15 Play & Learning Ideas: Science Exploration Activities

15 Play & Learning Ideas: Science Exploration Activities

Inspire your kids to explore science with these play & learning ideas and activities!

If you've ever watch children play, you can see how much fun they have pretending. 

Sometimes they are building social skills or practicing their communication and launguage skills. And other times, they are exploring new areas of the world such as science.

Quite a few pretend play activities also lead to science exploration and discovery.  You'll notice kids asking questions such as "why?" and "how?" as they engage in various activities. 

Many times, children don't realize that they are learning about chemistry and physics while they have fun.  And play like this will continue to enhance a child's curiosity as they explore new things.

And don't think pretend play is JUST for preschool kids -- children ages 2 - 12 LOVE to engage in various play activities like these!

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30 Christmas Science Experiments & STEM Activities

30 Christmas Science Experiments & STEM Activities

Inspire some holiday learning with these awesome Christmas science experiments & STEM activities!

Christmas is my favorite time of year!  

Time to relax with family, enjoy some Christmas games & even squeeze in some holiday learning too.

There are so many beautiful materials and great opportunities to add STEM to decorating and learning! I'm excited to bring you a great list of Christmas science experiments & activities that are perfect for some holiday learning at home or in the classroom. 

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Outdoor STEM: How Long are Your Small Intestines?

Outdoor STEM: How Long are Your Small Intestines?

Use this super fun & easy outdoor science activity to show kids just how long their small intestines are and learn a little about the human body too!

This activity gets a few bonus points from us!  First, it's a STEM activity (a little science, a little math) and it can be done outside (let's face it -- all of our kids could use a few more minutes outdoors, right?!)

AND -- a big one -- it involves a little gross human body science that's sure to impress your kids :)

Don't know what it is but kids like gross. 

So grab the items you'll need (I'm sure you have them in the house) and join us outside for some science-y fun!

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18 Awesome Ocean Activities for Kids

18 Awesome Ocean Activities for Kids

We are going under the sea today to explore ocean zones , marine animals and more with these amazing STEM ocean activities that are perfect for a little summer learning!

The underwater world is so intriguing to kids (and adults for that matter :)  There's so much we don't yet know about the ocean and it's contents which makes it the perfect subject to intrigue young minds.

If your kids are fans of whales, sharks and the big blue sea, try a few of these hands-on ocean science activities -- perfect for kids of all ages!

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Layers of the Ocean: Under the Sea Science Activities

Layers of the Ocean: Under the Sea Science Activities

Every summer, we seem to gravitate toward ocean science projects and learning about the various ocean layers and animals .

My kids have always been fascinated by ocean animals -- probably because we hardly get to visit any large body of water :) 

But this year, we'll be vacationing at the ocean! 

So we are very excited and doing some fun learning activities before our trip.

Today's activity focuses on some under-the-sea science questions that will help your kids understand the five layers of the ocean, who lives there and how light travels -- and it's one amazingly beautiful project!

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DIY Sundial for Kids

DIY Sundial for Kids

For years I've been saying that it would be cool to have a sundial in the yard!

First, I operate my 'sundial' time more than by a clock -- you know, the "it's just about the right time" kind of time :)

Hehe :)

No, really it's more for the idea that we've discussed sundials as being both a fun STEM activity and a connection to some of our history discussions (for my Greek-loving, Percy Jackson fan girl -- she loves anything to do with ancient societies!)

For the 31 Days of Outdoor STEM series this month, we constructed a sundial for our back garden using natural items along with a little 'pop' of color!

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Rocks & Minerals: A Fun Testing Experiment for Kids

Rocks & Minerals: A Fun Testing Experiment for Kids

One of the easiest science activities to do with kids is studying rocks and minerals.

If your kids are anything like mine, they bring rocks home in their pockets -- frequently ;)

And you might hear the question "What type of rock is this?"

Today we are combining our Outdoor Science activities and our Simple Science Experiment series to share a fun geology experiment -- Rock Testing for Kids!

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12  Earth-themed Lego STEM Projects

12 Earth-themed Lego STEM Projects

My kids have this fascination with taking indoor toys outside to play -- trading cards, dolls, building kits -- you name it!

They also think they can bring outdoor toys inside --

basketballs I'll allow but I draw the line at hula hoops ;)

With Earth Day coming up this week, taking some LEGOs outside to build a few of these STEM themed projects seems like a great idea to me!

Today's colorful activities include fun ways to learn about earth science, conservation efforts and other eco-friendly behaviors.

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Easy Science for Kids: The Lemon Battery

We always love to find easy science experiments that we can do at home!

