Suction is such a fun topic to cover with little kids because to understand what suction means, you most definitely have to be hands-on. It’s something that we all encounter every day even if it’s just drinking water, but it seems like a crazy phenomena for little kids see things get sucked away in the ever-noisy and crazy vacuum cleaner. Since we focused on one term this week, I thought I would just share a few activities on how to implement different “science experiments” and types of suction into your week.
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Supplies to Learn about Suction
- Your vacuum and vacuum hose
- Heavy Duty Suction Cups like to repair dents can be found for as low as $3 on Amazon
- Basic suction cups
- A hand-held or easy-to-use mini vac
- Plunger (even if just a sink plunger)
- Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator (Great as a nasal aspirator, but also great for them to understand what’s happening inside of their head and what’s coming out!)
Activities that Help Children Explore Suction
Use a Syringe
Like the one listed above in the supplies section, get a syringe that is see-through. This is a great way to continue learning from the measurements unit theme and still explore the new concept of suction. Syringes are a great way to both see and feel suction happening.
Mini-Vac Pom Pom Counting
Have your child suck up little pom-poms while counting them. To prep for this, we talked about how vacuums were loud but not scary and that they would not hurt us. Then we talked about how the game went since it’s not easy to talk over a vacuum. When we were done, she looked for the pom-poms and retrieved them from the vacuum canister. This was important in teaching that suction does not mean something disappears, rather it relocates.
Along the same token, we used the big vacuum to show pressure and movement within a bottle. To do this, we found a glass bottle that’s top was smaller than our vacuum hose and filled it with fathers. When the vacuum came on, we watched the pressure change and the feathers move around and some of them even get sucked up into the vacuum.
Take a Plunge!
Get a plunger out (preferably sanitized or brand new) and see how it works. It can be stuck to glass even to demonstrate it’s sucking powers
Play with Suction Cups
Big and small, wet and dry suction cups are a fun way to play. The ones with hooks on them can make fun experiments to see how many beads or # of a certain object it an hold before the suction gives out and it falls. This would also be fun to compare basic suction cups to a heavy duty one (see supply list above for larger, heavier duty suction cup options).
Straw (Transfer) Game
Demonstrate for your child how suction works by having a glass of pom poms and a straw (that is smaller in diameter than the pom-poms so it doesn’t get sucked through). Start by letting your child suck to see if they can lift each pom pom. Then, work on hand-eye coordination by transferring each little ball from one jar to the next.
Basic Vacuum Exploration
After you and your child(ren) have had enough interaction playing with the vacuum, give them the chance to play with just the vacuum. (Supervised of course). This will allow them to feel the suction on their hand and really understand what it does. While my daughter is not afraid of the vacuum itself, being right next to it while it’s so noisy can be difficult for her. So this is one to ease into, but it also may not be right for your child.
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!