The next month will be FIFA Women’s World Cup football / soccer so what better time for some fun and science activities with balls for kids? As adults we are used to thinking balls are only for sports but they can also be great for science.
Young children love to play with balls of any and all sizes, inside and outside. Without anyone telling them, they figure out that a hard kick or push will make a ball go far and a soft kick or tap will only move it a little bit. Kids are experiencing for themselves the scientific explanation that we are transferring our energy to the ball.
Figuring out where a ball will end up after that kick or push is quite a challenge, even for grownups. That’s the science of predicting using the information at hand—or foot—like which direction the ball is going and its speed. Balls keep kids busy chasing after them.
Rolling, kicking, and throwing are much easier than catching and bouncing but kids like to do it all.
When balls aren’t available, rocks or other things will do. Kids will turn whatever they can into balls, even tin cans, balloons, or plastic bags all squished together and tied with string. Before they even have the words, kids know the best shape for a ball is round, but they use what they have. While round things might roll like a ball, not all of them will bounce.
More science is experimenting with balls made of different materials. Beach balls are so light the wind can move them. Sponge balls are much better for playing with in the house because sometimes balls can break things.
Kids of all ages, and grownups too, play with balls. There are countless games and sports, but there are also science activities with balls. Can the whistle go at your house for some fun play and learning with balls?
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