Focus on Science

The best way to get your children to learn about anything is to disguise it as fun. Here are some activities that your kids will love and will teach them something as well!

Monday -- Magnets: Use those magnets stuck all over the refrigerator for some fun. Start with a treasure hunt. How many things in your house will a magnet stick to? Other appliances? Pots and pans? Ask them why? Then set them loose in the toy box or junk drawer to see what smaller items their magnets collect. Now it's time to go fishing. Have the kids draw, color and cut out six to eight fish about six inches long -- construction paper or a brown paper bag works well. Put a paper clip on the "nose" of each fish and scatter them on the ground. Attach each child's magnet to a string, and have then go fishing!

Tuesday -- Physical Fitness: Stage your own "Parent's Fitness Award" day. Get the video recorder out and have your kids show you how many push-ups, sit-ups, or jump-rope repetitions they can do. Who can jump the highest? Or the furthest? Who is faster running? Crawling? Crab walking? Who can do the most forward rolls or cart-wheels? How many times can they hop on one foot? The other foot? Use a log or a 2 by 4 as a balance beam and try walking forward, backward and sideways without falling. Keep track of all the answers and help your kids make a bar graph, each child has his own color for each activity. Give awards for the best performance in each age group. Tell them you'll do this again in a month and if they practice each activity every day they might improve!

Wednesday -- Air: For the first activity, set each child up with a drinking straw and either ping-pong or cotton balls. Sit the kids on opposite sides of the table, and the goal is to blow through the straws to keep any cotton/ping-pong balls from going over the table edge on their side -- be sure to take pictures of the competition! Next, make a simple jet engine. Thread a long piece of string through a straw and tie each end securely to a chair so the string is tight and level. Blow up an oblong balloon and tie a slip-knot around the end. Fasten the balloon to the underside of the straw with tape at one end of the string. Pull the slip-knot and watch the balloon go!

Thursday -- Skills Competitions: Continue Tuesday's theme of physical competition by seeing which child can throw a ball the longest and who is most accurate. How far away can they hit a can/bottle with a ball? Who can kick a ball the farthest? Fill five or six two liter soda bottles with water and have hand and kick bowling competitions. If you have a basketball hoop, find out who can shoot the most baskets. Use markers to make a target on a couple of grocery bags, opened up and taped together and tape the target to an outside wall. Dip a tennis ball in water, throw it at the target and use the water marks to see where each throw lands. Make sure you record the fun, then make a graph or chart and challenge your kids to improve!

Friday -- Soda Bottle Tidal Wave: You will need one clear 2 liter soda bottle with the label removed, cooking oil and colored water. Fill the bottle half with oil and half with water, tilt the bottle slowly back and forth and watch the waves! Shake it and time how long it takes for the oil and water to separate. Which one comes out on top? Is it faster if you just turn it upside down? Roll it along the floor and see what happens!

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