Outer Space Experiments for Kids
Science class will teach your child about the captivating world beyond our own and may leave her imagining she is an actual astronaut seeing all the astronomical objects in outer space. Though years away from being an astronaut, you can encourage your child's outer space curiosity with easy science experiments that she can do in your home kitchen.
Rockets are used to launch astronauts into outer space to explore the universe 1. You can show your child how a rocket works by letting him recreate his own with your assistance. Have him thread one end of a long piece of string through a drinking straw. Attach one end to a stable piece of furniture like a table. Blow up a balloon and hold the end to keep it inflated. Have him hold the end of the string not attached to the table. Attach the inflated balloon to the straw with tape and release the balloon's air. Have him measure the distance the balloon moves. Emphasize that like the balloon model, a rocket is throwing its fuel downward causing it to rise upward.
Kids are often fascinated by twinkling stars when looking up at the sky at night. Your child can recreate a star's twinkle with simple materials. Let her fill a glass bowl two thirds of the way with water. Have her cut a piece of cardboard from a box that will be able to fit under the bowl. She can cut star shapes from aluminum foil and place them on the cardboard and then put the bowl on top. Turn off the lights and have her shine a flashlight on the bowl. Have er tap the bowl. She will be amazed that the aluminum stars twinkle. The air that starlight passes through at night makes it appear to twinkle just like her aluminum stars.
The moon's surface contains bowl-shaped depressions called craters that will leave a child in awe of how they were formed. A few materials will show your child how meteors created the moon's craters. Fill a large dish or tray with flour and smooth it out. Have her drop small balls such as marbles into the flour dish from various distances. Remove the balls from the flour. The imprints from the balls will resemble moon craters. Explain to him that objects called meteors hit the moon causing the craters.
Gravity helps pull objects toward each other and makes it easier to grab things on earth. Unlike earth, there is no gravity in space. Let your kid experience what it would be like to have no gravity. Place a glass of water beside a straight-back chair. Have your child lay across the chair so that his stomach is higher than his mouth. His stomach should be on the seat of the chair with his head and feet hanging off each side. Have him try to lift the glass and take a sip. He will find it is very difficult to do. By lying on the chair, he is changing his center of gravity and ultimately mimics how there is no gravity in space where objects are unable to attract each other.
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