Today’s Family continues to support our families. Home Activities is a new blog series where we share activities and games to keep bodies and brains active while we all practice safe social distancing. Just as we’re sharing these thoughts with you, please share these ideas with your family and friends through social media.
Great Early Childhood Education helps children understand how the world around them works. On this blog, we have shared dozens of teaching moments, opportunities, and activities that illustrate the principles outlined in How Does Learning Happen? These blogs can be easier to do when the learning moment is focused on things you can see and play with – like bugs, goop, or how plants grow – but it can be more challenging when the learning subject is a lot less visible.
Air is something that is especially important for young children to learn about because it will help explain a lot of other interesting physics questions they will have. But teaching about air can be difficult because it can be harder to interact with.
Enter the balloon rocket. Because they only really work when filled with air, balloons are great vessels for teaching children about gasses. Balloons give air a physical shape that can be interacted with. As a good first step, blow up and tie shut a balloon and have children play with it. See if they can figure out why the balloon falls slowly, instead of quickly like other toys.
Balloons are also great teaching tools because they help children understand that air wants to move. This can be taught by simply letting a balloon go and watching it zoom around the room, but you can easily make this into a more engaging activity.
What you will need:
Balloons, string, some tape, and drinking straws.
First, thread the string through the straw. Tie or tape the string across a room in a straight line – but make sure not to damage any furniture or paint! Then, tape the straw to one of the balloons. Blow up the balloon, count to three, and then LET GO! Watch as the balloon zooms down the track!
You can make this into a more immersive learning experience by making two balloon rocket tracks and then racing them. See what happens if you blow one balloon up more than the other. Ask the children why they think one balloon is moving faster than the other. This is a great way to have children begin to understand how air likes to act and move around all around us.