I have put together a list of 9 super easy and low preparation science activities to do at home. This is also a mini spotlight series on different disciplines in the science field. Each activity highlights a particular field of science to show that this field really can mean lots of different things when you reference ‘science’.
Beginning the journey is… Physics. A natural science studying matter, motion and it’s behaviour. Think of things like light, gravity, friction, magnetism and motion. It’s a fundamental science determining how the universe behaves.
For our physics activity we are exploring SHADOWS. This is a great activity for kids that you can do with a torch in a dark space or with the sun outside. You can use yourself or hands to create shadows. Or any object like this house here. Kids love to see their shadows following them and moving around to watch the shadows copying.
Biology is a natural science studying all things living. This includes humans, animals, plants even down to bacteria. Biologists can study function, structure, evolution and growth.
For our biology activity we are exploring human biology and HANDS. We did some tracings around our hands and cut them out to see how big they were. We folded the paper in half before tracing and cut them out so that the thumb and index finger makes a heart along the fold. Another low prep activity is to trace your whole outline and then add features inside. It’s always a hit with the kids! On a sunny day, do this outside with some chalk.
Chemistry is all about elements and compounds. It is about their structure, function, reactions and changes.
For our chemistry activity it is all about ICE. This is a super easy low prep activity. Grab some ice from the freezer and see how high you can build an ice tower. The highest tower wins!! But you need to be quick before all of the ice melts into water (via a chemical reaction) and your tower disappears. This activity doubles as a STEM activity be combining
1. Engineering of how to balance and stack the ice
2. Maths of counting ice cubes in the tower and comparing tower heights.
Geology is all about rocks and minerals that make up the solid structure of the Earth. Geologists like to study how all of this changes over time and it is astounding what they can decipher in a little bit of ‘dirt’ or just from line markings. It is considered an earth science but includes studies of solid structures on other planets too like Mars or the Moon.
For our geology activity it is all about ROCKS. This is an open ended play activity where rocks were collected and then we added a truck. The truck ‘vroomed’ to collect the rocks and then drove them around to different sites in the garden. Collecting rocks on our outdoor adventures is a pastime of our kids. I have washed so many of them in the washing machine when I forget to check their pockets. Too many times to count!
Botany is the study of all things to do with plants like flowers, trees and shrubs. It even includes fungi and algae too. It is a subsection of Biology and this field discovers conservation methods, optimal growing factors and the use of plants in medicine, food and fabrics.
For our botany activity it is all about FLOWERS. We went on an adventure in our garden and collected some flowers that have just started to blossom. Then we picked their petals and buds to create a flower mandala. This is an activity my 3 year old does daily! She loves picking flowers and fossicking in nature and we often do STEM activities with nature. I love seeing her do this as she’s actually learning a fundamental engineering skill of deconstructing an object into its basic components. She doesn’t even know she is doing it. Learning is fun when it is all play!
6. Marine Science
Marine Science is the study of all things to do with the ocean. It encompasses many of the other science disciplines to investigate aspects like marine life, bed rock, tidal patterns and conservation. Lots of people think of dolphins, whales, fish or penguins when they think of marine science. Did you also know it includes microscopic animals living in the ocean sediment? They actually play a pivotal role in the ecology of the oceans.
For our marine science activity it is all about an invitation to play. We themed this one to marine science and included homemade playdough, real sheels, raw sugar for sand, pasta shells, rocks, sea creature playdough moulds, mini buckets, toy fish and straws to initiate pollution discussions. I love using these invitation to play trays as a STEM activity as they encourage open ended play and creativity to build, construct, mix, role-play and count too.
Space is the study of all things beyond the Earth. From planets and stars to everything in between. It includes travelling through space, mapping what exists and exploring ways of potentially inhabiting other regions. It’s certainly been a hot topic this year as we marked 50 years since man first stepped on the moon. A remarkable achievement and big dreams and hard work will lead to all sorts of achievements in the future. To infinity and beyond!
For our space activity it is all about LOOKING UP. This is the moon shining over the ocean on a recent holiday. It was an amazing sight! If you can, let your kids stay up after dark on occasions and take them outside to just ‘look up’. Talk about the stars and planets and see if you can spot a shooting star. You can also have fun with ‘looking up’ during the day. Take time out to look up at the sky. See what shapes you can see in the clouds. Sometimes you can even see the moon during the day too!
Zoology is the study specialising in animals. It includes investigations on development, physiology, evolution, conservation and how each one interacts with their environment and other animals.
For our zoology activity it is all about ANIMAL CLASSIFICATION. We searched through our toys and collected some of our favourite little creatures. We went through them all one by one and named each of them. Then we grouped them by classifying where you would find them. The groups that were chosen by the kids were African animals, farm animals, water animals and ‘in the garden’. Did you know that this is also a pre-coding skill too? You can classify your collection by anything of interest. Think size, features or even what they eat. You can also do this with pictures of animals.
Neuroscience is a subset of biology and focuses on everything to do with the nervous system. It’s how the body talks and sends messages around. This is my personal favourite field of science and, as a biomedical engineer, I develop solutions when the nervous system isn’t working properly. One inspiring example of biomedical engineering is the cochlear implant which provides hearing to deaf patients. I’m super proud to call it an Australian invention too!
For our Neuroscience activity it is all about WALNUTS. This one is just a bit of fun. Walnuts always remind me of the brain. They have 2 halves, a strong connection between them and many folds on each side. These aspects also feature in the brain. Point them out to your kids the next time you have some walnuts. Make sure to keep them whole!
I hope you enjoy trying these easy and low preparation science activities. Leave a comment below to let me know what field of science interests you the most.