Build to Experience Science

With these activities, science can be fun! Whether your child wants to learn about astrology, biology, chemistry, or even vibrations, Stroller Hikes has the activities for you and your child. You can do these individually or use a lesson plan.


Bird Feeders
Colored Celery Tree
Constellation Box
Crystals
Insect Cages
Mushroom Prints
Seed Collage
Snail or Worm Terrarium
Sound Makes Vibrations
Spider Web
Vibrations Make Music
Walkie Talkie

Lesson Plans

Astrology

Looking for a cool way to observe the stars without really going out? Try the Constellation Box. Talk with your child about the moon, stars and planets after you and your child build the box. Remind them of how far away they are in terms of things that your child is familiar with — like 10,000 people — and make sure that they know the different names of the planets and the most famous star: the sun!

For a field trip, check the moon cycle, then visit a park at dusk, to see the moon and/or planets rise, and first stars appear (most parks close 30 minutes after sunset). Use this US Navy tool to check for moonrise, moonset, as well as phases of the moon.

Biology

Ask your child about what trees do. Discuss with your child the importance of trees —including the organisms that they host, the energy that they convert, and the food that they provide. Afterward, make a “Colored Celery Tree” and take a break. Remind your child that he or she will revisit the tree the next day. After the break, remind your child of the organisms that trees host, and ask your child about what a bird looks like. Once he or she gives you a satisfactory description, you can start on your “Bird Feeder” activity. After you and your child build it, take another snack break and watch the birds for a while.

If your child still feels up to another activity, have a discussion about why organisms need to eat. Remind them that organisms, including birds, need energy. Talk about what birds eat, and make sure that your child says something along the lines of insects, snails, and worms. Finally let your child choose among the activities “Insect Cages,” “Spider Web,” and “Snail or Worm Terrarium.”

On another day or after a long break, you and your child can start on a “seed collage.” After the collage, build a mushroom print. Make sure to contrast seeds and spores in your discussions.

For a field trip, take your child on a hike to look at the trees and the wildlife. Hikes along the bay, like at Sunnyvale Baylands Park, Palo Alto Baylands, or similar stops along the Bay Trail include excellent bird watching, particularly early or late in the day. The San Francisco, Oakland, or Happy Hollow Zoos are also great places to experience biology firsthand. Finally, farms such as Deer Hollow (Rancho San Antonio), Hidden Villa, Emma Prusch, and along Bol Park are great places to see domestic livestock.

Vibrations

Ask your child to make a variety of sounds — including hand clapping, stomping, and tapping. Afterward, tell your child that he or she will find out what creates sound with the “Sound Makes Vibrations” activity. After the activity, ask your child what type of music he or she likes, and discuss how different vibrations make music. Then do the “Vibrations make music” activity.

For a field trip, take your child on the Bay Trail at Seal Point to listen to the sounds of the waves, the many birds, and to interact with kinetic and audal sculptures.

Chemistry

Discuss with your child where crystals are usually found and why they usually form. Then demonstrate with the “Crystals” activity.

For a field trip, take your child to Alum Rock Park to look at the historic mineral baths.

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