While the school year schedule can often hinder the spontaneity of exploration, summer is the best time to take time for some hands-on experiments with your kiddos! You’ve been working hard all year, so fill summer with play learning that doesn’t include worksheets, notebooks, or logbooks. Make summer science fun and hands-on by exploring new topics with your homeschoolers, becoming scientists with your students, opening the world of experiential discovery, and sparking the desire to study science all year long.

Become a scientist this summer!

Become a physicist at the beach. Building sandcastles is more than just a fun beach pastime — it’s an exercise in physics! Each sandcastle is built from grains of sand, and the strength of the castle will depend upon how the grains interact. Find out more about the physics of sandcastles here, then grab your shovel and pail and get building!

Become a biologist or ecologist while camping or hiking. Summer science has to include time spent outside enjoying the weather! The great outdoors offers a world of habitats, ecosystems, and organisms to study. From frogs to butterflies, beaver dams to snake holes, getting outdoors will provide you with endless opportunities to explore and examine the world as ecologists and biologists do. Make sure to take your camera and a bag to gather treasures in to examine later.

Become a chemist in your kitchen. Chemistry is the investigation of matter, or substances, and how they interact. There’s no better, or yummier, place to discover more about chemistry than in your own kitchen! Why is baking soda important for baking? How do oil and vinegar combine to make dressing? What happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar? Answer these questions and more when you become kitchen chemists in this summer science series. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Become engineers in your backyard. Why not turn your summer science series into an exercise in building and engineering? When we build, we explore stability, how structures are made, and mathematics principles. Build garden boxes for your summer vegetable garden, create a marble run, or create your own America Ninja Warrior obstacle course in your backyard. Be sure to use graphing paper to plan your designs and put the math skills you’ve learned this year to work!

Become archaeologists or anthropologists at your local museum. Don’t forget about social sciences! It’s important to give your learners the understanding that science includes the study of human beings, or anthropology. Visit your local museum (or one not so local on your family vacation) and explore the areas of archaeology and anthropology. Use the museum’s exhibits as a springboard for discussing the many human-oriented topics you’re sure to encounter there. Talk about how artifacts are dated and how documents are preserved. Examine tools used, food consumed, and homes of humans in the past. Discuss the social changes that have occurred for women, men, and minorities. Let the museum guide you as you learn more about anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. No matter where you are, you can find a great museum!

If we want to inspire young scientists to be connected to science and ask inquisitive questions, we need to be aware of the science that exists all around us. From the local farm to our backyard, science is all around us. Discover how science intersects with your everyday lives with these activities designed to help you not only explore different areas of science, but create lasting impressions and a better understanding of the scientific method. And, you’ll be having fun together, which is what summer is all about!

How will you become a scientist this summer?