The start of summer vacation doesn’t have to mean the end of science class! Long summer days are perfect for creative, hands on science experiments and projects. Whether you’re getting colorful with chemistry in the kitchen or innovating an engineering project, the following five ideas are ways to teach children science even when school is out of session.
Grow your own rock candy
Kids of all ages will enjoy this fun - and sweet - science experiment. With materials that can be easily found around the house such as sugar, string, and wax paper, plus a little bit of patience - and adult supervision for the boiling sugar solution - you can test whether or not seed crystals affect the growth rate of rock candy. Find more instructions for this experiment try this site [http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/FoodSci_p005.shtml?from=Blog#materials].
Learn about absorption with sponges
Not all science experiments need elaborate setups; in fact, ones like this can be put together in a matter of minutes! Using a sponge, washcloth, plastic blocks or toys, and a bowl or tub of water have children predict which objects with absorb the most water. Then experiment by placing each object into the bowl; which objects absorb the most water? The least? What can you do to increase or decrease absorption? Kids of all ages will enjoy cooling down on a hot day with this hands-on experiment.
Plant a vegetable garden
Whether you have a large garden or a few pots on a balcony, growing a vegetable garden during the summer can provide you with fresh produce while helping kids practice their science skills. Kids will enjoy predicting which plants will grow best in their climate, which seedlings will sprout first, and how different amounts of sunlight and water affect plant growth. If you don’t want to be digging and weeding in the dirt, try growing plants without soil with a hydroponic terrarium [http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/PlantBio_p045.shtml?from=Blog].
Cool down with homemade ice cream
Nothing beats the heat during the heat of summer quite like a bowl of cold ice cream. Kids can learn about lowering the freezing point of water while also making their own delicious treats. With cream, sugar, ice, rock salt, plastic bags, and the flavorings of their choice, kids can create their own ice cream concoctions. Learn more about making your own ice cream here [http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/homemade-ice-cream-sick-science/].
Build an egg parachute
As long as you don’t mind cracking a dozen - or more - eggs in the process, kids will enjoy the challenge of building an egg parachute and carton that can withstand being dropped from a ladder or balcony. This engineering-based activity encourages kids to think creatively and problem solve while using recycled materials from around the house. This science project can keep kids occupied for days at a time!