And when I mean easy, I'm talking the quick set-up with very few items type of science :)

Those types of experiments seem to be plentiful when you're studying botany/nature (like our How does a Leaf Breathe? experiment) or physics (see this Does your Food Float? activity).

But if you want to do a little chemistry with the kids, finding a simple project can be more of a challenge so today's Lemon Battery experiment is one of those pleasant surprises!

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Bug Hunt: Outdoor Activities for Kids {w/free printable}

Today we are linking up with the Storytime Science series to share two of our favorite things -- books & science!

Ironically, the book I'm sharing (which is such an awesome read!) is NOT about one of my favorite things -- BUGS!

When the kids were younger, they would come running in the house to show me a potato bug they found or carry in a worm from the garden.  We would chase fireflies at night and run after butterflies on our walks in the park -- I swear, some weekends there were more bugs than people hanging around on the back deck.

Young kids have a thing for bugs :)

Since I'm not much of a bug person, this is one place where I LOVE using a book to introduce the topic.  PLUS we've got a super free printable Bug Hunt that you can use as you head outside to explore a few new things about your favorite insects!

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How to Turn Your Backyard into an AWESOME Science Lab for Less than $10

As you can tell by our collection of science experiments & activities,  we do many of them right in our backyard.  This wasn't always the case -- in fact, it came about quite by accident but we now LOVE easy outdoor science activities!

Here's how it all began ...

When my son was younger, we would do quite a few of the projects inside since his little sister was a baby. 

But then one day, I had this 'Mom moment' when I was cleaning up a mess for like the millionth time that week and I just make a "new house rule" -- If it splatters, stains, smokes or stinks, we do it outside!

You know those times when you say something out of desperation because you're not sure how you'll deal with one more mess, right?  Well, kids actually listen sometimes :) 

So the next time we were ready to do an experiment, my son said "Aren't we going to do this in the backyard?"

And that's how Backyard Science began and we haven't looked back! 

I absolutely LOVE it because every Spring, Summer and Fall, we transform the backyard into this AWESOME science lab!  We grab a few of our much-loved outdoor science tools and head outdoors to experiment.

So today I'm going to show you how to create an amazing Backyard Science Lab that will keep the kids inspired to experiment -- all for less than $10!  And we're including 20 FREE science activities & experiments that you can try this year too.

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Moon Activities for Kids: 3D Phases of the Moon Project

Enjoy learning about the moon's phases with this hands-on moon activity for kids!

When my son brought home his Phases of the Moon project from school, he wasn't very happy.

I thought he'd be thrilled with this activity - the whole "school permission to stay up past bedtime" :) but instead he was really bothered by the white worksheet with little boxes.

"Mom, the moon is white!  How are we suppose to draw white on white paper?"

"I think they just want you to draw the shape of the moon" I told him.

"Well, that's not much fun."

I could see his point -- as we went out to observe the moon each evening, he would notice some of the details of the various moon phases in addition to just the change of shape.  We knew we could find a better (and more fun!) way to learn about the phases of the moon!

 

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Cool Science Experiments: How to Bend a Pencil without Breaking It

Our easy science experiments are back and this week, we're adding a touch of 'magic'!

In my experience, you can AMAZE kids with two types of science activities -- the first type are those that show some behind-the-scenes phenomenon like this How Does a Leaf Breathe? experiment and the second type are those that seem to work like magic.

Today we're going to play with that sense of wonder and highlight the science behind light refraction as we bend a pencil without breaking it!

 

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How to Start & Organize a Nature Collection

If you've been around these parts, you'll know that we have a fondness for nature activities ;) 

Most rooms in our house host some type of nature collection -- shells, rocks, tree seeds, leaves in the Fall, etc.

And many of these were started on the fly -- a trip to the beach, a vacation in the mountains -- kids are just drawn to natural items.

Collecting is such a great STEM activity & teaches kids so much about categorizing, sorting and observing -- I try to allow as much of it as possible.  But as the items accumulate, sooner or later you have to give it a little 'structure'.

Since "small is the new black" for kids, it's always fun to find a creative way for them to carry around their collection (they love to show it to friends and family ;) 

So today's activity is a frugal upcycle that will help to organize that nature collection!

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Easy Science Experiments: Shadow Activities

I know it might be hard to believe but making shadows is actually a simple science experiment!

Yep, all those shadow puppets you tried as a child or those evening walks with the kids when they're trying to step on your shadow to see if it hurts (does anyone else's kids do this or just mine?!) = Easy Science Experiment :)

And with Groundhog's Day right around the corner, it's a great time of year to play with shadows!

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