Please welcome my friend, Felice Gerwitz from HomeForLearning.com, as she shares these amazing science experiments that are perfect for a rainy day activity. Keep them busy learning even when the weather is terrible!
There is nothing like a rainy day to bring a family closer together, or in some cases make you want to pull your hair out at the roots! As a young homeschool mom, I loved keeping a flip-chart, index card binder handy with quick and fun science experiments that would keep the kids busy and give me sanity.
If you think I’m super-mom, I beg to differ. I was often frustrated when the day turned sour, weather wise. Having quick access to these ideas saved the day on more than one occasion. Oftentimes these science experiment ideas never made it to the kitchen table, our make-shift lab at home, during school hours. Rainy days gave us more indoor time and the children were happy to do something fun to occupy time that would have been spent running around, outdoors.
Pinterest boards a great place to keep your ideas and you can pull from these as well. In fact I have a board for rainy-day fun ideas.
My children considered rainy-day science to be loads of fun, but you might be surprised to see there are no messy activities; I save those, like the baking-soda-and-vinegar, chemical reaction ones for outdoors.
For most of these activities, I used what was on hand. For others, I kept the needed supplies in our Science Kit with other lab kits I loved to have on hand. Get more details about my favorite lab kits in Teaching Science and Having Fun.
Science Experiments for Rainy Days
What’s That Sound?
Supplies: A blind fold, paper and pencils, pens, color pencils or crayons
Procedure: The idea is to listen to the sounds around us and to identify these sounds. They can be the rain beating on the roof, thunder, a car horn, a bird squawking or a sibling making noise. Each child takes a turn to be blindfolded and listens without talking for thirty seconds to two minutes. Time can vary depending on your child’s age. The child then dictates or writes or draws what is heard on a piece of paper.
Game Variation: If you have multiple children you can create a chart with the child’s name at the top of the page and columns. List what each child hears under the column with his or her name. This is not a competition unless you want it to be! You can do this activity multiple times.
Another variation: Each of the other children purposely makes noise to be identified, for example the sounds can be the clanging of a spoon against a pot lid, clapping hands, and sounds easy to identify (or hard) such as these.
Conclusion: This teaches the children to be silent and observant. Of course, if you have a child that is hyperactive this may be a difficult activity to play – but, you may adapt this activity to fit the needs of your child. Sounds travel through air and our eyes are a big help in identifying the sound maker. When blindfolded, we are limited to our hearing and in this way it causes us to strain to listen carefully, using only one sense. You may wish to review the five senses: hearing, seeing, touch, taste and smell.
Sink or Float
Supplies: Sink, water, plastic tub – the “boat” (disposable or more solid that will float in water), scraps of paper, coins, or other objects that can fill the tub and make it sink or be equally buoyant.
Procedure: Explain sink, float and buoyant to your children. Have the children hypothesize (guess) which objects will cause the boat to continue to float or be buoyant. Have fun with this and encourage the children to use heavier objects to sink the boat!
Variation: Have the children create paper boats out of paper and see who can create a boat that floats.
Conclusion: Your child understand the concepts of sink, float or equally buoyant.
Supplies: straws, string, balloons, tape
Procedure: The object is to fill a balloon with air (do not tie the balloon), tape it to a straw that is threaded with string. The “rocket” will shoot across the room. The ideal way to do this activity is to string the straw and tie the other end of the string onto a chair across the room. You can either tie both ends, or have a child hold the string at one end (with the straw) while you tape the inflated balloon. I use package tape which makes it easier to tape—but realize the balloon will deflate quickly and the object is to keep it on the straw. My kids never had enough of this activity and would “play” for hours creating intricate pathways for the rockets to fly across. They had races and also stood at opposite ends and room and cross raced their rockets.
Conclusion: You child should understand that air has pressure. While you can’t see air, smell it or taste it – you can feel it.
Supplies: Television remote control, television, and a hand held mirror
Procedure: Ask your children what they use to turn on the television. Most of us use a standard remote control. Ask them if you try to turn the television on with your back to the television set, will it work? (Have them hypothesize – “guess” – the answer.) Now, demonstrate by standing with your back to the television and using the hand-held mirror. Point the remote control at the mirror so that the light waves can bounce from the mirror to the television and turn it on. Have the children experiment with pointing the remote control away from the television and different angles of the mirror. Explain that the mirror reflects the light from the remote control that turns the television on. If your child is older they may want to further research radio and light waves. It is a fun, very quick experiment that can spur all kinds of ideas of reflecting light.
Conclusion: Light waves can be reflected and directed in a specific way.
As you can see by these simple experiments that it doesn’t take elaborate or fancy supplies to create real learning and hours of fun. In fact, my children often used their basic science kit for fun on their own time. A basic experiment book with the supplies they need translates into learning that is long lasting. Let me know what activities are successful on your next rainy day.
Free Science Experiment Printables
To receive these experiments in a printable format, experiment tracking worksheets, and All Purpose Science Lab Kit list, please complete the form below and a download link will be emailed to you.
Disclosure: Email addresses will be shared Felice.
Felice Gerwitz has homeschooled since 1986, and is mom to five, three are graduates. She is an author, publisher and podcasts weekly on VintageHomeschoolMoms.com. Her book Teaching Science and Having Fun was listed as one of Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. She is the founder of Media Angels and the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. She blogs at HomeForLearning.com.
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