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Fun Ideas for Learning Science at Home This Summer

Boy looking through a glass bottle

Just because it’s called ‘summer vacation’ doesn’t mean learning has to stop. In today’s blog from St. Cecelia Catholic School, we offer some easy and fascinating science experiments you can do at home that will not only teach your child, but also offer great family time together. 

Related Post:  Ways to Make Math Fun at Home 

Watch a Leaf Breathe

Depending on their age, kids may not bridge the gap between understanding that leaves on plants and trees are more than just pretty or provide shade, but they are actually living organisms.

One great way to illustrate this for them is to show them that leaves actually breathe. 

To execute this experiment, you only need a fresh leaf from a tree or plant, a clear bowl, and some water. 

  1. Pick the leaf from the plant or tree
  2. Fill a bowl, preferably a glass bowl so you can watch the experiment from all angles,  with lukewarm water.
  3. Place the leaf in the water, putting a clean rock or weight of some kind on it so it’s fully submerged. 
  4. If possible, leave the bowl in a windowsill or sunny spot.
  5. Leave it for a few hours without disturbing the bowl. 

When you come back, you should see tiny bubbles forming on the leaf, both the underside and topside. These bubbles form because the leaf actively converts the sunlight into energy, also known as photosynthesis. As the leaf creates energy, it no longer needs oxygen, so it releases it. Because the leaf is in water, you can see this release through the evidence of bubbles. 

What would happen if photosynthesis never occurred? The carbon cycle would not occur and plants would die. This is why many planets do not have vegetation and cannot sustain life because of the lack of oxygen. That’s what makes our world truly unique and beautiful!

Making Your Own Clouds

Clouds are amazing things. They bring us rain, offer shade, and float! By creating a cloud in a jar, you are able to show your child how they are created and what elements are necessary for them to form. 

Items you will need: 

  • 1 large glass jar with lid
  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • Aerosol hairspray
  • Food coloring of your choice 

Add 1 drop of food coloring to the water and pour 1 cup of boiling water into the jar.  Quickly spray the aerosol hairspray into the jar. Place the lid on it immediately. Now place the ice cubes on top of the lid and let them sit. 

Now watch carefully as the cloud begins to form. You have hot air in the jar with cold coming through the lid and colliding with it. 

Real clouds form when water on the earth is heated and evaporates into the atmosphere as tiny, invisible droplets of water vapor. The water vapor begins to cool as it rises. It forms condensation and clings to microscopic particles in the air like dust and dirt.  In the jar, the hot air combined with the cool air. The condensation clings to the aerosol spray and forms the cloud. 

Now, take the lid off and watch with your children as the cloud rises from the jar and dissipates. 

Spending time with your children doing these types of activities not only shows them your love, but it instills a desire to learn and discover using the simplest of things. 

Science Learning Tips From St. Cecelia Catholic School

The staff at St. Cecelia encourages you to take proactive steps to help your child learn science lessons at home. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher for more tips. Contact St. Cecelia online or call (727) 461-1200 if you have any questions.

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