Ok y’all, so we took a vacation, and I got a little bit behind on this series, BUT, on our vacation we tried out a couple of these ideas, so I have actual pictures to share! Woohoo!
So these ideas came from a variety of places, and I’m just compiling them into one little list for you… plus, you get a bonus idea that we did on our trip that turned out super fun! But first, the list:
If you’re not an educator, or a science nut, you may want some more explanation on these… So… let’s break it down!
-Mix oil and water in a jar to make waves – take a spaghetti sauce jar, and clean it out thoroughly. Fill the jar about half way with water, and add food coloring of your choice. Stir it up, or close the lid tightly and let your kiddo shake the jar! Then, ASK your child, “what do you think will happen when we add vegetable oil to this?” Get them to make predictions, then try it! Pour the oil in slowly, so they can really see how it doesn’t mix. Then, screw the lid on TIGHTLY. You may even want to put a couple drops of super glue on the mouth of the jar before adding the lid, just to ensure it doesn’t get opened. Slowly turn the jar side to side, and show your child how waves occur. Then, let your kiddo hold the jar and tilt it, turn it, and then finally, shake it really hard!!! ***BONUS – if you have glitter and want to add glitter to the jar, that adds a fun element and it’s interesting to watch if the glitter sink or float through the oil!*** This activity gives you an opportunity to talk about density, and also about gravity and how it pulls. This is also a good jar to keep around – if your child gets upset (sibling crap, right?) it’s a great time-out jar – have them shake it really good, and then sit and watch it until the oil and water are totally separate again!
-Ice Cube/Cement Experiment – this one is super easy, but you can modify it to make it really fun in lots of different ways! Basically, on a hot day, set an ice cube on the concrete of your driveway or porch (in direct sun) and see how long it takes to melt totally! While you’re doing that, play with other ice cubes!! Use them to draw on the concrete. It’s fun to first start the project inside, the day before – you can get super fun silicone molds at Dollar Tree, Walmart, or Hobby Lobby, and make your ice cubes be all sorts of fun shapes! OR you can use a regular ice mold and put little items in the water – like tiny toy dinosaurs, buttons, or brightly colored pony beads. As the ice melts, the items become accessible! It seems crazy, and super simple, but you’d be amazed by how much it entertains your kids!! (And aren’t we all about keeping their minds busy on something OTHER than a screen this summer?!?!)
-Make ice cream in a bag – ok, honestly, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve tried this one, but it’s on our summer fun list this year, and I think I want to try it while Gray is at “Mamie and Pappy Camp” at my inlaw’s house this year because Becca is my kiddo who REALLY loves ice cream. Then, if it works well, we’ll add it to our fun “to do” list for camping trips! Here’s the recipe I plan to use. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!!!! We’ll be doing ours in a couple weeks.
-Old pennies project – this one we’re actually doing today – watch my Facebook page for pictures tomorrow!! The first step is to sort through your kids’ piggy banks… which could be as easy or as challenging as you want to make it. You can have them sort all the coins, talk about values, who is on the coins, what they did for our country, etc. You could count all the money, and plan for what they’d like to purchase… perhaps plan a lemonade stand to make more money to reach their goal. Ultimately, you want to get about 5-10 really old, dirty pennies out of the piggy bank… so what you do to get to that point is up to you and the age/interest of your kiddos. Then, in several small cups or bowls, you’re going to add a few different types of liquid. Be sure to label each cup or bowl!! Here are some liquids to try: lemon juice, vinegar, water, soapy water, Coke, apple juice, ETC – get creative! If your kids are old enough, have them write predictions for each type of liquid and what it will do to the pennies. Or, just discuss it! Drop a couple pennies into each type of liquid. Leave them on the counter, and come back around 24 hours later. Record any/all changes (or talk about it). If you want to extend it another day to see if there are more changes, draw it out as long as you’d like! For your older kids, this is a great opportunity to talk about acidic liquids and what they do inside your body, too!
-Lemon juice and baking soda balloon project – ok, I’ve seen this one done a couple of different ways, but basically, it works best if you recycle a water bottle (or perhaps, the Coke bottle you used from the experiment above?). Put some lemon juice in the bottle, and then add some baking soda and quickly place the mouth of a balloon all the way around the mouth of the bottle. Watch the balloon expand, and talk about the gas reaction between the acid and base. It’s also a good opportunity to talk about how important it is to talk about your feelings – if we hold things in and let them bother us, we can eventually blow up like a balloon, ready to pop… but if we talk through our feelings, or draw or write about them in a journal, it helps us get the pressure out so that it doesn’t build up and make us explode!
-Egg and vinegar experiment – I posted on my Facebook page about this experiment here – go check it out for photos and more ideas that were shared in the comments! This is a super fun and easy one to do.
