Summer and spring are the perfect times for kids to have some hands-on learning activities. No classroom lesson, no homework, and no textbooks. This is the season when kids want to play outside and enjoy the great weather.
Here are a few easy and enjoyable outdoor science activities that your kids can do this season:
Watermelon Volcano Activity
This is an awesome summer experiment for the whole family with materials easily found at home. Despite this activity being messy, this is still a sure hit for every kid and kids at heart.
You will need:
- Dish soap
- Baking Soda
- Food Coloring (optional)
You will also need a small tray to catch the eruption, a knife, and a melon baller.
To start, cut out a small hole on top of the watermelon. It’s like carving a pumpkin for Halloween. Keep the opening small – just enough to scoop the fruit out. The smaller the opening, the better the eruption will be. Scoop out the fruit using the melon baller. Have a taste of the sweet fruit as much as you can – nothing ever goes to waste on this activity.
How to make a watermelon volcano:
Add a good amount of baking soda – a tablespoon to start with. You can also pour in half a cup to the watermelon if you prefer a bigger eruption. Then add a couple squirts of dish soap. If you prefer more color, you can add food coloring as well. Lastly, pour in the vinegar and watch how your watermelon erupts. Lemon juice can also be used as an alternative.
You will see froth, fizz, and bubbles from the chemical reaction when vinegar and baking soda are combined. The base, which is your baking soda, and the acid in the vinegar, will create the fizzing gas or carbon dioxide. The dish soap, when added will cause your watermelon to bubble and froth.
Exploring Solar Heat
As the Earth’s most natural form of heating, this activity is ideal for your kids to learn and explore the sun’s heat. This experiment needs adult supervision.
Materials needed to build a passive solar heater:
- Empty soda cans
- Matte black spray paint
- Masking tape
- Non-contact infrared digital thermometer
- Tin snips
- Solar powered fan kit
Wash and dry your cans. Using the tin snips, create a hole. Be careful and watch your kids as tin snips and the edges on the can are sharp. If you are using 6 empty soda cans, cut them in different ways:
- 1st can – side hole near the top and bottom
- 2nd-5th cans – hole on top and the bottom
- 6th can – side hole near the top
Stack them all with the 6th can on the top and the 1st can at the bottom. Make sure that both cans are facing opposite directions. Secure them together with masking tape. You may also tape the edges for safety purposes. Paint the cans with the matte spray paint. Since we want the cans to absorb as much heat as possible, make sure that it stays mostly black.
While your cans are drying, assemble your solar fan kit based on the instructions provided. If you do not have an available solar powered fan, you can use a small fan as an alternative. Once everything is assembled and your cans are dry, take it outside under the direct sunlight. Pick a calm day as wind will mess with your readings. Place the fan at the bottom so that it is blowing inside the chimney. After about 5 minutes, take a reading. Do this process every 5 minutes or so and observe how the temperature varies. You may also place the fan in the exit vent and see how the results change. Try to measure the temperature without the fan for a different result.
This type of activity is sure to build curiosity in your child’s mind. As the sun’s energy hits the makeshift chimney and is then transferred through a process called convection, it heats the molecules in the air inside. That is the reason why the temperature rises.
Mentos and Diet Cola Experiment
One of the most simple outdoor science activities for kids is the mentos and diet coke experiment. Grab some diet coke and pop in a mentos (mint or fruit flavored). Watch and enjoy how the coke reacts to the candy.
Go on walk sounds activity with your kids
This is a great activity to help them develop their sensory awareness and make them more aware of the world around them. Grab a pen and pencils and walk outside with your kid. Let them record all the sounds they hear. Not only do they get to enjoy a lovely time outside, but they will also be able to discover many sounds an object or animal makes.