Science has a huge impact on our lives. Well, it’s almost as if you cannot do without it. It isn’t conceived inside a classroom or in a lab, rather science is all around us. It’s in the air that we breathe to the food that we eat or even the ground that we stand on.
Come to think of it, maybe this is why children are always curious and seem to experience the world in a very interesting way. Kids from a very young age, start exploring the natural surroundings, observe, taste, listen to sounds, find new things and all the while that they’re busy doing all this, they are building and developing their critical science skills. Which is why I think that childhood is the best time to introduce them to the basic principles of science, and help develop their intellect and in the process, nurture their curiosity!
At our home, I love teaching my kids the relevance of science and how it works. We look for new and interactive ideas to test and explore science in our day-to-day life.
However, today I am going to share a list of new activities but ask you to stop and give the classic ones a try with your children. These are by far the best ones which I tried when I myself was a kid, trying to understand how the principles of science worked.
1) Paper Cup Phones (Ages 2 and up)
This has always been a very popular experiment, that had all of us all in utter awe as kids!
What you need:
2 paper cups, 2 paper clips, a long string (2.5m), pin
- First, you have to make a hole at the bottom of each of the cups, with a pin. Then put the two ends of the string through the two holes that we made in the cups.
- To make sure that the string stays intact, tie the 2 paper clips to both the ends of the string.
- Now ask your kids to pick up the paper cups and move away from each other, till the string is stretched. Then ask one of them to speak through his/her cup, and the other to observe if the sounds are heard at his/her end or not.
Sound transmission is an important concept to understand in higher education. Laying a foundation by introducing experiments like this can prove to be very helpful.
Watch the video here – https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu0nQgZnbTH/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
2) Static electricity (Ages 3 and up)
This is another classic experiment that can be performed to help develop a very elementary understanding of static electricity in young kids.
What you need:
Tissue paper and a balloon
- Cut the tissue paper into several pieces.
- Now rub the balloon on your hair and quickly bring it closer to the tissue paper pieces.
- As two surfaces will get close, the tissue paper pieces will tend to stick to the surface of the balloon. Now ask the kids to try.
We took this activity ahead by practising CVC and sight words. I called out the words and my older one, ‘R’, had to pick up those words and read them aloud. Next, I asked him to pick up the certain CVC words that I called out aloud.
This experiment can also be undertaken for some fun English revision. You can write different words on each tissue paper piece and ask the kids to read out loud whatever is written on the tissue paper piece that sticks to the balloon surface.
3) Mentos and Diet Coke (Ages 3 and up)
Oh, how we loved this experiment in particular, back in the day! This soft drink explosion wasn’t too tough to execute either.
What you need: A pack of Mentos, 2l bottle of diet coke and safety glasses
- First off wear those safety glasses, before doing anything!
- Now the parent can volunteer to empty the pack of Mentos into the bottle of diet coke, as quickly as possible and immediately step back. This reaction takes place quick and easy.
- You’ll witness an explosion, a geyser of diet coke and mentos!
The reason behind this is, of course, the rapid formation of carbon dioxide bubbles that are accelerated by Mentos. What a fun way to introduce tiny tots to the concept of matter combined with some chemistry? You know, the solid, liquid and gas reactions!
4) Dancing Raisins (Ages 4 and up)
Talking of fun, kids sure love dancing around and playing with food. How about helping them out with this! Yes, you read that right.
What you need: A glass jar/bottle, baking soda, a little vinegar and some raisins.
- Fill the glass with water
- Then add 1 tablespoon of baking soda in it
- Now drop the raisins into the bottle one by one.
- The final step, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and see the raisins dance
This experiment is all about ‘buoyancy’. The kids might not completely grasp this concept right now, but in future, when they’ll learn about it, you can remind them of those dancing raisins. Besides, kids love a visual treat!
Watch how we did it – https://www.instagram.com/p/BxWPLOZjYRS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
5) Ice Melting, Simplified! (Ages 3 and up)
This experiment is the easiest to perform and it has an important lesson to teach.
What you need: A glass, some warm water and an ice cube
- Fill the glass with warm water and then carefully lower the ice cube into the glass. Make sure the water doesn’t start spilling over the edge of the glass.
- Now ask the kids to observe what happens to the level of the water as the ice starts melting into it.
Science can be very amusing. The kids will probably expect the water to overflow when the ice cube completely melts away. Well, you wouldn’t blame them for this, given the sheer size of the ice cube. However, the water level only slightly rises. So, how would you explain this to the little ones? To put it simply, water expands when it takes its solid form!
6) Lemon Soda (Ages 2.5 and above)
Kids or adults, we all love a zesty lemon!
What you need: A lemon, sugar, baking soda, water and a cup
- Pour water into the cup and squeeze the lemon juice into it and stir this mixture.
- Now add a teaspoon of baking soda and keep stirring.
- Ask the kids to observe this what happens when some sugar is added into it.
- They will see the mixture turn fizzy.
This fizzy experiment will provide the right opportunity to introduce the concept of ‘acid and base’. Here the acidic component is the lemon and the base is, of course, the baking soda. You may ask the kids to point to these components as you explain them. The best part of this little experiment is that kids can consume the end product! Have fun with this lemonade with a twist.
Besides these, there are many fun little games and experiments that we all have indulged in at least once as kids! Now, while teaching our own kids, combing these engaging activities with science can be very fruitful and rewarding. This combination of fun and learning will resonate with the kids in the best possible way. It’s sure to make playtime extremely amusing.