Young children are naturally curious and passionate about learning. In their pursuit of knowledge, they’re prone to poking, pulling, tasting, pounding, shaking, and experimenting.
From birth, children want to learn and they naturally seek out problems to solve.
Young children should learn science (and all other areas of study) through active involvement – that is, through first-hand, investigative experiences.
For this activity, we learned about the interaction between carbon dioxide and oxygen. Through our Expanding Ghost experiment, your little ones observed, predicted, and explored the physical properties of these two gases. We began by pouring a half cup of vinegar into an empty water bottle.
We than drew a face onto our deflated balloons.
Next, we placed the funnel into the open end of the deflated balloon and poured in baking soda.
After that, we secured the open end of the balloon onto the top of the bottle, careful not to dump the contents of the balloon into the bottle quite yet. Finally, we held the balloon upright, allowing the baking soda to fall into the bottle and mix with the vinegar.
The result is an expanding ghost! How does it work? The product of the vinegar and baking soda is carbon dioxide, a gas present when we breathe out. The carbon dioxide inflates the balloon.
Science activities benefit your child in several ways. It involves asking questions, probing for answers, conducting investigations, and collecting data.
Science, rather than being viewed as the memorization of facts, becomes a way of thinking and trying to understand the world. This approach allows children to become engaged in the investigative nature of science and to experience the joy of having wonderful ideas.