simple science activities

February Friendship #8: Kids Can Be Friends with Science

Instead of kids can be friends with science, maybe this should be adults can be. Kids are always exploring and trying things out to see what happens. For us, kids’ science play isn’t such fun when we answer 300 questions a day or wait while a child throws double that number of rocks in the lake. But, science play is full of wonder for kids and it can easily be part of your child’s day.

science activities with rocks

Science play can happen in a sink or container with water. Young toddlers to older preschoolers enjoy pouring, scooping, and swishing water. Add a few small containers and spoons, with and without holes for them to play with. Some things will float and some sink. Let your child try other objects like a jar lid, an old toothbrush, a small stone, a popsicle stick, a straw and other bits to check and see what floats and sinks. A word of caution—make sure the object is too big to go down the drain when you pull the plug.

science fun float sink

Cooking includes science too. What happens when food is mixed together? Stirring changes flour and butter into a batter, but it doesn’t change apples, oranges, and berries when they are mixed in a fruit salad. When cookie batter is baked in the oven, it changes even more.

science fun cookies

A simple walk around the block can connect a child to science too. What’s the weather doing? Each day the sky will change and, on the ground, there will be some new things to see and some the same as the day before.

children and nature wonder

Ordinary ingredients we have on hand, like baking soda and vinegar, are science experiments just waiting to fizz. Soap and water make bubbles, hands and a flashlight create shadows. Our own bodies and five senses are science marvels. Discovering all the things a body can do is pretty exciting. Kids are highly sensory and love to play with a batch of slime or goop or even soap.science fun with water play

Supporting children’s curiosity will sometimes give us gray hairs but we need to make sure science is part of each child’s world. As parents and caregivers, you have both experiences and experiments to share. What are some other ways kids can be friends with science?

 

Dragon Vinegar Baking Soda Science Experiment – Foam Instead of Fire

No matter how many times we’ve combined these two ingredients, this dragon vinegar baking soda science experiment was still exciting. Be prepared though, once isn’t enough!

dragon-vinegar-soda-science-experiment

The kids wanted to do some dragon science, but what to do? We needed an idea. The thinking process for some dragon science fun was long and winding. There were big jumps of imagination instead of logic but that’s part of thinking too. Kids know dragons breathe fire but we didn’t want to use real fire for science. Hmmm. The kids said dragons are like dinosaurs, right? Maybe we could do dinosaur science. Dinosaurs aren’t alive anymore and some scientists think it’s because of volcanoes not meteorites. A volcano has fire like a  dragon, so maybe we could do that? A dragon vinegar baking soda science experiment?

Making a volcano with baking soda and vinegar is pretty standard but we didn’t know how to make a dragon volcano. After some google searching, we discovered a foaming dragon science experiment on The Joys of Boys. We all agreed this was a great idea and could hardly wait to make our own.

dragon-vinegar-soda-science-experiment

To make a dragon volcano is simple. Start with an empty water bottle. Cut a tail and 4 paws out of a foam sheet or something else green and plastic. In the sewing drawer, we had some vinyl left-overs from a patio cushion that would do and a tube of googly eyes. Tape the tail, eyes, and paws to the bottle. A big bottle will need more vinegar than a small bottle. Fill the bottle about half full of vinegar and place on a pan to catch drips. Squirt in some liquid dish soap. Add a couple drops of food coloring. We used red and yellow to make orange. Since we hadn’t mixed in the dish soap, the food colors made swirls in the bottle. It was really interesting to watch the red spread out in the vinegar solution. *At this point, the kids reminded me I’d forgot to tape on the dragon’s tail and paws. We had to pause for that.

Now, for the fun and exciting part. With the vinegar, soap, and color in the bottle, what do you think will happen when we add some baking soda? Will it bubble right out of the bottle? The reaction starts as soon as a little bit of soda hits the vinegar. It only needed a small scoop of baking soda for orange foam to start bubbling up, out, over, and all down the side of our dragon. This dragon was breathing hard and it was orange like fire. It even worked again with a second scoop of baking soda.

