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Fun Science Activities for Kids

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We are gearing up for some science fun with this week's Discover & Explore linky. 

I love introducing hands-on science activities to kids so that they can experiment, think and ponder all those wonderful questions they love to ask to stump their parents ;) 

There are a number of easy ways to learn with science -- many of them arise from the questions the kids have about things they see happening in the world around them.  For fun ideas about how to introduce every day science concepts, try a few of these fun ways to teach kids about science.

Other questions are more easily answered with a quick experiment like this one on optial illustions.

 

Optical Illustions - Science for Kids

Create an Optical Illusion

My kids have always been crazy over the optical illusions they see in books and very intrigued in how it's done. If you're not sure what I mean, here are a few books for kids that show a variety of optical illustions:

 

  Amazing Optical Illusions

 

  Xtreme Illusions (National Geographic Kids)

 

An optical illusion is a visual image that can be perceived differently depending on how you look at it.  We say it's a picture that tricks your mind.

It really is kind of a trick so we thought we'd do one for Halloween as part of a trick and treat for you!

This is a super easy one to do at home -- here's what you'll need:

  • An index card or two small pieces of paper that are the same size
  • Tape
  • Markers (to draw the picture) -- we found they work better than crayons
  • A pencil 

 

Create an Optical Illusion

If you're using an index card, fold it in half.  For paper, you'll just need two pieces that are approximately 2 - 3 inches in size. 

You can see that we bent the card in half to get two equal sections.

Then you'll need to decide what picture you'd like to use for your illusion. 

We chose a jack o'lantern for Halloween but you can also do any fun picture that can be drawn in two parts.  Draw the pumpkin on one of the pieces of paper and on the other, draw the jack o'lanterns face. 

Tape the index card to the top of the pencil -- and then watch this video!  You'll need to hold the pencil between your two hands and move it back and forth quickly to have the illusion appear.

 

 

 

As you can see, the face looks like it appears to be on the pumpkin when you spin the pencil quickly!  The more smoothly you can spin the pencil, the better the illusion will appear to those watching.

 

 The Science Behind the Experiment

One of the things I really like about optical illusions is that scientists are still studying and testing why we see things the way we do.  There have been a few theories about how they work.  One of the more recent studies has shown an optical illusion occurs because our brain is trying to understand and make sense of what we see.  Sometimes the brain will use past images and experiences to try and understand what the eyes are seeing.

In this experiment, the paper is moving so quickly that the brain is receiving information about the second picture as it is still processing the first picture. So, the jack o'lantern face appears to be on the orange pumpkin when the pencil is spun quickly.  When you slow down the pencil, your eyes and brain will see the two images independently.

It's a great example of "things aren't always what they appear to be"!

 

Fun Ways to Explore Science

We'd love to see your science experiments and activities this week! 

 

 discover-explore-button

Make sure to visit all our co-hosts for more fun ideas this week:

Fantastic Fun & Learning    ***    Buggy & Buddy

  Teach Preschool    ***    Two-daloo

 

Please read the following guidelines for sharing:

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic -- kids activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, printables, etc.
  • By linking up, you are giving me permission to share your post including one photo in our weekly feature post and on social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that have linked up, find some new ideas & meet new friends!
  • If you'd like, grab a button for your post -- we love to share and want to find lots of great activities to highlight for you!
  • Each of the host blogs will feature some of the outstanding posts the week following the linky!

Upcoming Topics:

November 6th - Thanksgiving Activities

November 13th - Cooking with Kids

November 20th - Life Skills

 

If you aren't already, please remember to follow us on Pinterest so you're sure not to miss those feature posts.  You can also find us on Facebook and g+ too!

 

 

 

  • Guest
    Vicky October 31

    That is so cool! My daughter would love this. Any ideas for other ideas for what to draw on the 2 cards?

  • Guest

    I remember doing this experiment as a kid. Great learning activity! Thanks for sharing it with us, Jacquie!

  • Guest
    Natalie November 09

    Very fun! Daughter just read a book with 13 optical illusions in art. Perhaps we should make our own like you did. Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!

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