-Identify cloud shapes – this is a great one to do outside on a cloudy day – you can lay on beach towels and just look at the sky – OR, you can even do it in the car on a road trip, or just randomly encourage your kids to do this around town as you run errands! Check out this seahorse we found while on our trip to Palo Duro Canyon!
-Collect wildflowers to press… it’s just that simple! Press in a heavy book and check on them a few days later! They can be awesome kept in layers of contact paper as bookmarks, too! 🙂
-Build a popsicle stick bird house (or bird feeder) – this is a fabulous pattern/design shared here… and we plan to make these later on this summer to hang up at our new house!!
-Celery Coloring – we also started this one today, so be sure to check out my Facebook page tomorrow for photos of this project and tips/ideas!
-Blowing distance experiment – this one is super fun, and easy! You’ll need some painter’s tape to tape on your hard floor (tile, linoleum, wood, or concrete) and a measuring tape. You’ll also need several random items, like a small ball, a little toy car, some Legos on wheels, a paper cup laid on it’s side, etc. You’ll also want a marker or pen to write on the tape. Have your kiddos make a large L shape on the floor with painters tape, and make measurement marks on the long side – up to 12″ (or further, if they think they can blow the objects that far!) Then, they’ll lay down on the floor on their tummies, and start each object at the short tape line. They’ll blow as hard as they can to get the object to roll. You might want to mark where it stops with a sticky note flag. See which child and which object can roll the farthest. This one is GREAT for a rainy day when they are going stir crazy and need something DIFFERENT to get them busy… laying on their tummies and blowing uses different muscles than they use in regular activity, too!
-Evaporation project outside – this one is great for older kids on a week when you know it’s going to just be hot and sunny all week long. On day one, record the temperature at your start time (whenever that may be). Carefully measure one cup of water into a clear container. (A plastic cup that you can mark on with a sharpie is the best!) Be sure to mark where the top of the water is before you set it in the sun. Then, check on it every couple of hours to watch the water disappear! For your older kids who are recording in a journal, they can measure how many in/cm change occurs. They can try the next day setting it out at a different time to see if it evaporates faster/slower at different times of the day. OR, they could also try evaporating different types of liquid! Does apple juice, for example, evaporate as quickly as water? For this, be sure you have your cups exposed to the sun exactly the same amount of time, and are setting next to each other so they for sure receive the same amount of sun.
-Outdoor Scavenger Hunt – you can search for different shapes, colors, or even things that start with the letters of your name! I’m working on creating some outdoor scavenger hunt sheets, that should be on my Teachers Pay Teachers page next week! Be sure to look for those – I’ll have one freebie, and the whole set will be $2.00, and will cover a variety of themes and interests!
-Target practice with sidewalk chalk and sponges – this is a super fun one… just draw a target on your driveway or porch, and have a bucket of water and sponges… practice throwing the sponges from different distances to see if you can hit the target! For extra math practice, include numbers for points for each ring, and have your kiddos add up their points with each throw!
-Build an obstacle course and complete it! This one can be great for ALL ages – even toddlers can get involved in this one… and you can do them indoors or outdoors, getting as creative as you want. Use recycled materials, furniture, blankets, lawn decor, etc – depending on where you are doing it and how messy you want to get. Perhaps even have your kiddos work together to create a trophy for the one who can complete the obstacle course in the fastest time! Get together the neighbors, cousins, or just compete within your household! Who can win? It IS important for kids to work hard on something, and not win the trophy. This is a great way for them to have a lot of fun setting it up, use some math with running a stopwatch, use some art to create the trophy, and then there’s only ONE winner. Celebrate that person, and then everybody gets to enjoy popsicles as a reward for their hard work and dedication!
BONUS ACTIVITY…. SOLAR OVEN SMORES!
I found this AMAZING camping activity packet before we went on our trip, and it has some AWESOME Solar Oven Smores info in it! I don’t want to steal Cristina’s thunder, or her ideas, so I’m going to just highly encourage you to purchase her packet (and check out her blog here). I know $6.00 seems a bit high, but she has put a TON of work into this packet, and there’s some really cute stuff in there. My kids have LOVED her book, “If you give a Moose a Marshmallow” that is interactive and included in the file. Your kids will love it, too, even if you aren’t camping at all this summer! You could camp in your very own living room with sleeping bags and turn on a sound reel of crickets chirping, make Solar Oven Smores, and just pretend you are camping, while enjoying your A/C and your own bathroom just steps away! 🙂 NOTE: We made our Solar Oven Smores for lunch time – we set it up at 11:40am, and by 1:15pm, they were ready to eat! We did modify her solar oven plan a tad b/c I didn’t have any tape or glue in the rv, and I didn’t have clear wrap, so we used a ziploc bag in place of the clear wrap, and a couple bandaids instead of tape! (Hey, you use what you’ve got, right? Lol!)
Want more ideas? I’m posting on my Facebook page a lot, plus, I’ll have the Summer Survival – Art Projects edition coming SOON!!