Spring Activities For Kids
Spring Is Time For Activity - Have Fun With Science And Crafts
If you're looking for spring activities for kids then you came to the right place. From craft projects to cool math games, from learning about the seed life cycle to a discussion of acid rain for kids... having fun with science is an awesome way to teach children.
Kids minds are growing and they need to be challenged, to be led into critical thinking so that they develop the skill necessary to exercise reason and analytical thinking. This learning can be fun, and it should be.
None of us want to do things which aren't fun or which we don't enjoy.
So my hope is that you'll find some great ideas here that you can use this spring to take your children on a journey of education, experience and wonder that you share together. If you enjoy this lens, please share it so others can find it, too.
Table of Contents
Cool Math Games For Kids ♦ Amazing Parabolic Curve Tutorial ♦ Kids Astronomy Neptune ♦ Introducing Children To Astronomy ♦ Acid Rain For Kids ♦ Venus Flytrap Video For Kids ♦ How To Fly A Kite For Kids ♦ Spring Craft Ideas
Cool Math Games For Kids - Spring Activities Should Encompass Many Areas
Our goal with children is to broaden their senses, their experiences and ability to comprehend those complex aspects of science and nature. Because of that it's important to mingle in some math games (exercises) that while fun, do challenge the kids and keep their mind growing, and of course that allow them to have a better understanding of the scientific principles that shape our world.
Using geometry, math and art, you can open an amazing world of possibilities for your children, all while playing really cool math games and through activities. One of the simplest and most creative ways to do this is, as the image shows, by creating parabolic curves using straight lines. And you probably already have everything you need to get started right away. The site at mathcraft.wonderhowto.com is your best source for learning this type of math craft, and has a good tutorial for creating these parabolas and even paper crafts from them.
You want the activity to be both educational and fun, so start by looking at and discussing shapes and their mathematical implications.
Depending on the age of the children, you can keep it simple, or not. Start by talking about what a parabola is, and why it matters, that is, why it's important to know about. From something as simple as kicking a soccer ball, you can see a parabola... the ball will follow (generally) the same path along the arc. There's a great site called Mathsisfun.com that will help you explain this.
To start simply gather some pencils and paper (colored or plain), and some rulers. Now lay the ruler alongside the left edge (parallel to the edge) of a sheet of paper and draw a straight line about 1 /2 inch inward from the outer edge. Then do the same thing along the bottom edge. Again using the ruler, starting at the lower left where the two lines intersect, start marking off about every 1/2" upward, and then do the same thing to the right along the line you've created. Make the equal number of marks along both planes. You can make this more simple or complicated based on how close the lines will be (use more or less space than the 1/2 inch marks we used).
Next, starting with the uppermost mark on the left side, align the ruler from that point to the "first" mark along the bottom plane and draw a connecting line. Then starting from the second mark down from the top of the left plane, intersect the ruler with the second mark on the bottom, and draw a line. Continue this process and it will start to look like the image below. Amazingly a curve seems present where in fact none exists.
You will find that if you put some effort in to this activity that your children won't feel like they're learning, but instead will be having loads of fun. You can expand on this exercise by using a multitude of colors; have your children color each (strand) in a way that resembles weaving. By using lots of different colors and giving each strand a unique color, the finished project will look pretty cool. Or use a different color pencil for each line. There are plans online where you can even construct things from the designs, making this another great spring craft project. Most of all, just have fun!
Amazing Parabolic Curve Tutorial - Coloring & Crafting These To Create Really Cool Math Games For Kids
How Do You Feel About Spring Activities For Kids? - Is it having fun with science or taking it too far?
Some people try to adhere to age appropriate (as defined by educators and professionals) learning materials and projects, while others believe that children are capable of much more than we "allow" them, believing that even if they don't fully understand the material that it will spurn brain growth. How do you feel about it?
Should children be exposed to science and math beyond their typical age brackets?
For Kids Astronomy Neptune Is A Cool Start
And Few Sights Amaze Like The Moon Through A Telescope
Very few things in life can induce such awe and inspiration as a long gaze skyward through a telescope. Neptune is full of lore and is always asked about in kids' astronomy classes, but its relative distance from the earth makes it difficult for most of us to fully enjoy. The moon, due to its proximity to earth, is an amazing spectacle through a telescope, and something every child should experience.
Why astronomy? For starters is simply amazing and so unknown, there's load of exploration to be done. But most importantly, and I stress most importantly, this is a hobby that brings families together. Those hours you spend, together, gazing upward, learning, laughing... those are times that you can't get watching television or other things which consume our lives. If you've read my lens about kites for kids then you know how I feel about families spending time together. For families with kids astronomy is a great activity.
