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Children / Colorado Livin' / Contests

Keeping the Learning Going – Summer Sun Science – ENTER TO WIN!

School is out, the sun is blazing and the kids are singing their favorite song “I’m bored.”

I heard this familiar tune the very first day of summer vacation.

How are you going to keep them busy for more than two months? How will you keep their mind active, engaged and learning? With science activities of course!

**Want to win your very own set of Summer Sun Science Products from Steve Spangler Science? Click here to enter! Contest ends June 30th!**

With the sun being a major part of summer, why don’t you explore the science of the sun?

An easy, first project can be to design a solar oven to cook hotdogs and roast marshmallows. Explore different designs and materials for the solar oven. A good place to start is a cardboard box and some aluminum foil. The kids can get really creative in searching around the house to find oven materials, sketch out their designs and then build.

The best part of the oven is the cooking and eating. My girls like to make s’mores in their solar ovens – graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow on top. You can even make it a contest to see which design will cook faster.

This is a great opportunity to discuss the power and the heat of the sun and ask some questions. How much energy is needed to cook different foods? What is the best method to cook the food? Which design is better? What are other ways to harness the sun’s energy?

When you are done eating, make bracelets with Color Changing UV Beads to gauge the effects of the sun on your skin. A solar-active pigment in the beads is reactive to ultraviolet light and will change the beads from white to colorful in sunlight. Wear the bracelets outside and watch the beads change color in the sunlight. If the sun is changing the beads’ color, what is it doing to your skin?

Now test the beads and the power of the sun using sunscreen. You can put the beads in a Ziploc bag and put sunscreen on the bag or apply the sunscreen directly to the beads. Now place them out in the sun. Do they turn as bright a color as the beads without sunscreen?

It’s your choice whether or not to tell them they’re testing a hypothesis and experimenting with different outcomes? Yes, the kids are learning the Scientific Method. And they’re busy.

If the kids need a little exercise, take them to the park with a Solar Bag. A Solar Bag is a long, thin, plastic black bag. Fill it by running (burn the kids’ energy), tie off the ends and let the solar energy warm the air inside the bag. The bag will rise and float in the air. This is an activity for older children or younger kids will need adult supervision, as the bag is made of thin, fragile plastic that will easily rip and tear. This is a great activity to learn about the science behind density and buoyancy and how they are affected by heat.

Playing with Sun Print Paper or Sun Sensitive Paper has always been a favorite with kids. Now, you can do the same thing on fabric. Lay objects like leaves, flowers, coins or anything else you can think of on the fabric, wait 10 minutes and watch a photograph develop. Then take the fabric and make a pillow or sew several together to make a small blanket.

Finally learn about solar cells and solar energy with a favorite of mine – solar robots and cars. Build these little solar powered machines without the need for tools then take them out in the sun. Smaller children may need a little help with building. This project uses fine motor skills. Don’t miss the opportunity to experiment…what happens when the robot moves into the shade? Rub some sunscreen on the solar panel. Will it still run?

Head over to SteveSpanglerScience.com for these experiments and more solar science activities this summer.

**Want to win your very own set of Summer Sun Science Products from Steve Spangler Science?  Click here to enter! Contest ends June 30th!**

Guest blogger Susan Wells is the mom to two girls, ages 4 and 8. She enjoys enriching her daughter’s education by finding the learning in everything. They especially enjoy science activities. She works as a blogger and social media strategist for Steve Spangler Science, a Colorado company dedicated to helping teachers and parents get children excited about science.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. Across North America ladybug species distribution is changing.  Join the Lost Lady Bug Project in finding out where all the ladybugs have gone. Take a virtual field trip with MEET ME AT THE CORNER (www.meetmeatthecorner.org) to Colorado Springs and learn more about the Lost Ladybug Project and how kids can get involved this project by finding and recording of lady bugs in their corner of the world.

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