This is a classic science activity that explores the principle of buoyancy and can be done with even very young children. All you need is a large container, water and a few small objects.
Fill a large container (e.g a bowl or plastic box) with water. Then, select a range of objects from around the house - your child can then drop an object into the water – after guessing whether it will sink or float. Easy!
This activity teaches children about solubility, specifically whether a given substance will dissolve in water. You’ll need several small, transparent water containers (e.g. plastic or glass cups) and a range of substances to test (e.g. sugar, oil, salt, food colouring, rice, flour, vitamin tablets). Before dropping each substance into a cup ask the children to guess whether it will dissolve or not.
For this activity, you’ll need some paper plates, pens/crayons a paperclip and magnet. Give a paper plate to your child and ask them to draw a ‘maze’ on it (older children may be able to attempt an actual maze but for younger ones a squiggly line is fine). You can draw a little bug or animal of their choice and place it within a paper clip. Place this small cut out on the plate and use the magnet to navigate this cut out along the line - your magnet will have to be beneath the paper plate.
This is a nice easy activity that you can set up for your child to explore on their own as well as with you. You’ll need a tray (or shallow box/crate), a selection of objects with interesting details and/or textures, and a magnifying glass. To extend this activity you could ask your child to draw some of the details/patterns that they find. :)
For this activity you’ll need some tape and a collection of things like cardboard tubes, plastic bottles and egg cartons. Use these materials to assemble a marble run together, exploring principles such as the effect of gradient on speed. You can make it as simple or complicated as you wish.
There are lots of great activities for learning about weather – you can: a) Make wind chimes (out of plastic bottles or beads) and hang them up outside or make a rainwater collector (out of a plastic bottle with the top cut off) to measure rainfall. These are both quite suited to London weather! Click on this link to explore 25 different types of wind chimes you can create: https://www.playideas.com/25-easy-breezy-wind-chime-crafts-for-kids/https://www.playideas.com/25-easy-breezy-wind-chime-crafts-for-kids/
This is more of an ongoing science activity, but if you choose quick-growing seeds the children won’t have to wait too long before they start seeing results. Cress is the classic quick-growing plant! All you will need is a small pot (yogurt pots work well), cotton wool and cress seeds. Wet your cotton wool and place it into the bottom of the pot; sprinkle some cress seeds on top and gently press them into to ensure contact. Then place beside a window and check on your seeds each day to watch their growth process. You can spray them with water daily or pour/sprinkle small amounts each day.
This activity is a bit messy but really fun and hands-on (my favourite activity) ; children love exploring the strange properties of this cross between a liquid and a solid. For best results use a large shallow container that you can put on the floor, like a sand/water tray. Mix together cornflour and water until you have a slime consistency. You can food colouring and glitter as well to make it look more exciting! Try punching the slime – it instantly turns solid. Roll some slime into a ball in your hand and then stop – it turns back into a liquid.
For this activity – an engaging introduction to chemical reactions – you’ll need a shallow dish, full-fat milk, food colouring, cotton buds and washing up liquid. Pour some milk into the dish, add some drops of food colouring, then dab with a cotton bud dipped in washing up liquid. Use a few different colours at the same time for maximum impact, and try dabbing in different places.
Show how water moves up through plants using food colouring. This activity works particularly well (and quickly) with celery, but you could also use white-petalled flowers. Put some celery sticks (preferably with leafy tops) in separate glasses of water, then add different colours to each glass. Within an hour or two the celery will change colour as the dye moves up through capillary action.