Spring is an amazing time to catch a great glimpse of Saturn. On April 28, 2013, Saturn finds itself nestled in the constellation Libra and skyward for most of the night. If you're bound and determined to get the absolute best view, at about 3:15 AM CST (U.S.) Saturn will line up perfectly with the Sun and Earth, with Saturn and the Sun on either side of Earth, causing (from our perspective) Saturn to be very brightly lit. It also happens to coincide with Saturn's closest approach to the Earth, making this the springtime astronomy event to see.
Planetariums are a great way to introduce children to the wonder of the universe, but you can share that same joy, at home, whenever you want with your own telescope. In fact, a telescope is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child; but the whole family will love it. Prices have gotten more competitive, which is good for us. I like the Orion Space Probe Equatorial Reflector Telescope shown below; it's an awesome first telescope for families with plenty of features and quality to make sure you really enjoy star gazing. They will never forget the first time they see the moon through a telescope.
Before you begin introducing your children to astronomy it's best to have a learning discussion about it. For example, define vernal equinox for them, and explain the relationship between all of the planets in our solar system and the universe. It helps for them to recognize the general relationships and locations of the planets such as Neptune and Venus. You can even get crafting supplies and build a model solar system with them, or buy a 3D solar system kit from Amazon. They will love it, and then fully appreciate what they're seeing through the telescope. The great thing about this hobby is that once you own the telescope you can enjoy it anytime, over and over.
Introducing Children To Astronomy - Look No Further For Excitement And Fun With Science
This introduction to astronomy is used in high school and college classes to excite the kids about learning and exploring, but even younger kids will be gripped by excitement after watching this.
~ Watch This With Your Kids ~
Great Telescope Buys At Amazon
From beginner scopes to more advanced models, Amazon has some of the highest rated telescopes on sale.
Acid Rain For Kids - Learn About Nature - From The Seed Life Cycle To Harvesting Plants
Being a good citizen is something that is seldom talked about, and certainly not taught, aside from some organizations like the Boy & Girl Scouts. Citizenship is about protecting and nurturing the world we've inherited, and doing whatever we can to help one another, to help our communities and Mother Nature. What does that have to do with this lens, or this topic? Everything.
We scratch our heads and wonder why so many people today don't seem to care about nature and the environment, and the answer is simple... parents have quit teaching and the schools can't pick up the slack. Children need to learn from us what is important, why things matter and what things are good and bad. If dad tosses his old motor oil into the woods, what value do we expect his children will place on the environment?
With that being said, there's so much more we can do to help our children understand to appreciate and value nature. Once they've been exposed to the wonder, and frailty, of our Earth, children will discover on their own why it's important to us. And again, for parents who care this is an awesome opportunity to bond with them as a family, to share learning moments that last.
For example, there's an experiment that you can do with kids to show how acid rain effects nature. Mix 1 part water to 1 part
vinegar in a spray bottle. Then mark off a small section of your lawn with rope or twine (6 inches square or so will work fine), and have your children spray that section of grass each day with the mixture. Explain to them that vinegar is an acid, very similar to what is found in acid rain, and that the effects that they see, over time, on the area of grass being sprayed with the vinegar is the same thing that happens to forests all over the world when rain, poisoned by manufacturing and consumer waste, come raining down every day.
The EPA has a great site on Acid Rain For Kids that includes some fun games and information for both parents and children, to help them better understand the problem. There's another site that provides some really good information for parents so that they're better prepared to discuss it with their kids. Check out NASA's Amateur Guide For Air Quality.
Some other great activities for kids include learning about the seed life cycle... it's more than planting seeds and watching them grow, but rather it should encompass the learning opportunity that is life. Children are amazingly inquisitive and capable of much more than they're often given credit for. Because of that, children should of course experience the fun of planting seeds, but they'll appreciate the wonder much more if they understand that there is so much inside those tiny seeds that give way to life. This image from the University of New Mexico Biology Department does a great job of explaining seed life.
I think a great way to bring home the message of the importance of plants to life is to have the children plant a food that they can later eat. Maybe their favorite vegetable, or if you have the capability (more and more people buy organic whole grains and grind them at home) you can grow
a section of wheat that you grind up in your own home mill, and later bake into nice cupcakes! I also like the home herb kits like the one pictured here, which are a great way for the kids to plant, tend to, and actually use the herbs as they help you cook a soup or other home meal.
Want even more nature inspiring activities that are fun for kids? Check out the Venus Flytrap video for kids below. For some at-home fun you can pick up a Venus Flytrap so your kids can experience it first hand... it's a great way to promote conversation and learning. I also love ant farms like the Uncle Milton Giant Ant Farm and the Sea Monkeys Ocean Zoo is loads of cheap fun for any child... Amazon has these.
