Long summer days are filled with fun, from baseball games to bike rides to hours spent doing nothing but daydream. But summer vacation is also the perfect time to get your child interested in some hands-on science experiments, from playing with water and flowers in the younger grades to causing chemical reactions and solving scientific mysteries in the upper grades. You may think that combining science with summer vacation sounds like a parental pipe dream, but with all the time for child-directed learning and hands-on experimentation, summer is a kid scientist’s dream come true!
We’ve searched out our best, and most fun, science activities and grouped them so you can find age-appropriate activities all summer long! Here’s our list of the most awesome science activities for summer:
Preschool to Kindergarten
Experiment with Splashy Science
Fill up the kiddie pool, gather a stash of preschool science equipment, and get ready to introduce your child to the power of hypothesis.
Mix Colors with Cookies!
Young kids love to bake. This activity lets them go frosting crazy, while experimenting with colors, and how they mix. Once the science experiment is done, it’s time for milk and cookies!
Make a Soda Bottle Greenhouse
Want to bring the green inside, and teach your kids to appreciate some nature at the same time? You probably have all the ingredients already to create a miniature garden right in your own house.
First Grade to Second Grade
Experiment with Balloon Science
Whether your child loves science or just likes to be impressed, this activity will have her begging to learn how it’s done. You’re going to blow up a balloon without using your mouth!
Create a Fish Art Print! The fish most first grade kids see is usually filleted or canned, and it’s hard to see how it came from a lake or sea. Here’s a delightful way to bridge the gap, with an activity that blends art with life science discovery.
Teach Science While Smelling the Flowers With just a few ordinary household items, you can make a creative bouquet together, and have a great time learning about plant biology in the process!
Third Grade to Fourth Grade
Make Your Own Cloud!
As they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words. Rather than tell your kids how clouds are formed when warm and cold air meet, show them.
Blast Off! Rocket Science
Is your child a rocket scientist in the making? Here’s a fun activity that illustrates the basic principles behind what makes rockets rock!
Fifth Grade to Middle School
Bake a Chemistry Cake
A lot of science happens when you bake a cake. Here’s an experiment that will have your child experimenting with cake ingredients to learn about the chemical reactions that happen when a cake’s in the oven.
Ick Can Stick: Make Milk Glue
Did you know you can make glue from milk? Try this experiment and the results will “stick” with you for a long time.
Foam It! Cause a Chemical Reaction
This experiment uses a yeast solution, liquid detergent such as Dawn, and hydrogen peroxide to produce an exciting reaction like no other!
CSI Science: Get the Prints!
Set your teen on the beat in a real world “crime scene” investigation. Can he tell whose fingerprints are on drinking glass?
Electroscope it Out!
Create an electroscope – a simple device that measures static electricity, or the freely flowing electrical charges of the atmosphere.
Make a Better Paper Airplane
This is a great activity for students of all ages, but high school physics students should have a greater understanding of fluid dynamics and be able to push the outer limits of paper airplane design!