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Easy and Fun Earth Science Projects You Can Do with Children - Preschool to Second Grade

Aug 30, 2017 12:00 AM What can we say about little ones? Children love to get messy and dirty! They love the feeling of the bugs crawling on them and ticking them. Kids enjoy the sensation of cold, wet mud as they squish it and watch it slip through their fingers and toes. Children are always exploring the world around them. They continually do the same things, and experiment, if you will, over and over again. Why? Because kids are constantly learning and taking in a wealth of information.

Most kids are tactile learners. Tactile learning means that students actively use their sense of touch and feel as part of their learning process. Touch is an excellent tool that the brain uses to take in information and help the child process it. For example, is the object hard or soft? Does the item have a smooth texture, or is it course? Children with this kind of learning style learn best with hands-on activities. What better way to help them learn about the world around them than to engage them in a science project?

Below are a few Earth Science Ideas for your youngster.
Dinosaur Placemat - Most younger kids like to play in the sand. Pretending to dig for dinosaur fossils is a great way to help them search for different “bones” to assemble a dinosaur. You will need a few items for this project.
  • Box of sand
  • Miscellaneous toy skeleton bones
  • Picture of a dinosaur
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Sheets of white paper or large construction paper for a background, approx. 12x18 in.
  • Crayons or colored pencils, or colored felt-tipped pens
  • Clear contact paper
Once the children find different bones, you may want to ask them if they know what bone it is and show them where the bone is located on their body. Of course, the bones will not comprise a complete dinosaur, but it will be an additional fun activity for the kids. Depending on the age of the children, you will have them color the dinosaur pictures of their choice. Apply a small amount of glue to the back of the picture and paste it to the background paper. Cover the entire placemat with the clear contact paper and trim the excess with a pair of scissors. This project can also be a “framed” wall-hanging if you don’t want to use it as a place mat.

Critter Rocks – Another easy and fun activity for youngsters is to crush shells and create crushed critter rocks. Kids love to be destructive and crushing seashells is a great way to let them get this urge out of their system. Children aren’t usually allowed to damage things, and this is probably why they like to break objects, especially when given proper guidance and permission. The objects you will need for this activity are:
  • Broken and unbroken seashells
  • Paper cups
  • Water
  • Plastic spoons
  • Plastic wrap or waxed paper
  • Elmer’s glue (a glue stick will not work for this project).
After the broken shells are mixed in the plastic cup, pour a mixture of 1-part glue to 2-parts water into the cup. Stir thoroughly until the crushed shells are completely moistened by the glue mixture. Pour the mix onto the plastic wrap. *(Don’t forget to lay the plastic wrap on the table ahead of time). Gently place the unbroken seashells on top of the mix, glue them in place, and seal the critter rocks with a top layer of plastic wrap. Make sure the critter rock is completely dry before removing the plastic wrap or wax paper. It will probably take about 2-3 days for them to dry. Note: Crushed eggshells can also be used for part of this activity as well.

Homemade Geodes – Per Education.com, this activity is geared towards the special second graders in your life. Most youngsters are fascinated by rocks, especially if they are bumpy and sparkly inside. Why not help them create their own geode? You will need a few household items for this project.
  • Eggs and egg cartons
  • Container for the eggs
  • ¼ cup Water
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Spoons
  • ¼ cup Epsom Salts
Once you take out the egg from the shell, store the eggs in a separate container. *(Be sure to remove the entire inner membrane otherwise mold will grow in the eggshell. To loosen the membrane, pour very hot water into the eggshell, let it sit for a few minutes, and carefully roll your fingertip around the innards). Put the eggshells in the carton and dry thoroughly. Heat water in the measuring cup until very hot, but don’t allow it to boil. Add the Epsom salt a little at a time until it stops dissolving. Pour the hot water into the eggshells, but do not allow the undissolved pieces of salt to go into the shells. Refrigerate for at least one night. Once the water has cooled, the children will see that the salts have settled to form “crystals.” If there is extra water left in the eggshells, carefully pour it out. Don’t tip it too far, because the newly formed crystals will fall out. Note: You can also experiment with different ingredients, such as baking soda or sugar. If you want to create a colored geode, you may want to color the water mixture before you pour it into the eggshells.

One of the best things about these projects is that they are fun, easy and anyone can do them. They are great for the classroom, whether it’s in a traditional school setting or in the homeschool classroom. Best of all, the items are everyday objects that most people have around the house. If you don’t have some of the supplies, you can purchase them at the local craft store. So, have fun with the children in your life and make memories with these great Earth Science activities.

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