Science activities are a very popular choice when Pyjama Angels are looking for ways to engage their Pyjama Child in learning activities.
There are many intriguing books with illustrations and amazing online sites with Youtube videos, that will excite and entice even the most reluctant young person to “have a go.”
Once the child gives you permission to work on a science experiment you have been given permission to engage in discussing, making hypotheses, reading, testing, recording results (writing or producing tables), drawing conclusions and making generalisations.
Here is a list of resources we have discovered and some that you may have seen on our closed Facebook page.
For Younger Children
Blocks Challenge: This is a super easy one to set up and play, and it can be easily tweaked to your child’s level. Create a shape on the floor in tape, then challenge your child to fill the shape with blocks. A fun way to explore spatial understanding.
Sorting and classifying rocks: This one is an easy introduction to scientific concepts of sorting and classification. All you need is a magnifying glass, and a scavenger hunt to collect some rocks!
Upcycled Catapult: Create your own catapult with items from around the house! How far can you launch your item? All you need is a paper towel roll, hair elastic, and wooden spoon. This is a basic introduction to fulcrum and lever machines.
For Primary School Aged Children
Hand Crank Winch: Recycle some common household items into this fun engineering experiment! Two paper towel rolls serve as the towers that suspend the winch, which can then be spun around to lift an object.
Suspension bridge: How does a suspension bridge work? Create your own miniature version to find out! This project explores concepts of balance, weight and tensile strength. Plus, you have a fun homemade bridge to play matchbox cars with afterwards!
The Bending Pencil: Is this a magic trick? Nope, it’s science! Learn all about refraction of light with this experiment. When you put a pencil in a glass of water, the pencil seems to “break.” This is due to the waves of light travelling faster through air than they do through water. Fascinating!
Make It Move Car Challenge: Challenge your child to move a toy car along a racetrack, with one catch: you can’t touch the car or alter the track! Some ideas from the article to get the car moving include magnets, wind-powered sails, and a zipline. What will your child invent?
DIY Thermometer: This one is easier than it sounds! The basic supplies are a clear jar, clear straw, rubbing alcohol, food colouring and playdough. Assemble your thermometer and place it in different locations to see how it will react to different temperatures. Due to the different temperature sensitivities of water and rubbing alcohol, the liquid will react differently. When it is hotter, the fluid will be pushed up through the straw, and the opposite reaction will occur for the cold.
For Teens and Tweens
Star Wars Coding Game: You will need a computer and internet access for this one. This is a super fun way to teach kids coding concepts in the form of a game. What kid doesn’t love Star Wars right now?
Make an Archimedes Screw: Can you make water travel up a hill? The answer is yes, with an Archimedes screw! This device was invented thousands of years ago to lift water from one location to another, and it is so simple that it is still in use today. You will need a few more supplies for this one: PVC pipe and clear vinyl tubing.
Grown your own plants with Hydroponics: Experiment with hydroponics in this fun experiment. It’s great for older kids because you can start to explore the scientific method. Discover the differences between a plant grown in regular soil, and a plant grown using hydroponics. Disclaimer: you will probably need to make a trip to Bunnings to put this one together, as you will need coconut coir, seeds, and plant nutrients.
Zoetrope Animation: This is another experiment that is part optical illusion, part science. The zoetrope spins around and as the viewer looks through the slit, the images form an animated image. This is due to something called persistence of vision, which is the principle that our brains will work to fill motion between frames.