Learning about science doesn’t have to be all boring textbook work. One of the best ways to understand science and the world around you is to use hands-on experiments to bring concepts to life. Children often learn better when they are actively engaged and can touch or see models of what’s happening. Parents can help them learn by completing some simple experiments at home.
Color Changing Flowers
Spring is the perfect time to complete this simple experiment and the only items needed are white flowers, vases, water, and food coloring. To complete the experiment, place each flower individually into a vase or jar. Add water to the vase and 10 drops of food coloring per vase. Then wait.
The purpose of this is to teach children about transpiration. Flowers absorb water through xylem which is then transported up the xylem to various parts of the flower. Transpiration takes place when sunlight evaporates water from the flower which leaves empty spots in the flower. This encourages water to be sucked up towards these spots. Within a few hours, a few small spots of color will be noticed on the petals of the flower. Over a matter of days, the flowers will turn the color of the water. This results in beautiful colors that are not typically found in nature.
Is your child a budding doctor? If so, then making a homemade stethoscope will be a fun project! The items needed are simple: two funnels, two feet of plastic tubing, two balloons, and electrical tape. Cut off the end of the balloon and place it over the widest part of the funnel. Tape the balloon in place, then place the ends of the tubing onto the ends of the funnel. Your child can use this to amplify sounds, and not just in the chest cavity. Have them listen to the walls to see if they can hear vibrations from the neighbors or a sibling upstairs.
Another experiment perfect for spring and summer is to teach the children how seeds grow. Simply take damp paper towels and stuff them into a plastic bag. Add a few seeds or beans into the towel. Then tape the plastic bag onto a window that gets plenty of sunlight. Soon your children will notice a budding sprout emerging from the seed. This will show them what is happening underground when seeds start to sprout in the vegetable patch.
Creating an interest in science can lead to a variety of educational avenues and careers later in life. Take the time to open up the world of science to your children with simple, but effective experiments you can do right at home.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on getting kids interested in degree programs like a bachelor in radiation science technology or engineering contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.