For kindergarten, science is about exploration, observation, and wonderful surprises. Get outdoors and try some great summer science experiences with your kids! Many of these will be suited to preK and elementary as well.
- Have each child find a flat object with a clear shape. Lay the objects on black construction paper (poorer quality paper is better in this case — solar paper will make art out of the experience) and set them in the sun. At the same time, set out a piece of white construction paper. Later in the day, go back and see how the sun has faded the area around the object, and left the shape of the object where the paper was protected by the sun.
- You can also put squares of masking tap or yard sale dot stickers onto leaves and see what happens where the sun doesn’t reach them. Don’t have all the students do this to one plant!
- Have each student or group of students line a small box with foil. Inside, put a graham cracker square, a square of milk chocolate (it melts faster than dark chocolate), and a couple of tiny marshmallows. Set the boxes in the sun. After lunch, go out and enjoy the solar s’mores.
- Give kids paint brushes and water and let them make designs on the sidewalk. As the designs fade, discuss how the water they painted with evaporated. Sing “The Eeensy Weensy Spider,” an excellent song about evaporation. (Josepha says, “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” That’s okay, too.)
- Use prisms or color paddles to play with light. Let kids make different colors on the sidewalk or courtyard. Light divides in a prism into the spectrum of colors, but light shining through a color paddle shows only the color of the paddle. Show what happens when you let light shine through more than one panel at a time.
- If you have access to a garden hose with a mister, you can create a rainbow for the kids to admire. Point out that the drops of water do the same thing a prism does.
- Each time you go out for one of these projects, have students stand in the same place and see how tall their shadows are. Have a friend mark the top of each child’s shadow and see how the shadows move as the day goes on.
- When you’ve finished all the solar powered science fun for the day, have children touch the white paper and the black paper and see if one is hotter than the other. Notice that the white paper reflects the light, while the black paper does not. This is why the energy from the sun, in the form of heat, is kept in the paper.