Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The science of fluids: fun in the tub

Yesterday was one of those yucky days when our apartment complex's kids space floods, and it gets really hard to enjoy any time outside, so I thought it was time for an activity I had been saving.

I put a selection of squeeze bottles and pumps on the edge of the tub, and invited my little scientists to do some experiments.

For quite a while they were happy just dumping and pumping.    Then, they spent a long time trying to figure out the best way to fill up a water balloon.

They learned that as you pour water into a balloon, the balloon will expand, but only to a point.  Beyond that point, you have to force the water into the balloon in such a way that it makes the balloon expand.  Pressure, limits: those little pieces of intuitive knowledge can be so valuable later on.

Of course, they spent some time blowing bubbles, too.

From a science perspective, it was a great opportunity to let them say, "What if?" and then find out.  

 I have been saying, "No", "Don't touch" and "Not so hard!"  more than usual lately.  The teacher in me feels guilty.  After all, I know that they are only trying to understand and manipulate the world around them, things I really want them to do, and do well.  The homemaker in me feels like I am barely surviving as it is.  This activity was a great remedy for that situation.  They could squeeze, dump, and blow bubbles to their hearts' content without creating more work for me.  They loved it, they were learning, and I was relaxed.

What fun ways have you found to focus your children's natural curiosity recently? 

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