Physics Activities for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden

Balloon and Can Races

Kids can learn about the power of static electricity with this activity.

You'll Need:

• Balloons (inflated)
• Cans (aluminum is best)

Directions:

This activity works best where the kids have room to move around. Make sure each student has a balloon and a can before you begin. Then have the kids rub the balloons on their hair for several seconds. Finally, they should move the balloon towards the can from the side. When they get close enough, the can will move to meet the balloon!

Have your students practice moving their cans with their balloon. See how fast they can get their cans to go. You can even set up races to make the activity more competitive!

This experiment demonstrates the power of electricity. Rubbing the balloon on hair gives it a negative charge, which then attracts the can. Your students can reinforce their understanding of this subject with this lesson on static electricity.

Milky Light

Students learn about the different colors contained in light with this activity.

Gather These Supplies:

• Flashlights
• A large, clear rectangular box
• 1 C. of milk

First you'll want to get your container set up and filled most of the way with water. Go ahead and shine the flashlight through the water. There's not much to see right now. The white light just passes through. Add a quarter of your milk to the water and have a student mix it up. Shine the light through again and have students note any changes. They should be able to see the light now! It should appear bluish closer to the flashlight and yellow at the far end!

Continue the activity by adding the rest of the milk in increments, allowing your students to note the changes in the light as you do. By the time all of the milk is in the water, your light should be quite blue and orange.

This activity helps students see that white light contains multiple colors. It also demonstrates that these colors appear in different circumstances. The color blue scatters easily and shows up first, while orange takes much longer and doesn't appear until the far end of the flashlight beam. Help your students find out more about these topics with this lesson on properties of light.

Supplies:

• Magnets
• Metal needles
• Small metal objects

What to Do:

Begin by handing out the magnets and needles to your students. Make sure to warn everyone that the needles are sharp. The kids will need to rub their needle across the magnet in the same direction 30 times. And voila! Their needles should be magnetized! Have them test their new magnets on some of the metal objects. See how much they can lift and determine if and when the magnetizing wears off.

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