scientists, exploring constantly. This boat float or sink play is a voyage of discovery, fun, and learning that happens right at home, at the kitchen sink or with another large pan of water.

The recycling box at home likely holds a treasure of things to use, such as styrofoam containers, corks, plastic and metal lids, popsicle sticks, applesauce or yogurt cups, even a small egg carton. Include some items to put in the boats, like rocks, buttons, or beads. With these materials kids can float some boats, or will they sink?

pirate activities for kidsEveryday children are trying and figuring out how things work around them. This is what scientists do. We can extend their play by talking with them about what they see happening and asking questions.

What way do they have to put things together to make a boat that floats? Can it go in the water upside down or sideways? What happens then? How about if there’s something in the boat?  How much is too glub, glub, glub, much? By asking questions and inviting kids to explain to us, they attach words to what they are discovering.

This activity kept Big Sister busy for a long time as she tried many different combinations. Little Sister is pretty good about not putting things in her mouth and loves water play too. She mostly liked to just put things in the water and wasn’t really interested in making boats.

pirate activities for kidsKids will play at their own level and investigate what interests them. Older kids may want to create their own boats using recycled materials or even lego. Plasticine will also work to make boats, but needs to get dried off so it doesn’t get gooey.

Some of us are quite lucky–except when the ferry is late or we miss it–and get to take a boat often but kids can take their own boats anytime without leaving home. Could boat float or sink be part of your child’s play today?

Transportation Play Activities #5: Simple Straw Rockets

Science can be easy and still amazing. These simple straw rockets are super fun and use the most ordinary of materials. The results are exciting.

To make a straw rocket, you will need paper, scissors, tape, and a straw. Cut a sheet of regular, photocopy paper in any color. Fold it in half the short, wide way—known as the hamburger fold. The long skinny one made by folding the other way is called the hot-dog fold.

straw rocket science fun

Cut the paper into two pieces. On one of them, kids trace around a jar lid to make 1 or 2 circles. It helps to have somebody else hold down the lid. Roll the other half of the page around a straw 3 or 4 times and cut off the excess. Tape the paper edge in a couple of places but make sure the tube is not taped to the straw. It will need to slide on and off. Adult hands may need to help the child hands cut out the circles. Once done, fold the circle in half. Place this cone or hat over the end of the straw and tape it to the paper tube on both the top side and the bottom one.

straw rocket science fun

Now comes the rocket part. Kids hold the straw fairly. Check that fingers are only on the straw and not holding the paper tube. One, two, three, take a deep breath and blow into the straw. Where did the rocket go? As long as the paper didn’t get accidentally taped to the straw it should shoot off really fast. To get the rocket to go in one direction, all you need to do is point the straw where you want it to go. Straight up might mean it comes straight back down.

straw rocket science fun

These simple straw rockets were so fun, we had to make a couple of them using straws of different sizes. The kids colored their rockets and also made up their own games. They faced each other across the kitchen and tried to blow at the same time. The intention was to zoom the rocket all the way to the other person. Once when Big Sister was blowing the rocket, it hit Little Sister on the knee. They also tried to blow the rockets onto the sofa from various distances.

There was lots of blasting off with these rockets even though we stayed right at home. These would also be fun outside. Might your child enjoy some science play with these simple straw rockets?

Bubble Fun and Learning #15: Apple Bubble Science Activity

Although not as dramatic as Newton’s apple, this apple bubble science activity is sure fun! Kids like to play with food. After experimenting, they can eat. This activity is from Carla’s Bubble Science with Apples post at Preschool Powol Packets. I’ve seen a few other bubble activities using apples, but this is the only one … Continue reading Bubble Fun and Learning #15: Apple Bubble Science Activity

Play – Learn with Bubbles #6: Baking Soda and Vinegar Science Fun

Bubble, Bubble, Fizz, and Pop Soap and water aren’t the only ingredients for bubbles. Another way is baking soda and vinegar science fun. Just a bit of makes lots of fun and learning. Scoop some baking soda into a small bowl, fairly flat container, or even a clear plastic wine glass. Set this in another … Continue reading Play – Learn with Bubbles #6: Baking Soda and Vinegar Science Fun

Planting Seeds Activity Your Child Can Do

The ground and weather may not be warm enough for outside planting, but how about planting inside? Here’s a planting seeds activity your child can do. Sunflowers, beans, and corn are easy seeds to plant, plus they grow quickly too. Lima beans are nice big seeds. While planting seeds in soil is much easier for … Continue reading Planting Seeds Activity Your Child Can Do

Star Wars Activities for Kids: Exploding Stars

Star Wars activities for kids do not need expensive toys or high-tech materials. Your kitchen cupboards likely have some items you can use for some science fun about stars. Yesterday, we looked at some pictures on the computer about stars and star dust. In one, there were gazillions of little white specks covering a dark … Continue reading Star Wars Activities for Kids: Exploding Stars

Dinosaur Float Sink Science Dinovember Fun

Real scientists estimate the mass (weight) of dinosaurs by floating scale models. We tried some dinosaur float sink science too. Not for checking on water displacement, just to see if they would float or sink. Water play is appealing for kids so with some warm water in the kitchen sink, Little Sister checked to see … Continue reading Dinosaur Float Sink Science Dinovember Fun