Outdoor Science Lab for Kids
Liz Lee Heinecke
Quarry Books (Quarto Knows)
Just right for the summer break especially, but for any time you can get outside, is this resource book of 52 ‘family-friendly’ experiments you can do with children in the garden or yard, the playground and the park.
The dozen units (each with 3-5 ‘labs’) are wide ranging and include exciting-sounding activities such as making ‘driveway frescoes’ on cornstarch (cornflour in the UK) and water using food colourings and tiny paint brushes or toothpicks to create the designs; that’s in the Picnic Table Chemistry unit. There’s a list of materials needed, ideas for extending the activity and an explanation of the science involved, as there is for each of the other ‘labs’.
I’m sure children will relish the prospect of engaging in some ‘Garden Hose Science’, trying such fun things as the ‘siphon roller coaster’ that starts with a water balloon fight.
Author and mother Liz Lee Heinecke covers ecology, earth science, botany, physics and zoology in her inspiring book. One hopes that doing some of the activities will show children that real hands-on science is fun and well worth spending their time on, just like those in the photographs included for each of the projects. (As she hails from the US, some of the names the author used will be unfamiliar to UK readers, for instance in the ‘Invertebrate Inspection’ unit,‘ pill bugs’ and ‘sow bugs’ are what we commonly call ‘woodlice’, though I think only the former can curl themselves up into a ball).