Summer is a great time of year when kids have extra time to play outside and enjoy being young. School is out for a few months, but that doesn’t mean that learning needs to be put on hold. There are plenty of fun science activities that you can do with your children during the summer months that will keep them entertained and learning!
Outdoor science activities:
Wet and wild science experiment for kids: Water displacement
Finding out the volume of an object (that sinks) by water displacement can be an interesting summer science activity and it’s a nice way to cool off. It can be tricky to measure the volume of irregularly shaped objects, but it is a fun and easy science experiment for kids to do.
1. Fill a large measuring cup to a certain line. Drop various objects one at a time into the measuring cup and see what line the water level rises to.
2. Subtract the original water measurement from the final water level to determine the volume of that particular object.
3. Now fill a container completely to the brim and place it inside of a dry container.
4. Once you place the object in the water it will overflow.
5. Carefully collect the spilled water and measure it in a measuring device to find the volume of the object.
Kids can practice writing a hypothesis or guess what objects they think will have a greater volume. Choose objects that are different shapes like an apple and a banana. Then your child can test out the various objects and see if their hypothesis was correct. This is a fun way to do science and keep the wheels turning in those brains even when the kids are taking a break from the classroom.
Edible science activity: Homemade ice cream
Making ice cream on a hot summer day is something kids (and parents) of all ages will love to do! All you need is a large coffee can, a small coffee can plus a few ingredients like cream or half and half, vanilla, sugar, an optional egg, rock salt and ice. You can also add other ingredients like strawberries or chocolate to flavor your ice cream. You will find a detailed recipe here and more about the science of ice cream here.
Before doing this “cool” science activity you should talk with your child about the science behind this experiment. Getting the cream to solidify requires more than just a freezing temperature. Adding salt to the ice actually causes the ice to have a lower freezing point. With the ice below freezing it is possible to turn the liquid ingredients into ice cream! So how does it work?
1. Place all the ingredients in the smaller coffee can, place the lid on and seal it with duct tape.
2. Put the smaller can inside the larger can and fill the larger can with the ice and salt.
3. 2 or more kids sit on the ground and roll the can back and forth continuously for about 10 min. (Everyone touching the can should wear gloves so they don’t hurt their skin with the cold temperature of the can.)
4. Continue to roll the can on the ground until the cream thickens and becomes yummy ice cream! (About 10 additional minutes)
5. Older children can also find a large hill to roll the can down rather than rolling it back and forth.
The amazing quicksand science experiment for kids: you won’t believe it till you try it!
Quicksand/Goop/Goo/Glop… its fun no matter what you call it. Making quicksand or “Goo” out of cornstarch and water can turn a dull summer afternoon into a fun filled educational science activity. When you mix cornstarch and water together it forms a consistency that can be both liquid and solid. This science activity will make a mess, so find a place outside where the kids can dig their hands into the Goo and find out what happens!
1. If you put your finger slowly into the substance it will sink in like quicksand.
2. If you punch the Goo quickly it is a solid.
3. Try holding some of it in your hand and make a fist. This will keep the Goo solid.
4. Now relax your hand and it will ooze out through your fingers like a liquid.
5. You can add food coloring to the Goo to make it different colors. (Note: This can stain clothing.)
Making your own quicksand is entertaining, interesting, thought provoking and it’s science! To find out more about the science behind making quicksand visit this website.
Make the most of your summer and try these outdoor science experiments for kids. They will have such a good time. They won’t even realize they are learning during summer vacation!