5 DIY ideas to teach your kids simple science conceptshttps://indianexpress.com/article/parenting/learning/5-diy-ideas-teach-kids-simple-science-concepts-5412521/

5 DIY ideas to teach your kids simple science concepts

Science experiments make children more inquisitive and improve their levels of concentration. Do try a few experiments and have fun.

making science fun for kids
Make science fun for kids and encourage them to ask questions. (Source: Dreamstime)

Here are some activities and ideas to encourage curious minds at home.

By Anisha N

Science is one of the few subjects in our curriculum that can be taught to children by observing the world around us. With an innate sense of wonder and endless enthusiasm for learning how things work, your child is a born scientist.

Children love science, especially if they are engaged in a concept based learning project
or exploration. When kids grow up in science-friendly homes, they are encouraged to ask questions, think critically, experiment, explain their reasoning, read, write, create models, etc. Children usually become a lot more constructive, observant and cooperative when experiments or projects are engaging and exploratory.

Teaching basic science to your kids is easy. However, in order for the kids to grasp a concept fully, there’s nothing better than letting them do it on their own.

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Here are 5 DIY ideas/activities to teach inquisitive and curious little scientists at home:

THE EGGY FALL

An activity that works well with preschoolers, especially ones who enjoy dropping things, playing fetch, and generally, display effervescent behaviour.

What you need

30-cm scale

Half-a-dozen eggs

A countertop or table that is easy to clean

A pack of tissue papers

A counter-cleaning mop

Here’s what you do

Use a hand to hold the scale vertical.

Using the other hand, point out to your child that the tip of the scale is the high point and the bottom is the low point.

Now drop an egg from the high point so that it falls next to the scale on the table/counter top that you are using. The egg will break.

Clean the mess while telling your child that eggs break when dropped from a height.

Show the low point and drop an egg. Does the egg break? No.

What if we could do an experiment so that the egg doesn’t break even if dropped from the same height?

Place a set of tissue papers (3-4 inch thickness) on the counter where the egg will fall.

Hold the scale vertically and drop the egg from the same high point, but this time on the set of tissues.

The egg will not break due to the cushioning provided by the tissues.

What do they learn?

Preschoolers learn about high point and low point. They learn that eggs break. Older children (4-5 year-olds) learn about cushioning. They can also be made to understand the various types of cushioning mechanisms that are used in our day to day lives. Parents should show spring mattresses, sofas, floor mats, and rugs as the various cushioning mechanisms that we use in our day to day lives. Linings of refrigerator doors also use the same cushioning mechanism so that the door doesn’t bang when closed. This can also be shown to children.

Even muscles around our bones are like cushions for protection. Try explaining that to your young one.

HOME OCEAN

This one works best with 5-8 year old kids. It tells them how the ocean currents move and the science behind waves.

What you need

A flat-based glass container (approx. 5cm by 5cm)

A plastic or glass jar

150-200 gm salt

Turmeric powder

Here’s what you do

Fill the flat-base glass container with water.

Fill the glass/plastic jar with water.

Now add 150-200 gm of salt to the water in the jar.

Add some turmeric powder and mix well. You now have a yellow solution.

Place your flat-base container under the sun and pour the salt solution into it.

What do they learn?

The salty yellow solution sinks to the bottom of the flat-base container. Since we have added colour, we can easily distinguish the salty solution from the plain water. Slowly, as the water comes in contact with sunlight, saltwater reacts with the heat to create kinetic energy. You can witness the yellow salt water move like waves under the plain water in the container.

This is the same science that gets applied to ocean waves. Ocean water is salty and that reacts with the sun and creates movement. These currents are called thermohaline currents. ‘Thermo’ means heat and ‘haline’ means salt.

making science fun
Try some simple science experiments at home. (Source: Dreamstime)

TAP THE BALLOON

This one talks about the conductors of sound. Air is a good conductor of sound and that gets proved by using a simple balloon and your hands. Wondering how?

What you need

A balloon

Here’s what you do

Blow an average-sized balloon and do not tie the open end.

Hold the balloon, open side, towards your kid’s ears.

Now tap the balloon on the other side, lightly.

Ask your child what he/she hears.

What do they learn?

Ideally, your child will hear a loud tapping. Keep tapping the balloon and make your child hear the sounds. Explain to your child that while air is a good conductor of sound, compressed air (enclosed air) is the best conductor of sound, which is why a slight tap on a balloon is heard loudly on the other end. 

KINETIC BALLS

Moving balls carry a lot of kinetic energy. It works well for games like basketball and table tennis.

What you need

A few balls like football, cricket ball, and basketball.

Here’s what you do

In an open space, hold the three balls and throw them together on the floor so that they bounce.

What do they learn?

When balls are thrown together, they touch each other while bouncing. Every time a ball comes in contact with another, the bounce increases. Moving objects transfer kinetic energy when they come in contact with each other. This experiment proves just that.

COLA EFFECT

This is an interesting way to teach kids about the ill effects of drinking aerated drinks.

What you need

A small bottle of any cola-based drink

A pan

A stove

A spoon

Here’s what you do

A small bottle of any cola-based drink

In the pan, pour 250 ml of cola-based drink.

Heat the pan on the stove.

Make sure that your child is standing at a considerable distance.

As you heat the pan, the liquid starts evaporating. Slowly, the liquid starts solidifying. As you continue heating, the black liquid turns into tar-like substance. You can use a spoon to move the tar around and you will notice that it is sticky.

What do they learn?

The experiment helps children know the negatives of drinking concentrated drinks. You can also talk to your children about tar and its use to construct roads.

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Science experiments make children more inquisitive and improve their levels of concentration. Do try a few experiments and have fun.

(The writer is Child Development Expert, Flintobox.)