Chase the Wind – Physics for Littles

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We’ve been doing some great physics work for upper elementary level these past few weeks. But what about those of us with little ones tagging along? Fortunately lessons in force offer a great opportunity to get outside and play on a windy day! It’s also a good way to transition from our mostly indoor physics unit to our mostly outdoor Springtime Science biology unit.

Here’s what we use to explore the force created by wind:

You can really use anything that moves with the wind. Ribbons and fabric work too. Sheets and pillowcases make great capes.

Adventure Schooling Super Dad

Start by talking about wind. What is wind? If you can’t see it, how do you know it’s there?

Use your wind-revealing materials to play with wind. As free play starts to wind down, ask more questions. Which way is the wind blowing? How do you know?

Look for the windiest and least windy spots. Now is a good time to tie it in to what we’ve learned about force. What do your wind catching materials do when the wind is stronger? This is a good free form lesson where young kids can engage in educational play, and older kids can talk about what they learned, using concrete examples, before moving on to the next unit.

Speaking of, keep an eye out for our upcoming biology unit, Springtime Science!

How to Make a Nature Exploration Bag

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One of my favorite things to do with my kids is let them loose in nature to explore. This activity lasts much longer when I supply them with materials to deepen their exploration. I like to keep a kit for this in the trunk of my car so I always have it with me. Here’s what you need to make your own:

  1. A bag. Keep in mind it’s going to get messy. I like a canvas tote because it’s easy to throw in the wash. Backpacks are great to take on longer hikes.
  2. A net. Great for catching bugs and fish, and for sifting through dirt.
  3. A magnifying glass, for getting a closer look at things.
  4. A bug catcher and informational insect guide.
  5. Nature reference books, for identifying plants and animals, and answering questions that pop up. You can get general ones, or find ones specific to your area at local nature centers.
  6. Buckets. We’ve used ours for collecting nature treasures, building sand castles, fishing, and transporting water, just to name a few.
  7. A nature journal and pencil. My older daughter sometimes likes to make notes on what she finds. Also great for pictures and crayon/pencil rubbings of interesting leaves and bark!
  8. Binoculars, for spotting birds or other things in the distance.
  9. Large tweezers. Great for exploring things without touching them, while also building fine motor skills!
  10. This awesome nature activity book.
  11. A small first aid kit, because you never know!

The kit pictured also includes a scavenger hunt. I don’t always include them, but it’s a great activity for trips and hikes!

None of these things are necessary, so just get started with what you have! Keep it somewhere easily accessible for impromptu nature exploration!