Young children have an easier time learning about solids and liquids than gases.
Here are some ideas, demonstrations, and activities to help younger children observe and begin to understand that air is a substance that exists, an invisible gas, and matter.
- Even though children can't see air (a gas), they can feel air by folding paper and making a paper fan then waving the fan up and down or side to side to feel the air.
- Hold up a balloon that is filled with air. Let the children feel the air as you release it.
- Have children observe as you blow up a balloon. Ask the children to explain what is being blown into the balloon.
- Do the above demonstration with a zip-lock bag.
- Hold up a deflated dodge ball or basketball . Have children observe as you use a pump to fill it with air.
- Explain to the children that the air in tires supports a car. Have they seen a flat tire? Have they seen an adult add air to a car tire? bike tire? etc?
- Ask children if their hats have ever blown off on windy days. What caused this? Explain to the students that Wind is Moving Air!
- Have the children observe leaves blowing on a windy day or trees swaying.
- Observe air movement by viewing a turning windmill.
- Have children observe a flag waving on a flagpole on a windy day.
- Ask if children have felt the wind pressing on their faces as they rode their bikes.
- Ask the children if they ever saw an umbrella turn inside out an a windy, rainy day.
- Observe a wind vane.
- Have the children make or fly a kite. Discuss how it uses wind (moving air).
You can find directions to make a kite here.
- Have the children blow bubbles. There is air inside the bubbles.
- Have the children make a pinwheel then take it outside on a windy day. Observe the pinwheel.
Have fun with air!
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