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5 Family Science Activities to Prevent the Summer Slide

In these last days of summer, when most families are getting ready to return back to school, it is the perfect time to turn to science, engineering, and technology activities with your kids. You can get them excited about science, help them retain what they learned during the school year, and do something fun together! There are lots of resources out there for great activities and lessons, but here are some of our favorites to get you started:

 

  • Crash Test Piñatas: In this Techbridge design challenge, you can build piñatas out of household materials, with a goal of making them strong enough to withstand ten hits. Along the way, help your kids learn about safety engineering and the physics behinds the crumple zones in cars that protect us during crashes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Learn How to Code: Let it code, let it code! At Code.org, your kids (and you!) can learn the basics of computer science while programming characters from Frozen to make shapes on the ice or to help the Angry Birds get through a maze. They have lessons that are short as an hour or ones that are more extensive, which combine computer programming, art, video games, animation, and more.

 

  • Super Cuffs: Create superhero wrist cuffs that are strong enough to hold the weight of heavy books in this Techbridge activity! With the super cuffs, your child will take on the role of a structural engineer-- learning about the engineering that adds strength and stability to buildings and roads and about the everyday forces that act on simple shapes. Afterwards go on a shape scavenger hunt with the family to see if you can find shapes in larger structures, such as houses, bridges, and playgrounds!  



  • Paper Circuits: Looking for something a little more high-tech? Try paper circuits! Using copper tape, a coin-cell battery, and an LED, kids can make all kinds of light-up paper designs as they learn about how circuits work.  From MAKEZine “Paper circuits are a great way of adding light to your drawings, origami, or papercraft creations. Instead of using wires to connect a battery to LEDs, paper circuits use conductive metal tape!”

 

  • Balloon Car: In this activity from PBS’s Design Squad, kids are challenged to build a car that moves forward when air is released from a balloon. Have everyone in the family build one and race them to see whose design goes the farthest!  Once you have tried testing distance, try testing other factors such as whose car is the toughest and whose can carry the most weight.

 

To keep tinkering and find other ideas and summer activities, check out these great resources:

 

 

 

 

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