Albert Einstein once said “Play is the highest form of research.” Summer vacation is a fantastic opportunity for encouraging all sorts of exploration and research through play. Children love experimenting, and these experiments teach them about the scientific method and different scientific principles, all while having a great time.
Bubbles are a favorite summertime activity for kids of all ages. “Bubbles not only involve children in learning, but they are fun, easy to use, and ever-changing. In addition, many science processes such as, investigation, discovery, experimentation, observation, definition, comparison, and classification can be learned simply by playing with bubbles.” (Angie Dorrell, M.A.)*
Summertime and water play go hand in hand. Get them out, get them wet, and see what happens. Science Concepts Young Children Learn Through Water Play is a detailed primer in why this is a great avenue for science discovery and gives many suggestions for getting started!
Safety First: Before starting water play, it’s a great time to review water safety tips.
Looking for activities that are already planned and will get you out of the house? Check out the new Summer Science Festivals being offered by the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Running Fridays and Saturdays through the end of August, the Festivals are kicked off this weekend with the topic of Hometown Heros. In addition to the weekend Festivals, there are Live Science Performances during the week as well. Auditorium shows are daily at 1 and 3 pm, Science Encounters are daily at 11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30pm, and the Electricity Theater is daily at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.
If you are looking for science activities and experiments to replicate at home, check out howtosmile.org for an amazing list of activities. They are sorted by topic, and even have a fun STEM Camp 2014 idea list to try at home. Learning 4 Kids also has a very user-friendly list of activities designed to encourage learning science through play. We also found this fabulous, colorful Rainbow Slime recipe that the kids can’t wait to try.
“A leading researcher in the field of cognitive development says when children pretend, they’re not just being silly – they’re doing science.” Read more here from Alison Gopnik at Smithsonian Magazine. So let them be silly, and discover science in the process!
What is your family doing this summer that involves science? We’d love to hear from you! If you have a budding scientist at home that wants to share what they’ve been doing, have them contact us for inclusion in other Summertime STEM posts.
photo credit: Soap Bubbles, Water Balloons. *Excerpt from: : Bubble, Bubble, Pop! Exploring the Magic of Bubbles by Angie Dorrell, M.A.