We’re just at the end of a Science Week at school, where the children’s learning has mainly been focused around Science and Computing, so I thought I would share some idea with you that could easily be done at home!
Science in the early years is very much centred around awe and wonder, as well as looking closely and talking about things we have observed, such as patterns, change, similarities and differences. Here are a few fun and simple activities that children will love.
The Mouldy Bread
This activity is great for teaching children all about germs and hand hygiene. You start with two slices of bread and two zip lock bags. You handle one piece of bread lots with unwashed hands (we passed our around the whole class of 30 children!) before placing it in one of the bags. The next piece you only handle as much as needed to get it into the other bag, and only after washing your hands. You then observe the bread over time and the one that was touched by dirty hands should go mouldy much faster! This is a great visual demonstration to children about why we’re always nagging them to was their hands!
Another great way to show how easily germs spread is to cover one child’s hand with glitter. Get them to high five you or a friend, open the door, pick up a pencil etc and see just how many things get covered in glitter. Touch these things yourself to show how the germs (glitter) pass so easily onto another person. Then ask them to try and clean their hands with some dry tissue. They should find this really hard. Then ask them to give their hands a thorough wash using soap and water, see how much cleaner they are now and why proper hand washing is so important!
I’ve seen this skittles experiment around a lot lately so the chances are you’ve already tried it but my class loved it so much that I had to include it. Quite a few said they had seen a video of it on YouTube but were amazed to see it themselves right in front of their eyes, so I’d definitely say the real thing is worth doing!
You simply make a circle of skittles around the edge of the plate, then pour some warm water around the outside. Then sit back and watch! It took a few seconds to get going, long enough for me to think it wasn’t going to work, but then the colours started leaking from the skittles and spreading towards the centre of the plate. The children were so excited and the pattern was so pretty. If you had more time (and less than 30 children) you could arrange the skittles into a repeating pattern or the order of the rainbow, to make yours look even better. We can also confirm that soggy skittles taste just as good as ones straight from the packet haha!
How many in a minute?
This experiment combines a maths objective (measuring short periods of time in simple ways) with a science one (observing the effects of exercise in a minute). We simply got the children to talk about how they were feeling before we started and to feel their own heart rate. Then we turned over a one minute sand timer (although the timer on your phone would work just as well) and got them to count how many star jumps they could do in a minute. They could do quite a few so if your child/children can’t count high enough you can simply shorten the length of time. Then we asked them to thing about how they felt now (hot, tired, thirsty) compared to before, and to feel their heart rate again. Lots of fun and it tires them out slightly too!
This is another simple experiment that focuses on observing changes over time. Simply fill a latex glove with water, tie it and place it in the freezer for a few hours. Then leave it out in a tray for the children to watch. You can add different colours to make it more interesting, red is a little gruesome! We added blue paint and sequins to make Elsa’s hands that any Frozen fan would love! This activity could be enhanced further by adding toys into the ice (oh help, Mr Freeze has frozen all of our toys) and encouraging the children to find the fastest way to free them.
This activity is great for observing how different substances change as we combine them, its also a really good for sensory play and lots of fun too. Simply mix together 2 cups of corn flour, 1 cup of (cheap) shampoo and a few drops of green food colouring or paint. Once you have a paste like consistency that you can pick up briefly before is slides through your fingers you’re good to go. Add more shampoo or corn flour as required. Add in plastic dinosaurs or natural materials to make a small world/sensory tray with your finished slime.
Let me know if you try any of these. Have fun!
Thanks for popping by,