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Tag: Curiosity

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 30: Making Weather in Your Kitchen

In preschool, most kids start learning about science with the “daily weather report.” You remember it: one of the kids goes to the window and reports back to the class what the weather is, and then the teacher adds it to the daily calendar. It gives our children a tiny glimpse into the fascinating science of meteorology.

If your kids have the weather bug, here are two science experiments to encourage them…

Make a rainbow: It couldn’t be simpler to make a rainbow that is projected on your wall or ceiling. All you need is a clear glass container (a wide-mouth jar or juice glass is perfect), a mirror that is small enough to fit in the glass, a flashlight, and water. Fill the glass with water and place the mirror inside at an angle. Shine the flashlight on the mirror and you should see a rainbow. If you don’t, try changing the angle of the flashlight or the mirror (and, of course, turning off the lights will help too).

Make lightning: Push a thumbtack through the center of an aluminum pie pan turn the pan upside down (the sharp end of the tack should be pointing up through the bottom of the pan). Push the eraser end of a pencil (use a pencil with a new eraser) onto the thumbtack until it stands straight up. Place a styrofoam plate upside down on a table and have your kids rub the bottom of the plate very quickly with a piece of wool fabric (a wool sock works great). Use the pencil as a handle and put the aluminum pie plate on top of the styrofoam plate. Have your kid touch the aluminum pie pan with his finger. Was there a shock? If not, have him rub the styrofoam plate with the wool again. Once he’s feeling a little shock, turn off the lights before he touches the aluminum again.


31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 9: STEM Programs Over the Summer

In an effort to better prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs, many schools have added classes and activities to strengthen their focus on STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math. What’s great about this, other than getting kids ready for the real world, is that it feeds into kids’ natural curiosity. STEM activities are a perfect path for nurturing a child’s interest in the world around them.

So where should you go to help your kids keep up their STEM skills over the summer? Here are a few that we suggest:

– Your school: Lots of K-12 schools offer summer camps that focus on STEM skills. You might also try your local university’s summer programs.

– Libraries: Our branch is offering classes on science experiments (led by an actual scientist!) and on building towers out of spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. You’ll be surprised at all your local library has to offer.

– Museums, zoos, arboretums: Check out their list of summer camps, classes, and drop-in programs. These are a great way to get hands-on experiences not found elsewhere: dinosaur bones, robotics, animal encounters, bird watching, and so on.

– Websites: PBS Kids has a great section on STEM activities, and so does one of our favorite science sites, Tinkerlab.

Happy experimenting!

#schoolasummer #exploresummer

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