Science Activities

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.

edible bubble science with apples (5) labelThis 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 that’s edible.

To do this simple science experiment, choose an apple with a fairly stable bottom so it can stand without rolling over. You will need to take the middle out of an apple, but do not go all the way through.

Use a grapefruit spoon or potato peeler just to scoop out the core and leave a small well. Place the apple on a saucer or in a shallow bowl.

Pour a spoon or two of juice into the apple. Carla used orange juice; we used some peach.

apple bubble science activity juiceWith a straw, kids blow into the juice to make bubbles. Ask your child about the bubbles. Are they very big? Did they float away or stay in the apple? Young children will mostly be interested in the blowing bubbles part so you may have to suggest the answers.

No matter how hard Little Sister blew, no bubbles but a few splatters.

apple bubble science activity 2Now, add a spoon or two of milk into the apples. This time what happens? Is it the same as before? What do these bubbles do? Older kids may notice the juice and milk make bubbles more like bubble solution.

Carla explains the difference is due to the proteins in the milk. “Milk has less surface tension than water because of these proteins.”

With the straw, the kids can taste and slurp up the bubbles. They made need to have more of this bubble solution as they blow towers around their apples. If they are super hungry, they can eat the apple and try the juice and milk in a small cup. Hmm, could that give the same result?

Children have curious minds. Isn’t this apple bubble science activity a fun way to feed their curiosity?

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

October Alphabet: W is for Wands & Science Magic for Kids

October is a fun time of the year for science magic for kids. There are some easy and simple science tricks that kids can do with ordinary household items. With a wave of a wand or a magic spell, wizards can make things float and sink. Partially fill a large bowl or container that you … Continue reading October Alphabet: W is for Wands & Science Magic for Kids