Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Puddle Science for Kids

If there’s a puddle, most kids will gravitate toward it. A few kids will hold back but oftentimes that is because of fear of mom or dad’s wrath with wet or muddy clothes. Pull out some old, stained, or never-quite-right clothing from your child’s wardrobe and designate them outdoor play clothes if, as mom or dad (or the adult who hands kids off to mom and dad) you are concerned with seeing grass stains and mud across the knees of a pair of jeans.

Spring and summer are great times of year to explore puddles because the weather is warmer and there is less chance of getting chilled. Rain boots are perfect for splashing around; although, an old pair of sneakers is fine as well. Raincoats can be hot and some kids are happier without a coat – if they can go inside and change into dry clothing after time outside, then kids don’t have to deal with the restriction of not getting wet.

Some kids will go outside and feel right at home exploring and playing in puddles. If your child is weather-wary, join them outdoors and guide them through a few simple activities.

Water Activities
If it is raining, watch the way the drops interact with the surface. Children will learn to look outside on a rainy day and predict how hard it is rainy by watching droplets hit the puddles.

Try floating leaves on puddles. Children will see how the depth of water affects the way the leaf boats can move.

Gather a collection of dry twigs (or use craft sticks) and measure the depth of a few puddles. Can the children hypothesize why some puddles are deeper than others?

Splash! Toss different objects into puddles of different depths. What reaction can kids get from a leaf, an acorn, a pebble, or even themselves! Watch for splash patterns. Kids may even want to measure the depth of water in a puddle after they’ve jumped into it.

Encourage children to come up with their own experiments and games – perhaps they will trace the edge of a puddle and measure by the day or hour how quickly it takes to evaporate. If kids haven’t spent a lot of time outdoors in the rain, they may range from timid to wild; try the experience a few times so they can get used to exploring the rainy world.

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