Running your own summer day camp? Here are some great (and easy) science activities for a science-themed week! These also work great for daycare, preschools, or homeschooling activities!
My friend Hillary recently posted about how she started a super successful in-home summer camp for kids. Today she is back to tell us all about science week: The Great Science Escape!
Easy Science For Kids Summer Camp Activities
Our first week of camp was science-themed, and it was a huge hit! Here is a general schedule that I followed each day during science week:
10-10:10: Bell work
10:10-10:30: YouTube Video or Demo
11:15-11:30: Snack Break
11:30-11:50: 2nd experiment/Activity
11:50-11:55: Clean up
11:55-12: Line up games and dismissal
Our schedule was flexible, though. If we were having a ton of fun at something, I let the kids go longer, and if they got bored too fast I moved on to the next thing.
Bell Work and Experiment Demos
Bell work (click for some free science printables) was important because not everybody will arrive on time! The kids started the day with a color page, word search, word scramble, or something similar, which was connected to that day’s activities. It’s a great way to keep the early birds busy while waiting for the rest of the group!
Once everyone was there, I showed YouTube videos and demos of the experiments we were going to do. They were a lot of fun, and a great way for introducing science to kids!
For example, on the day we played Sink or Float, I showed them a clip from Sesame Street where Cookie Monster was playing the game!
I made a journal for each child at camp. Each experiment we did had a paper to go with it inside the science journal. And before we did our experiments, I had them open their journals and do their predictions.
For the younger children, I had them draw pictures of what they thought would happen, and the older kids wrote down their predictions.
Next came the experiments! I surfed the web and found some great hands-on science activities and experiments that could be done with simple supplies, and which I thought would have the biggest impact on the kids.
Here are the experiments and activities we did each day. For each one I’ve included either a link to a detailed tutorial or simple instructions below.
Day 3: Food Science Day
Experiment 1: Ice Cream in a Bag (see instructions below)
Experiment 2: Candy Color Science
Activity: Freeze Dance & Science Charades
Mad Scientist Masks
You can find templates for these online, but I made my own design (crazy hair and glasses) on my Silhouette and glued them to straws. You could even buy some cheap plastic eyeglasses and glue construction paper hair on!
Sink or Float
This game is super easy! I had two glass bowls on my kitchen counter and passed out random toys and objects to each kid.
One at a time, we asked the group about each object and who thought it would sink and who thought it would float. After everyone made their predictions, we dropped the object in the bowl. There was a ton of cheering and hollering when they guessed correctly!
When we had experimented with all of the objects, I pulled out a bath bomb I had made the day before and asked the kids what they thought would happen. Would this sink or float?
I dropped it in and when it fizzled and bubbled they completely lost their minds! This led perfectly into our bath bomb making activity (see link above).
Ice Cream in a Bag
This activity is always a crowd-pleaser! Every kid got their own small Ziploc bag. They lined up, and my helper and I went down the line putting the ingredients into their small Ziploc bags.
Ingredients for small bags: 1 tsp vanilla, 2 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half
Ingredients for big bags: Fill halfway with ice cubes, 6 tbsp salt
Once everyone has their ingredients, get as much air out of their bag as possible and seal it closed.
The kids got in teams of two for the next part. Each pair got a big Ziploc half filled with ice and 6 tablespoons of salt. They put both of their small Ziploc bags into the larger bag and sealed it closed.
Now the fun begins! They had to predict what would happen, and how long it would take.
It usually takes 10 minutes of shaking the bag to make the ice cream. They would take turns shaking the bag before their hands got too cold, and then they passed it to their partner. After a few minutes of shaking, the liquid starts to become a solid!
Once their ice cream was complete, they opened their bags and ate right out of them with a spoon. Be careful when opening the small bags because you don’t want the salt from the big bag getting inside and ruining your ice cream. You can add any kind of sprinkles or cookie crumbles, or just eat it straight! It is yummy!
Freeze Dance & Science Charades
Okay these are pretty self-explanatory, but the kids loved the connection to ice cream and had fun getting their wiggles out! And for science charades, just write out some of the terms from the activities you’ve done all week, and let them have fun trying to act them out and guess!
Clean Up and Pick Up
When you’re done with your fun day of science activities, make sure to have the kids help clean up! Many hands make light work and little kiddos have tons of energy.
As soon as the activities are cleaned up and the kids have ALL of their belongings, have them line up by your front door and sit on the ground. You can play some fun line games to keep them entertained and busy while waiting. We played hot potato with a huge plastic ball and also did timed races passing it up and down the line. When their parents arrive, they’ll be all ready to go!
I hope you enjoyed my ideas for your science week of summer camp!
Check out our other themed-week ideas!