15 Easy Science Activities For Kids

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15 easy science activities for kidsI hope you have been enjoying Science Week as much as I have. Here are some of our favorite and very easy science activities for kids we have done on No Time For Flash Cards. For even more ideas from all over the web check out our Science For Kids Pinterest board.

Color Mixing Lab
Frog Life Cycle
Squirt Gun Science
Solar Powered Crayon Melt
Ice Cream Taste Test
Sink or Float?
Which Will Erupt – Simple Experiment
Will The Egg Break?
DIY Light Box & Exploration
Glow In The Dark Constellation Canvases
Mad Scientist Lab
Magnetic Sensory Play
DIY Weather Station
Puffy Paint Moon
Snow Science – Where will it melt first ?

Science week

I hope you enjoyed Science Week . I had fun hosting great guest bloggers and focusing on only one subject for a whole week. What other weeks would you like to see us tackle?

Creating Little Scientists – Mom With A Lesson Plan

Science! How exciting to be here for science week. I’m Jillian, A Mom with a Lesson Plan. Just about any type of learning for kids gets me jumping for joy but I’ll admit, science is a fairly new love for me.

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I think what really brought me around was seeing that science ties into so many other aspects of my kids’ growth. Now that they are getting a little older (8 and 6), I can see how they use the basic science method on their own. It’s quite impressive how they are able to predict, analyze and modify their actions easily.

Of course we still enjoy the fun, messy parts of science… but it’s the structure of how to conduct an experiment that I want to come as second nature to my kids. It will benefit them far beyond science class.

Purpose

Before you start an experiment you have to have an idea of what your purpose is, you need a question to ask. Knowing how to ask a question seems simple enough, but it isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. For most of us, it’s a practiced skill.

Learning how to ask a question

  • Figure out the question. Sometimes a very long conversation boils down to one question. Help your kids learn how to pin point it, by following up with a question about the question. “Are you wondering how roller coasters are attached to the tracks or are you wondering how the roller coaster moves along the track?”
  • Let the question develop. Often times you know what they are going to ask before they ask it. Give them the space to figure out how to ask instead of skipping ahead to the answer.
  • Respect the questions they ask. Show interest and give them sometime to wonder before jumping in with an answer.

Research

Research comes in many, many forms. You can read a book, ask someone who has experience, watch a video, etc. Once your kids know how to ask a question you can teach them how to search out the answer.

Learning how to research

  • On the way to the library, talk about which topics they would like to read about. (or study. ;) ) Remind your little ones about questions they’ve had recently. “Remember how you asked why bugs live under rocks? Maybe you can find some bug books!”
  • Google it. Searching the web is pretty easy when you have a good question to start with. Of course they will also need to learn how to decide what’s valid information.
  • Encourage them to ask around. I can not tell you how many times I’ve said. “You know what, that sounds like a great question for Grandpa.” (He’s kind of a trivia know-it-all.)

 

Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an educated guess. So simple and yet a vital skill. Learning how to make predictions and think about possible outcomes based on past experience is huge! Can you imagine how this skill will help them when they are teenagers?

Learning how to make predictions

  • Predict while reading. Talk about what might happen next in the story. Were you right?
  • Predict while doing a science activity, art activity or just playing outside. “What do you think will happen when you let go of the ball at the top of the slide?”
  • Predict… anything. “What do you think the weather will be like tomorrow?” “Do you think we should expect traffic?” Last week we found a tiny cantaloupe in our garden. Since it wasn’t getting any bigger we decided to pluck it and open it as is. It was a simple thing, but we took a moment before cutting in to talk about what we thought we would find inside.

Experiment

When I think of experimenting there are two big things that come to mind. The ability to bring your questions to life and the ability to be persistent without losing patience.

Learning how to experiment

  • When your little one has a question, help them figure out how to find the answer. Does it involve collecting materials or is it simply trying something that is already set up.
  • Having a space set up with basic art supplies and a junk box will give your kids the space to experiment on their own. (We save toilet paper rolls, lids, boxes and craft scraps.)
  • Encourage patience and persistence by allowing down time and showing the kids that YOU can take on mistakes as a learning experience.

Maddy

Analysis

Collecting data can be done in many different ways. It can be as simple as discussing what you find or as detailed as filling out a spreadsheet. Understanding how to observe, examine and consider your findings is at the core of any analysis. When kids understand how to collect results, the way it’s collected will come easy.

Learning how to record data

  • Act like a teacher (because you are!) and set up activities with a little something extra. Ask your kids to draw pictures of what they observe in the garden. Give them a clipboard and a piece of paper to write about the details of a zoo trip. Use simple graphs and charts to have a little fun recording everyone’s favorite meal.
  • Have a place for recording. Lot’s of empty notebooks make it easy for kids to grab and write when they observe something interesting. We have notebooks with lines, without lines and some with grids available anytime.

Conclusion

How do we learn from our mistakes? How do we know what really works for us and use that method again and again? We draw conclusions from our experiences.

