I saw this idea originally here on mumma made it and have been wanting to do it ever since. We have had thunderstorms for a few days so what a perfect opportunity to try it out.
All you will need are pool noodles, gumballs, and a serrated knife.
I cut the pool noodles into different lengths and then cut them in half. You can use scissors for this, but a serrated knife made it so easy (be careful, though).
I set up a system of the “slides” on the furniture. My kids were tickled pink.
I had them guess whether the gumball was going to make it to the bottom or not. This time it didn’t make it.
We played around with a few different ways of putting the slides and connecting them. I challenged Cole to make a system using at least 3 different colors. Here is what he very meticulously made.
He was hoping the gumball would shoot up at the end and into his mouth. You and I know that it didn’t do that, but didn’t understand why. So I had the opportunity to explain (in preschooler terms) about speed, force, and gravity.
We also set up slides next to each other to race. We wondered if certain colors would go faster than others. We had to test it out and talked about why they went equally fast.
We tested out whether the incline would make a difference on how fast it went. My son was really into trying all sorts of angles. I think we did this experiment at least 20 times on different pieces of furniture.
While my daughter didn’t really get into the hypothesis and explaining part, she loved participating in the testing. She would squeal as the gumballs went shooting down the slides.
This can easily be modified using a marble, but I know my toddler and I know she would put it in her mouth. So I opted for gumballs. If I know it is going in her mouth I might as well use something that is meant to be there.
While gumballs are a suitable choice for preschoolers with supervision, they are choking hazards for under 3 years of age. My house has gumballs often (thanks for the gumball machine Grandma) and my children are very familiar with them. I was very confident doing this activity with my daughter. You know your children and if you are not comfortable doing this with them, it is better not to.
This activity was a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of different science concepts with my preschooler. I took advantage of the different colors of pool noodles and gumballs and showed them to my toddler. Overall it was a great activity for both age levels. We had a lot of fun doing it.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.
You could do this activity with flowers as well.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.
Water tables are not cheap, a pain to store if like up you have short warm months, and for people in smaller houses, condos and apartments bulky even if they are being used. So this is an easy and fun way to play with water with simple toys and tools that can be used for other things as well. The bike helmet is optional.
- Gather your materials. You will need a plastic bin ( I got this one in the dish rack aisle at Walmart for under $3, some fun beach type toys like this water mill which I love because it is so dynamic and was bought at Target for $1.99, then a turkey baster, a silly funnel and measuring cups from my kitchen. Also water !
- There aren’t many steps other than play outside, or place some towels down around it as well as have some handy if you are playing inside.
- For more fun add ice cubes and/or bath toys.
- If you are doing this outside after your child has had enough , water your plants, grass and flowers!
Books About Water
Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen is a funny little story about a group of animals trying to get into a little rowboat without capsizing. The reader is asked time and time again who they think sank the boat was it the big cow? The fat pig? you’ll have to read to find out. This would be a fun book to read while exploring a Sink and Float activity.
Big Red Tub by Julia Jarman is a silly tale with really great little subtle details. A brother and sister are in the tub splashing about when their dog jumps in. The fun continues with more and more animals jumping in the big red tub. Finally the tub breaks free from the bathroom and eventually ends up in space! It’s a fantasy but they come back down to reality when mom walks through the door , complete with briefcase while dad is in the background with the shampoo. I loved that detail, nothing is overt but for families with stay at home dads it’s a great shout out I think. Also if you look closely you will see some of the animals that jumped in the bath as toys, slippers and more strewn about the bathroom.
Water by Tara McClintick a preview can be read online here on memetales. The book is a wordless collection of photos of water proceeded by a poem about water. The photos include water in many different forms, a water fountain , pool, shower, glass of water and more. I love that it shows how water is used for so many purposes, delivered in so many different ways but are is always wet. Great basic book!
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I have done many times with my son but now that he is 3 and has starting asking more complex questions, able to use information to make solid predictions it was way more fun! Using Easter eggs doesn’t simply add novelty, it add another dimension of learning, as we added more items to the eggs to see if the amount would change the result.
- Gather your materials. You will need a plastic tub, some plastic Easter egg, tape to cover the holes they have, and a range of items to pack inside. We chose a lego, some feathers, coins, rocks and dry pasta. You will also need some crayons in the same colors as the eggs, a marker and paper to make a prediction and results chart.
- Start by filling your eggs with the contents. Don’t forget to add tape to the holes so water doesn’t get in.
- Make your easy peasy chart. Draw the egg, write what’s in them and have your child decide if they think it will sink or float. Talk about how when they decide they are making a prediction. Ask them why they think each will sink or float.
- Do your experiment. Pop the eggs in the water and discover if it sinks or floats.
- Was the result what you expected? All of ours floated so we opened up the one with rocks in it added more and then it sunk. This was the best part of the whole lesson because my son figured out why it sunk the 2nd time but not the first! Since doing this last week we have “tested” many other things from a match box car ( it sunk) to a sock!
- We also opened some of the eggs up to see what would happen, and blew air on them too. Some moved some didn’t can you guess why?;) Love that one experiment leads straight to another!
What I love about teaching through experiments is that kids grasp things on their own, the true pleasure of making a discovery is obvious on their faces and it makes a mark. They remember and understand this experience much better than if we simply told them why things sink and float.
- Gather your materials. You will need some wax crayons, aluminum foil, cookie cutters, a paper plate and a very hot sunny spot.
- Start by peeling and breaking your crayons into small pieces. I left some chunky bits because it was well over 100 and figured it would be fine, if the day was cooler I’d used shavings to melt faster.
- Cover the plate in aluminum foil
- Place the plate with the cookie cutters in a sunny spot
- Add the broken crayons
- Wait- in 100+ heat this took an hour to melt, but I had lots of really big pieces.
- Yay they melted!
- Let cool inside, then pop out of the cookie cutters. Mine slid right out, I just broke off the little bit of extra that slipped out on the bottom.
- Color on scrap paper for a truly eco friendly activity!