Good oldstand-bys. This dragon vinegar baking soda science experiment was so much fun. The kids proved it works once again, were engaged, had lots to talk about and certainly lots to think about. Could this be a play-of-the-day for your child?

Pumpcano: Pumpkin Baking Soda Vinegar Volcano

Not only does this pumpkin baking soda vinegar volcano create a gas (carbon dioxide), it is a gas, as in lots of fun. It’s a great science experiment too.

pumpkin volcano science

Although baking soda and vinegar are inexpensive, the bigger the pumpkin the more of it you will need. Smaller pumpkins are easier for the bubbles to fizz right over the top and all down the sides. The first thing you and your child need to do for this activity is to slice off the top of the pumpkin. Then, hands need to take out the insides. This can be pretty gooey. Save the seeds and strings from inside the pumpkin in a plastic bag or small container for another activity. Once the pumpkin is ready, put it in a big flat dish to catch the ‘lava’ so it doesn’t go all over. You may want to put some newspaper or an old towel on the table, counter, or floor.

pumpkin volcano science

Depending on the size of the pumpkin at your house, the soda-vinegar solution can be made in a plastic container inside the pumpkin or right in the pumpkin. Ours was small enough to go in the pumpkin. (We used ours earlier to make a dip for snack.) Little Sister poured in about a cup of warm water. Next, she squirted in one squeeze of liquid dish soap. Using a tablespoon, she scooped in 2 big spoons of baking soda. I poured out a quarter cup of vinegar into a measuring cup and she dumped it into the volcano. Right away it started to fizz and bubble and while we watched the foam grew and grew. The pumpkin volcano exploded into white lava.

pumpkin volcano science

Of course, once wasn’t enough, so the pumpkin baking soda vinegar volcano was recharged. She tried squirting the vinegar into the pumpkin with eye droppers. She put her hands in the pumpkin and mixed everything all around and likely adding to the sensory stimulation.

pumpkin volcano science

Science experiments usually start with a prediction about what will happen. Little Sister has played with vinegar and baking soda before so expected it would fizz up. To introduce a bit of uncertainty, I asked her if same thing would really happen again. She thought it might go all over the kitchen. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. But it was fun to try. Is there a pumpkin scientist at your house?

Scooping out a Pumpkin: Sensory and Science Play

Ooey, gooey, it’s time to look, listen, smell, feel (and maybe taste?) when scooping out a pumpkin. This is sensory fun, science play, and learning all at once. First, prepare the table or counter with some newspaper. Find a container to save the seeds and strings from the inside. Before cutting, look at the pumpkin … Continue reading Scooping out a Pumpkin: Sensory and Science Play

Space Activities #21: Baking Soda Vinegar Rockets and Water Rocket Fun

Two of the most ordinary ingredients and a small plastic container combine for some science fun. Have you tried baking soda vinegar rockets? This activity is best done outside. Once the rocket is fueled up, stand out of the way. It shoots off with quite a pop and can hurt if it hits a body … Continue reading Space Activities #21: Baking Soda Vinegar Rockets and Water Rocket Fun

Transportation Activities #16: Simple Ramp Science

Cars, trucks, train cars, and other toys get to be part of some science fun and learning with this play-of-the-day. All aboard for some simple ramp science. While grownup engineers want to know how to construct the safest, most efficient roads, kid engineers only want to know how to make toy cars go faster. The … Continue reading Transportation Activities #16: Simple Ramp Science

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. Kids 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 … Continue reading Transportation Play Activities #7: Boat Float or Sink

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, … Continue reading Transportation Play Activities #5: Simple Straw Rockets

Kids Play with Anything #6: Play with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Here’s a secret formula proving kids play with anything: Play with Baking Soda and Vinegar = Explosions of Fun. Sometimes called how to make volcanos. Baking soda and vinegar cannot be considered toys but they combine for some amazing play. They are inexpensive and affordable, but with all these ideas, you might need the extra … Continue reading Kids Play with Anything #6: Play with Baking Soda and Vinegar

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