Science Projects to Do Outdoors

Summer’s almost here. This means outdoor science projects for your kids! Here are some fun projects that your kids will love. Prepare for your yard to get messy!

The Egg Drop Project

The egg drop project can get addictive. Don’t be surprised if you end up having an entire carton of eggs  cracked in your yard! The challenge of this project is for your kids to design a structure for an egg that will prevent the egg from cracking when it falls to the ground from a height. This project will encourage your kids to think independently. It’s a great science project for six to eight year-olds.

Build Your Own Anemometer

The anenometer is effectively a horizontal windmill. It’s used to measure wind speed. There are many designs to make homemade anemometers, and it’s a fantastic summer project for older kids. I say this project is for older kids.

Make a Foil Oven to Cook S’Mores in the Sun

With the sun out to brighten your day, why not create a solar oven with aluminum foil and cook some s’mores with the kids? It’s very easy to make an aluminum foil oven. All you need to do is line the inside of an empty pizza box (including the lid) with aluminum foil. Then prop the lid up with a stick, place some graham crackers, top with marshmallow and chocolate, and wait for the s’mores to cook in the sun while you enjoy other science activities.

Science Fun with Bubbles

Kids are excited by bubbles. Younger kids in particular will enjoy twisting pipe cleaners into 2D shapes like circles, squares and hearts, and then dipping them into soapy water and blowing. Talk about the shapes of the bubbles – can they be made in different shapes? Talk about the color and whether you can catch them with your hands. Encourage your kids to think about the science of bubbles while they play.

Learn to Tell the Temperature by Crickets!

Did you know that you can tell the temperature by the chirruping of crickets? You’ll be surprised by how accurately it’s possible to do so. This is a perfect activity for a summer night. Just count the cricket’s chirps for fourteen seconds – the tough job will be to separate out one cricket from the others. Write the number down and add 40. What you get is the temperature in degrees F. This sounds like an urban myth, but there’s hard science behind it. Maybe your older kids can find out the science behind this cricket-thermometer!

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Camps that Grow the Science in You

Science camps with your kid give you excellent opportunities to grow the science in you, help your kid learn, and have a refreshing, fun and educational summer. Most science camps are designed for kids, some involve the parents. Some camps are free, others charge a small fee.

No matter where you live in the country, you’ll find science camps and summer programs near you. These will be called STEM camps – referring to the science, technology, engineering and math skills that these camps support and strengthen.

Now, there are many formats of science camps. Some are residential camps while others are day camps. These camps may focus on every science and engineering subject possible, such as space science, architecture, zoo animals, the environment, dinosaur fossils, robotics etc.

Science camps are particularly fun because they are usually held in summer. Kids also enjoy camping with others their age. Plus, there’s informal learning involved, and you and your child will return home having developed an interest and possibly a passion for science.

How to choose a science camp

There are hundreds of science camps to choose from, for young kids to older kids. For older kids in particular, science camps can become a valuable addition to their CV and bring them opportunities like internships.

To choose a suitable science camp, start by finding out what the topic of interest is. Is your child interested in robots? They may enjoy a robotics camp. If they love hiking, they could join a junior park ranger camp. Kids who enjoy building things with LEGO may enjoy architecture camps. Kids who love video games may enjoy joining a camp that teaches kids how to create their own video game. The opportunities are endless.

Make sure that the camp you choose offers plenty of interactive and hands-on activities. That’s what makes a camp fun, and science camps should first and foremost be fun. Only then will your child develop an innate interest in the subject.

Older students might enjoy camps where distinguished professors are brought in to deliver lectures. There is plenty of group interaction and activities that further help to ‘grow the science in your child’.

Where can you find science camps? A search on Google for your location will show you the organizations that offer science camps. You can also ask at your local state or national park, zoo, planetarium, science museum, zoo etc. Also browse local parenting websites and magazines, or ask the school counselor for advice on choosing a camp suitable for your child.

Some fantastic choices are: National Computer Camps, Discovery Camp run by the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, Space Camp in Alabama, the RoboTech Summer Camp at Rivier College New Hampshire, and the NASA-funded ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.

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