Before you know it, summer break will be over and it’ll be time to shop for school supplies. The end of vacation doesn’t mean you can’t still have lots of educational and messy fun! As your kids turn their focus from sand castles to studies, here are some activities to get them ready for school.
When your kids notice rainbows in the sky after a rainstorm, you’ve got a great teachable moment. You can also teach them about the beauty of light refraction with a prism and the summer sun. Once they can name all the colors of the rainbow, take them grocery shopping to find fruits and vegetables that match each color. You’ll have a polychromatic assortment of healthy snacks to pack in their lunches!
To help them remember the names of the colors, teach them the acronym “Roy G. Biv.” Each letter stands for a color in the order it appears in a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
Another way to learn about rainbows is to build a water xylophone. Grab six clean, small jars (baby food jars work great), a measuring cup, water and food coloring (blue, yellow and red). You’ll also need a xylophone striker (a spoon will work in a pinch).
Fill each jar with slightly less water than the last and see what notes you can make. Add a little bit of food dye and show your kids how to mix colors (secondary colors can be made by mixing primary colors). Then, ask them to play a song with their new instrument.
If you’ve taken your family to the beach and your kids have experienced salt water, they might already know a thing or two about buoyancy. Even if they haven’t seen the ocean yet, you can teach an easy lesson about how salt water in the ocean is different from fresh water in a river or a lake.
Fill four cups with tap water. Label the first cup “control: plain water,” and the other three as salt, sugar and baking soda. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of the ingredient into the proper cup.
Grapes, craft beads or small plastic jewels can be added to each mixture to see whether they float or sink. Before dropping in the items, ask your kids to guess what will happen. The density of the salt water will cause the items to float (you can add more salt to strengthen the effect), and the dissolved baking soda will create carbon dioxide gas that slowly attaches to the items and lifts them to the top.
These fun musical and colorful experiments will have your kids excited for science class and ready to learn.