Learning how to draw a conclusion

  • Talk! Talk about why things have happened. What could have changed the outcome?
  • Encourage your little scientists to try the experiment or experience again with a little tweak. Did they get the same result?

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And because I know how much you love a good book review here at No Time for Flash Cards. I just have to share a new favorite. We just picked it up from the library yesterday and my Little M has been carrying it around all day. Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly is about a little girl who wants desperately to be known for something. When her class begins studying butterflies and even visits a conservatory she finds just how to make herself stand out. I love, love, love how fun this little scientist is and how she becomes known for something she is good at.

 

Jillian Riley is a writer who focuses most of her creative energy into her playful learning, playful parenting blog A Mom with a Lesson Plan. She is mom to an almost 8 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. Jillian is passionate about kid activities, learning and creativity! Find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Google.

Science week

Tomorrow we wrap Science Week up with a round up of easy science activities for kids. Do not miss it!

Kitchen Science For Kids { What will freeze first?}

kitchen science experiments for kidsWhen it comes to science I usually let my kids lead with questions and suggest we investigate from there. One morning last week my son didn’t finish his milk and I asked him to please pop it in the fridge so he could have it with his lunch. Instead he asked if he could put it in the freezer to see what would happen. Of course I was game. After he put it in the freezer I asked him what he thought would happen. At 6 it was no shock that he thought it would freeze, so I asked him how long he thought it would take. That sparked this simple kitchen science experiment we did a few days later. My kids love kitchen science for kids and I love doing it with them. Fun together time with science!

Our question was:  Which kitchen liquid would be the first to freeze ?

  1. Gather your materials. You will need an ice cube tray, a line up of different kitchen liquids , a timer ( not really a must ) and a freezer. We had a measuring spoon too! Our liquids were water, vinegar, chocolate syrup, ranch dressing, dish soap, milk and apple juice.freezer science
  2. Start by filling your tray with the different liquids. kitchen science for kids what will freeze the fastestBefore you ask your kids to make predictions ask them what they already know about the different liquids. My kids and I noted that we freeze water all the time and it takes an hour or two. They noted that milk will freeze so they knew that more than just water can freeze. After they go over all their background knowledge ask them to make a hypothesis or prediction if you are focusing more on results not the reason for the results. If they make a prediction simply say “why do you think that will happen?” and voila you will also get a hypothesis out of them.kitchen science freezer exp
  3. Freeze it! We set my iPhone timer to go off at regular intervals.
  4. Observe what is happening. The apple juice was the first to form crystals. The water quickly caught up by the next time we checked. The dish soap had cool bubbles and was getting harder to stir, and the chocolate still tasted great although it wasn’t really ever frozen. We checked on the tray for 3 hours and by then end of that everything was solid except the chocolate syrup which still has a dough like texture days later.kitchen science activity for kids
  5. After the results are in ask your child what they noticed. My daughter noticed that the vinegar and water froze pretty easily and that the chocolate never did. My son noticed that the thicker liquids were much slower to freeze than their thinner counterparts. That’s when I jumped in with the word viscous. We talked about how the water, milk , vinegar ,and apple juice froze faster because they all have lower viscosity than the dish soap , ranch dressing and chocolate syrup. I kept it very simple explaining that the less viscous a liquid is the easier it is to take another form and for the cold to get to every part of it. The thicker liquid was harder to freeze because the cold air had to work harder to get all of it cold enough to freeze. I tend to over explain things to my kids and have learned their signals for when my answer is shifting into a lecture. If they keep asking questions keep answering them but those blank stares are a sure fire sign that you should keep it simple, at least for now! kitchen science for kids what can you freeze

The best part about simple kitchen science for kids is that it lets your children see that science is everywhere. It’s in their kitchen and is accessible to all.

Science week

Tomorrow we are talking about how teach the scientific method to young kids with Jillian from A Mom With A Lesson Plan!

Science Is Everywhere from Not Just Cute

Science weekThis week we are focusing on science and what better way to kick it off than talking about what teaching science to young kids looks like with Amanda Morgan from Not Just Cute. Amanda is a child development consultant who enjoys teaching teachers and parents about how kids learn and the best ways to teach. Visit her blog here.

Science

I love talking to preschool teachers about teaching science. Though I don’t often start out that way.

I ask them about their favorite themes and activities to teach the kids in their preschool classrooms. Soon we fill an entire board with topics enthusiastically scrawled in colorful marker. They’re the activities found in preschool classrooms everywhere. Color mixing. Trees. Playdough. Dress-up. And on and on.

And then I ask, “What do these topics and activities have to do with science?”

Silence.

Then looks that say, “You didn’t say science activities, you just said activities.”

So we table the list for a moment, and talk about what science is really all about.

What is science?

When I’m trying to define science, it’s hard to beat this quote from Kathleen Conezio, MS and Lucia French, PhD

“Whereas many adults think of science as a discrete body of knowledge, for young children science is finding out about the everyday world that surrounds them. This is exactly what they are interested in doing, all day, every day. In the preschool classroom or in the university research laboratory, science is an active and open-ended search for new knowledge. It involves people working together in building theories, testing those theories, and then evaluating what worked, what didn’t, and why.”

