Crazy DIY Projects to Teach Your Kids Some Physics
Spending time with your kids is hard in this day and age – if you’re at work all day long and they’re in school or busy with extracurricular stuff, there’s no way you’ll have the time for each other. And when you eventually do, it’s not quality time, but just an activity some parents do in order to make their children happy. It’s almost like another chore they perform unwillingly. On the other hand, there are lots of parents who find time in their busy schedules to read to their kids, tuck them into bed, take them on road trips, help them with their homework and try to be an integral part of their childhood. Another great way to be a good parent is by sparking ideas in the mind of your kids and inspiring them to explore the world on their own – and if you want to turn this into something even better, start doing DIY projects with them and help them discover a thing or two they can’t learn at school. Here are some ideas you could look into.
Why are these projects good?
First of all, these DIY science projects aren’t just an amazing way to spend time with your children, but also an activity they can benefit from significantly. No matter how good their school is, it’s highly unlikely it can afford practical science projects – except dissecting a frog, of course – so your kid’s knowledge is limited and theoretical instead of being tried out in practice. And that’s precisely the way to learn, starting from the preschool age – by exploring the possibilities, finding other options and coming up with solutions on their own.
Moreover, this is a sure way to actually learn something new and understand it more thoroughly. Unless you want your children to blindly repeat everything the teacher tells them, they have to take the next step and do things on their own. Finally, you’ll teach your kids how to be handy and skillful, and it’s important for them to build such a bond with their parents. Some things they just have to learn from their moms and dads, whether it’s building a dog house and painting the fence or how certain science laws work in practice.
Let’s begin with something simple all kids can understand. Deflection defines the change of an object’s acceleration and youngsters known it as bounciness. This principle is one of the basics of elementary school physics and something every child catches early on, but how can you explain deflection to them so that they truly comprehend it? Easy – show them how to make a bouncy ball!
This easy experiment requires just a few ingredients – borax, corn starch, glue, some warm water and two small mixing cups – and a pair of skillful hands. Mix borax and warm water in one mixing cup and then mix them together with glue and corn starch in the other, and simply let all the ingredients interact before stirring them. After just a few minutes of molding, your child will not only have their own bouncy ball but also learn about deflection and the chemical reaction between borax, glue and corn starch.
A similar experiment can be performed with a simple egg and here you will teach your child how to explore deflection even further, but also something about osmosis as well. That’s basically how you explain the movement of molecules from a less into a more concentrated solution and the way they literally change their state. This way, your kids will also learn about viscosity and plasticity, and that’s something they can’t pick up in school.
Creating a magic egg that bounces is easier than you think and requires nothing more than an egg, some white vinegar and a glass jar. After boiling the egg, put it in the jar and fill it with vinegar. Close the jar as tight as you can, leave it for about a week, then rinse and clean the egg with water, dry it and watch it bounce! The reasons why this egg turned into a bouncy egg-shaped ball may be hard to comprehend at first, but your child will undoubtedly start playing with it as soon as possible and observe the principles of osmosis, deflection and Newton’s laws of motion first hand.
Transparency and translucency
Speaking of eggs, how about taking this DIY science fair a step further and creating a transparent egg? Transparency and translucency are two similar principles that connect optics and common sense, discussing the property of an object to allow light to pass through it uninterruptedly and your ability to see through it. This is something science teachers generally love since the children go nuts for everyday items that become transparent right before their eyes.
In order to create a translucent egg, you’ll need some vinegar, a large jar and, of course, a raw egg. Simply place it in the jar, fill it with vinegar and leave it for a full day before changing the vinegar supply for the next 48 hours. So, after three days, remove the egg from the jar, rinse under cold water and observe how transparent it’s become. The vinegar basically eroded the shell, leaving the egg translucent and your child amazed!
Time and motion
These are the two most important concepts in physics and something you can’t imagine the world without. However, both time and motion are abstract, especially to smaller children and finding a way to explain that can be challenging for some teachers. That’s why most of them ask the parents for help and it’s up to moms and dads to find easy-to-understand examples of time and motion around the house. And what better way to understand this than by building their own clock?
All you need to do here is disassemble a clock you already have, show your kids all the individual pieces, talk to them about the passage of time and what makes needles move, and then just put everything back together. You can also create a new body with an intricate shape your kids will love, or even decorate it with their own art. If you can’t find inspiration, be sure to check out decorative wall clocks online and see the possibilities you and your kids can explore.
The Perks of Crazy DIY Science Projects
All of these projects will benefit your kids on several levels – they’ll be able to understand science lessons much better, learn about physics in practice, develop their own DIY skills and, most importantly, spend some time with their parents. Giving them a chance to explore the world is something all of us want for our children.