Finally, one of my all-time favorite activities for kids is to take nature walks, either in designated parks or just outside nearby. This is where everything happens, where they can see, touch, smell and hear (even taste if there are safe berries to eat). It is amazing the things you see and hear when you're trying. And children never, ever tire of discovering new things, all while building their love for and interest in our environment.
You can take collection bags for the kids to collect leaf samples that they can identify and label later, and you can also take along a small and handy Family Field Guides (like the sample from Amazon shown here) which provides an added amount of fun and excitement right there on the trail. Make sure you pack along a small magnifying glass and maybe even a camera.
Unless otherwise attributed, images by US Government - NASA GES DISC
Venus Flytrap Video For Kids - A Scientific Discussion Of This Awesome And Iconic Plant
How To Fly A Kite For Kids - Learning About Aerodynamics And Having Fun With Science!
Learning how to fly a kite, and understanding what makes them stay aloft, is a great adventure for every child. Like many of these spring activities for kids that we're talking about, kite flying is a wonderful opportunity for parents to do something special with their children, outdoors, and for relatively very little cost. If you haven't already, check out my review of the best kite for kids and you'll see that one of the best quality kites that truly flies is priced around $20.
My family has several kites and we go to the park year round. More and more families are realizing the benefits of doing things together, and flying kites is a very inexpensive way to do it; I haven't met a child yet that doesn't love it. You can also fly almost anywhere unless you live in a really large city, but your kites are a good reason to drive out of town for the day.
One of the first places to start as you teach your kids about flying kites and aerodynamics is, of course, NASA. They have a great site that discusses Newton's laws of motion and much more, and is a great resource for parents and children. These two images from NASA are examples of how you can teach your children... the image below illustrates Newton's first law.
My Favorite & One I Own
Of course children don't want to be stuck learning physics all day, they want to make stuff! So part of this spring activity is actually making a kite, applying some of the principles that they've learned. For kids, learning how to make a kite is as fun as learning how to fly it. From basic, plain paper kites to more advanced, decorative kites that you can make out of wrapping paper or Mylar plastic, there are plans to suit your age group and time constraints. Check out this great resource page at The Virtual Kite Zoo for tons of plans and instructions on how to make a kite.
Can A Kite Fly Without Wind? - Yes, They Can. Learn How To Fly A Kite Without Any Wind At All.
Spring Craft - It's About The Journey
Spring Activities and Crafting Are About Spending Time Together
There are a limitless number of things you can do with your children to have fun, learn and inspire. As we've seen, these range from cool math games to learning about acid rain. But no list of spring activities for kids would be complete without looking at some fun paper crafts. And of course that means paper airplanes and similar projects.
The great thing about these types of spring craft is that they only require items that you already have at home, they don't take too awful long to create, and they provide some real quality and fun time together. Oh, and a little competition... who's plane can fly the furthest, the highest, the craziest.
Before we talk about construction and design, make sure you take this opportunity to teach children. As we talked about earlier, even the youngest of kids are quite capable of learning and their minds will spin (and grow) as they process new concepts, even if they don't quite understand them.
Building paper airplanes, for example, is a great time to talk about some of the same things we discussed in the "how to fly a kite for kids" section earlier. Things such as Bernoulli's Principle, which talks about the relationship between things like speed, density and pressure. Here's a great paper from Drexel University on paper airplanes to give you a better understanding of these principles.
A great first plane is the simple "Dart" paper airplane... it's the one most school children first learn to craft; and it's simple. Start by folding a standard 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper lengthwise and creating a crease along the seam with your fingernail.
Next grab one corner of the paper and fold it down so that its edge aligns with the seam you first created, and again press the new seam down with a finger nail. Then fold the other corner down in the same way. You will repeat the process; folding the flaps down so they align with the bottom edge of the plane, and creating a tight crease so the plane holds its form better.
Each wing will be folded down onto itself three times. Simple adjust the creases and the plane to get it into the final shape you like, and let 'em fly. You can let the children draw and color on the planes for added fun, or uses colored paper (as long as it isn't too thick or heavy).
This basic plane is just the beginning. There are many more complicated designs that you can teach the children, while discussing physics and even characteristics of flight, to have fun with science. This page at the University of Colorado has great information for teaching kids about flying and aerodynamics.
Finally, here is a great site that has easy to follow instructions for learning to build some cool paper airplanes. Check it out here: How To Make A Paper Airplane. You'll find some cool designs with on-paper instructions for where to cut and fold; there are even video instructions. It doesn't get much easier to enjoy spring crafting.
The instruction photos above are copyrighted by SafeReviews. You may use them freely as long as you link credit back to this page.
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