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3 Fun Activities to Play and Bond with your Preschoolers this June Holiday

- By Wei Xuan & Yi Yun


The June holidays are finally here! If you didn't manage to sign up for a holiday program with us in time, fret not, for we have compiled a list of fun and simple activities to do with your preschooler. 


Between CCA activities and TV time, these activities are a good way to bond with your kids by having fun and learning together at the same time.


In the true spirit of STEAM education, the following list of activities require minimal materials, including things that can be obtained from your friendly neighborhood stores.


1. Build a Mini Catapult


Ever wanted to play a real-life battleship game with your son? As far as mini-weaponry go, this catapult works just as well (if not better) than any toy you can buy off a Toys'R'us shelf. 


Materials Needed:

7 Ice-cream Sticks

4-5 Elastic Bands

1 Bottle Cap

Tape/Glue

Pompoms (or any soft and light material for ammo)

How to Build:


1. Stack 5 ice-cream sticks and tie them together using an elastic band at each end respectively. This will form our bulk body.


2. Tie 2 ice-cream sticks together at one end using an elastic band and place the bulk body from step 1 in-between the two sticks. The rubber band might fall off at this point, but don't worry, simply try again placing the bulk body further from the bands. 


3. Secure the catapult by tying with an elastic band at the conjunction.


4. Glue or tape the bottle cap on the end without any rubber bands and your catapult is ready!


Tips to Encourage Experimenting and Creativity:

  • Try out different types of ammo and see how far each one shoots

  • Have a competition with your kid to see who can build the catapult that shoots the furthest

  • Go crazy designing the catapult - Paint, stickers, anything goes!

  • Explore different ways of building the catapult - Where can you add another launcher? How about a pocket to hold ammo? Perhaps if you use one more ice cream stick for the launcher...

Learning Points:

  • The catapult is a simple example of energy conversion, from stored energy to kinetic energy. When you release the catapult, energy stored in the elastic band and ice cream stick is being converted to kinetic energy for the ammo to fly.

  • Different materials (size, weight, shape, etc.) can have vastly different flying abilities - too heavy and the ball will fall too quickly (gravity), too thin and the paper will barely fly (air resistance)

  • Fun fact - Catapults that launched heavy boulders were most commonly used as siege breakers in ancient war times because of their destructive capabilities!


2. Build a Clothespin Car


Next time your child asks you to spend money buying him/her a toy car, try suggesting you build one with him/her together instead.


Building this toy car not only saves you money, it also helps your child learn about the way wheels work. With just simple materials, you can build a few cars and have a race together.


Materials Needed:

1 Clothespin

2 Short Pipe Cleaner

1 Straw

4 Big Buttons

Tape


How to Build:


1. Cut the straw and pipe cleaner to the desired length. Slot the pipe cleaner into the straws


2. Secure the pipe cleaners to the buttons. Each pair of wheels should look like dumbbells.


3. Attach the pipe cleaners to the clothespin and the car is ready to go! 


Tips to Encourage Experimenting and Creativity: 

  • Vary different parts about the car - Size of wheels, number of wheels, length of straw etc. - and see whether it affects the speed of the car

  • Allow your child's creativity to run wild and let him/her decorate the car as much as they like

  • Try creating a racing track using everyday items (books, rulers, bowls – anything goes!) to see who's car can go the fastest!

Learning Points:

  • The invention of wheels made it possible to transport heavy objects across long distances - which was crucial in the days where farms were far apart from each other

  • A simple way to think about wheels is to compare between a flat piece of cardboard and a cardboard roll. Both have the same texture and weight, but because of the shape, the cardboard roll can move a lot faster than the flat cardboard when it's pushed.

  • Fun fact - The wheel was first invented in 3500 BC (nearly 5500 years ago!), but rather than being used for transport, it was used first as a potter's wheel, to create pottery! It was only 300 years later that someone figured to use it to create the chariot.


3. Bouncy Egg Experiment


Warning: This one might get a little messy. But trust me, it's worth it.


Remember those colourful bouncy balls we used to get from the gachapon machines at like 20 cents from our neighbourhood grocery store? 


Well, the end product from this experiment is similar, albeit much less bouncy, and with a huge catch: it's actually an egg.


If you don't believe us that an egg can bounce, try out this experiment with your kid and find out for yourself!


Materials Needed:

1 Egg

Vinegar

Container/Jar (Almost twice the height of an egg is a good size)



Experiment Steps:


1. Place a raw egg in a container. Pour enough vinegar to cover the egg. Observe and see what happens as you add the vinegar. Bubbles should appear on the surface of the egg.


2. Let the egg rest for 24 hours in the vinegar. After 24 hours, carefully remove the egg and drain the vinegar from the container.


3. Put the egg back in and add fresh vinegar into the container. Let the egg sit for at least 2 more days in the container. Observe and see what happens to the egg.


4. Take the egg out and let your kid hold the egg and observe. Try bouncing the egg a little (we suggest doing this in a small basin or in the sink, just in case) and see what happens.


Tips to Encourage Experimenting and Creativity:

  • Try adding food colouring to the vinegar to see what happens

  • Try placing a balloon over the container to collect the air formed from the air bubbles - this can show your kids that a gas was formed during the experiment

Learning points:

  • This experiment was a simple example of the corrosive property of an acid - vinegar. When placed in the vinegar, the egg shells (made up of calcium carbonate) reacted with vinegar and was removed, leaving behind the raw egg wrapped up in the semi-permeable membrane. 

  • In all experiments, recording is crucial to the experimental process. You can also use this experiment to introduce your child to the habit of writing down observations. Place a small notebook by the side of the jar and have your child write down or draw anything that he or she thinks is an interesting observation. 

  • The egg has two protective layer - the outer shell (removed by vinegar), and the inner membrane. 

  • Fun fact - The chemical that makes up the egg shell (Calcium Carbonate) can also be found in some cleaning agents used in your household!

Regardless of which activity you’re doing, remember to keep to the STEAM principles of creativity and experimenting to truly maximize your kids’ learning. And above all else, don’t forget to have fun!


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