Give your children’s brains a workout by working on cool science projects with them. While away the long, hot summer days by mixing common kitchen ingredients to see what happens or by thinking of inventions you could build together. During the school year, your child may also need a project to enter into a science fair or for his science class.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Projects
You most likely know that when you pour vinegar on top of baking soda, the mixture bubbles and rises. Teach your child about reactions, density and volcanoes by mixing the two ingredients together. Carbon dioxide forms when the acid (vinegar) meets the base (baking soda). Have your child blow soap bubbles into the mixture. When the bubbles rise above the mixture, explain to her that CO2 is heavier than the air inside the soap bubbles, so the bubbles are able to float above it.
All About Animals
Teach your child about biology by having him raise a butterfly garden, ant farm or small mammal, such as a bunny or hamster. You can purchase a butterfly kit that will allow you to raise the insects from tiny caterpillars until they emerge from their cocoons. Ant farms teach curious children about the way ants behave and form colonies. Having a pet bunny or other mammal is a great way to teach children responsibility and about the animal’s diet and habits.
Super Simple Telescopes
All you need are two lenses to show your child how magnification works. The lens that you hold near your eye needs to be a small, concave lens. You could also use a convex lens, but the image your child will look at will be upside down, which could confuse her. The lens used to magnify is called the objective lens. It should be convex and larger than the eye lens. Have your child hold the eye lens up to her eye and the objective lens just in front of the first lens. Have her move the objective lens away from her eye until things are focused.
Taste is closely connected to smell. Help your child learn about these two senses by conducting a simple experiment with him. Blindfold him and give him a taste of a sour food. Ask him to describe its taste to you. Repeat, giving him samples of other foods, such as something sweet and something salty. Next, tell him to hold his nose. Give him a sample of each food again, asking him to describe how they taste. He may be surprised to learn that he tasted the same foods twice but that they were completely different tasting, based on whether he could smell the food.
Silliness is the Mother of Invention
Get your child to think like an engineer by spending a day brainstorming new inventions that will solve common problems, such as something to help a small child pour milk or cereal. Once you’re done brainstorming, get to work attempting to build the inventions. You can also spend the day building silly contraptions that transform a simple task, such as closing a door, into a long, elaborate process.
- Microscope image by Ellanorah from Fotolia.com