by: Priscilla Robinson
Recently, on a warm summer evening, I did something special with my three-year-old grandson. At 8 PM, little Henry was still full of energy, having had a late nap. I decided to use that to my advantage. We ventured outside to enjoy the setting sun with the twilight of oncoming darkness. My bag was packed with a blanket, some bottles of water, two headlamps, and a few special summer science surprises from Educational Innovations. Henry was delighted to have an outing instead of being hustled up to bed, so off we went—down the block to our local elementary schoolyard.
At first, he jumped on the familiar playground equipment, but as I settled myself down on the blanket, Henry was drawn by what might be in “Nana’s Bag.” It is often a source of tasty snacks, a new book from the library, or curious science gadgets. I pulled out the Rocket Balloons and pump. We inflated a beautiful green one (his favorite color). Henry was delighted by the loud “rude” noise it made when he let it go.
Off he raced, the balloon on a steady course upward, nearly out of sight. Chasing “Green Beauty” allowed Henry freedom to run in all directions; his energy bursting forth with each new launch. His curiosity peaked when he filled the Rocket Balloon with different amounts of air. He noticed how the amount of air had a direct relationship to the flight duration.
Could he really understand Newton’s Laws of motion with this delightful play? I wondered. Alas, on its final launch, our “Green Beauty Rocket” landed in the top of a Douglas fir tree and was irrecoverable.
Yes, I thought: Newton’s first law had definitely been understood.
The learning continues after the sun sets
As the twilight turned to darkness, we sat down on the blanket and put on our headlamps. Henry directed his light beam deep into my bag and pulled out the Aero Copter and my insulated bottle of cool water. He had already played with an Aero Copter in the past, but this time I pushed the button to illuminate the LED light. Henry’s eyes widened. A whole “new” toy!
There he sat, sipping water and pushing the button; on, off, on, off.
“Hey, let’s launch it, Nana!” he exclaimed.
Soon we found a nice open space in the field. I helped him stretch out the rubber band on the launch rod. Off it catapulted into the dark sky! Henry was thrilled. The LED light flashed high above us as we tracked it. With barely a breath of air, the rotors on the Aero Copter helped it gently twirl its way back down to us.
Keeping up with my three-year-old grandson maintains my young-at-heart spirit. I enjoy my days and evenings when Henry is left in my charge. It’s my hope and dream that this purposeful play is planting seeds of wonder and confidence in him.
Take the time to have fun with science… and make memories
Warm summer evenings are a perfect time for families to have some summer science fun. Why not pack your bag with some surprises that all the family members can engage in? I highly recommend it—for the sheer pleasure of the moment, and for the chance to share some science with young friends. At Educational Innovations, there are plenty of science materials that would be suitable for family fun on a warm summer evening.
Your family will have so much fun with these “toys,” they may just forget that they’re learning! For example:
Glo sticks that last for eight hours…
A Mysterious Glowing Ball that teaches us about persistence of vision
as it separates white light into alternating blue, red and green light…
The brilliantly colored Energy Tube that lights up (and beeps!)
when the circuit is closed by touching both ends…
And much, much more.