(And here’s my favorite part…)

Science itself is not an activity, but an approach to doing an activity. This approach involves a process of inquiry – theorizing, hands-on investigation, and discussion.”

(Source: Capitalizing on Children’s Fascination with the Everyday World to Foster Language and Literacy Development. Young Children, September 2002)

Science hands

So science isn’t the activity. It isn’t the textbook. It isn’t the supplies. It’s an approach.

Science happens every day in every corner of a preschool classroom and in every inch of a preschooler’s home. It’s more about curiosity and discovery than about a set of facts to be learned. Science is the essence of learning to learn.

As I interviewed Ellen Galinsky about her book, Mind in the Making she said, “We are very content-focused in education right now. I feel strongly that we won’t turn around the slippage that has been happening in education unless we focus on both content and life skills as well as promote learning that keeps the fire burning in children’s eyes.”

Content does matter. Having a grasp of information is important, of course. But in this age, perhaps more than ever before, information is so accessible that it’s critical to keep children passionately curious — able to make connections, and use information, not just recite it. We must light the fire, not just fill the pail, as Yeats would say.

Think of the great minds of our more recent history. From Thomas Edison to Albert Einstein to Steve Jobs, amazing accomplishments have come not from knowing something no one else knew, but from using known information in new ways to do something different. Something brilliant.

Facts without curiosity, connections, and creativity can be found easily from any smart phone or laptop with access to Google. But light that fire Galinsky talks about and let passionate learners wonder, theorize, explore, and play and ingenuity is born.

As Steve Jobs is known to have said:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”

Kids don’t need more content, they need more experiences. And they need more time thinking and talking about those experiences. They need to be immersed in a culture of scientific inquiry.

Scientific Observation

Where’s the Science?

So back to the board full of favorite classroom activities. Where is the science? It’s in every single one of them. It’s in the experience. It’s in the connections. It comes when we have a lively classroom or home where we question and wonder aloud. A place where we observe, and discuss, and experiment, and apply. It’s in the mindset, the approach to the world.

Science is everywhere in the classroom.

Science is found at the playdough table when a child sinks her hands into squishy playdough and observes how it can move and bend. It’s there when she wonders what will happen when she adds toothpicks, experiments with that, observes again, and continues the process end on end.

It’s at the easel when a child observes one color streaking the page and then wonders what will happen when another color is added.

It’s in the block area when a teacher asks the children to tell her about what they’ve built, and then wonders aloud about what would happen if another block was added on top of the teetering tower.

It’s in circle time when children ask what words mean, and when teachers take the time not just to explain but to have the children act it out. It’s there when teachers read stories and ask what might happen next.

Science is everywhere in our homes.

Science is there when we make muffins with our kids and give them experience using measuring tools and wondering about the process of turning soggy batter into bready deliciousness.

It’s in our own backyards when we bend close with our little ones to hold a rolly-polly in our hands or chase fireflies on a summer’s night.

It’s there at bath time when our kids pour water from one container to the next, then drop bath toys in one by one, watching to see which will float.

Science offers an open invitation to each of us every single day. An invitation to wonder.

When we incorporate a mindset of inquiry — asking, theorizing, experiencing, experimenting, observing, discussing — every aspect of every day can be filled with the magical wonder of science.

Top Image Source

J

We are exploring science for kids all week long and you can find more ideas on our Science for Kids Pinterest Board!

 

 

Love Potions – Valentine’s Day Science Play

love potions valentine's day scienceWe love to play with vinegar and baking soda at our house . We explored it with squirt guns, at a play date and even pretending to be mad scientists. This time we made potions but really we just made a really awesome fun mess!   We made these after school this week and already my 2 year old has asked to make so many I am out of vinegar and baking soda. Kids love to pretend and mixing imagination with scientific inquiry is a great way to get them interested in asking questions and testing their theories out. We pretended we were making love potions but not the way that maybe a teenager would think about it. Instead we were making potions to make everyone feel loved, not to fall in love with us and even that fell by the wayside . Bottom line, have fun and make sure you have towels ready!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some baking soda, vinegar and then we added  food color and food flavoring ( strawberry and cherry) . You will want clear containers, spoons, and whatever you need to protect your house from food color. love potions preschool scrience play
  2. Set out the ingredients and let them explore. While they started I talked about how some people think that potions and spells will make people fall in love and they both thought that was crazy talk! We pretended we were making people feel love but soon they just got into making a potion and the love bit was lost. This is fine the goal wasn’t to teach about love potions so much as simply explore. love potions science for kids valentine's day activity
  3. My son saw the baking soda and immediately got excited about the prospect of a fizzy overflowing potion. Only he couldn’t remember what made it bubble and discovered it was not the cherry flavoring.love potions for kids
  4. My daughter followed her brother’s lead and absolutely adored every minute. love potion science play activity for kids
  5. Once they figured out it was the vinegar they made potions over and over.love potions  In all different color combinations and with as much excitement every time. love potions 2It soon turned into making predictions about if it would overflow or not. love potion number 5