Three Wintertime Science Activities to Try with Your Toddler
Keeping little hands and minds busy this winter can be challenging, especially when snow and ice make it difficult to get outdoors to play. Finding the right indoor and outdoor science activities can not only help your toddler burn off some excess energy but can also inspire an interest in the scientific world that can create added opportunities for academic and career success in the future. Our Discovery Point science education team has compiled a list of three of the best science-oriented activities to explore with your toddler or preschool-aged child this winter season.
Why Snow Melts
The first snowfall is a great opportunity to teach your child about the states of matter with a practical demonstration. All you need for this activity are a few plastic containers and a cup to scoop up snow. Put one cup of snow into each container and then place one container in the freezer, one in the refrigerator and the rest somewhere warm inside your home. While you are waiting for the results of your experiment, you can discuss the various states of water in the natural environment and the ways in which one physical state of water transforms into another depending on the temperature. Finish up by showing how snow changed into water, how the snow in the refrigerator was slower to melt and how the snow in the freezer stayed frozen to conclude this hands-on winter experiment.
While commercial snowshoes are available in a wide range of sizes, you can easily make your own toddler-sized snowshoes with old tennis or croquet rackets and a little duct tape. Snowshoe treks can provide an ideal opportunity to demonstrate how spreading weight across a wider surface can allow easier movement. First, let your preschooler walk in the snow in his or her regular shoes. Then tape on the homemade snowshoes to show how the impression on the snow is much lighter and less dramatic. This can provide practical insight into one of the most important engineering principles and can provide hours of outdoor play even on the snowiest days.
The Snow Volcano
A time-honored tradition at countless science fairs, the baking soda volcano offers direct insight into the reaction between bases and acids in the chemical world. Your own aspiring chemists can enjoy a mess-free version of this experiment in your own backyard. Simply combine a couple of tablespoons of baking soda, some dishwashing liquid and a few drops of food coloring in a plastic water bottle. Pack snow around the bottle to hold it upright and to serve as the sides of the impromptu volcano. When your toddler is happy with the scene, use a funnel to pour about two tablespoons of vinegar into the bottle. The resulting eruption of lava from your homemade volcano will delight your toddler. Best of all, no cleanup is required; both baking soda and vinegar are nontoxic and can safely be left to dissolve into the ground after your experiment is over.
At Discovery Point, our teachers specialize in providing innovative scientific experiences for the children in our care. We work with parents to design a teaching approach designed to bring out the best in every child with whom we work. During the winter and all year long, you can rely on Discovery Point to provide your child with the support and guidance needed to achieve excellence in his or her future academic pursuits.