Saturday, February 19, 2011

Outdoor Rainy Day Science Fun

We're experiencing our winter here.  We're getting a little antsy though since we haven't been able to play outside much this week.  In anticipation of this latest storm, I bought J boots (really, I was hoping the storm would pass us buy since I bought the boots).

If you're willing to get wet, here are some fun outdoor rainy day science experiments.

Puddle Jumping:

How high can you jump?
Can you get the water to splash sideways?
How many waves can you make and count with one splash?
How many puddles can you jump in during 60 seconds?

Dada and J jumping high!

Drop an object into a puddle:

What happened to the water after the object dropped?
How long did it take the water to calm?

Floating objects (in puddles - stay away from flowing water):

What objects make good boats?  Think recyclables!!
Can you make your boat move?  How can you move the boat without your hands?  Without stomping next to it?  Can you direct the boat through an obstacle course?
How many "passengers" can your boat hold?


Find a stick.  Start sticking the stick in puddles and marking the water level of that puddle on the stick.  Which puddle has the deepest water (note it might not be the puddle with the largest area)?

We used J as a measuring stick.  Deepest puddle found!

Put a cup outside at the beginning of the storm and bring it in once the storm is over.  Measure how much water fell in the cup.  Put it in terms that your child can understand (since I'm sure a few inches or cups won't mean a lot to them right now though use the terms to get them used to comparisons).  Think, "1 inch of rain fell into our cup.  That's enough to fill your cereal bowl."  or "What container do you think will hold this amount of water?"  How long does it take the water to disappear from the rain catching container?

Other people's suggestions for sciency rain fun:
TLC suggests looking for bugs that come out when it rains and looking at the material properties of the leaves.  Compare dry and wet leaves or compare leaves from different trees. suggests painting with raindrops and powdered tempera paint (colors are physics!).
Squidoo suggests playing the lava game with puddles.  How can you get from point A to point B only by hopping in puddles.

If you're kid is like mine, he'll be having so much fun that he won't want to come inside (even if he's freezing cold).

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