Motion is all around us, from the gentle swaying of a tree branch to the roaring power of a race car. It’s a fascinating subject that has captured the imagination of scientists and curious minds alike.
Whether you’re a parent looking for fun and educational activities to do with your kids or an adult who wants to explore the science of motion in a hands-on way, these five simple experiments are sure to delight and inspire.
From creating your own mini rollercoaster to investigating the physics of pendulums, each experiment is designed to be both fun and informative. So grab some materials, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to discover the science of motion in a whole new way!
Newton’s Laws fascinate kids! You’re in for a treat! Science seems almost too good to be true. Even for us adults. Science across the board is not only amazing but can be performed or observed easily and inexpensively.
5 Simple and Fun Experiments for Newton’s Laws of Motion
Experiment 1: Balloon Rocket
For this experiment, you will need a long piece of string, a drinking straw, a balloon, and some tape. Cut a piece of string about 5 feet long and tie one end to a chair or doorknob.
Thread the straw onto the other end of the string and tape it in place. Blow up the balloon and pinch the end to keep the air inside. Tape the balloon to the straw and let it go.
The air rushing out of the balloon will propel the straw and create a “rocket” effect.
This experiment demonstrates Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When the air rushes out of the balloon, it creates a force that propels the straw in the opposite direction.
You can make the experiment more challenging by adding obstacles for the balloon rocket to navigate around or by using different sizes and shapes of balloons.
Experiment 2: Egg Drop Challenge
For this experiment, you will need an egg, some materials for padding, and a place to drop the egg from. The challenge is to create a protective casing for the egg that will prevent it from breaking when it hits the ground.
You can use materials like cotton balls, bubble wrap, or foam to cushion the egg. Once you’ve created your casing, drop it from different heights and see if the egg survives.
This experiment demonstrates the concept of inertia, which is the tendency of an object to resist changes in its motion. When the egg is dropped, it has a certain amount of kinetic energy that is converted into potential energy as it reaches its highest point.
As the egg falls, the potential energy is converted back into kinetic energy, which causes it to accelerate. The padding around the egg helps to absorb some of the force of the impact and protect it from breaking.
I love this example of the project from Kiwi Co!
Experiment 3: Paper Airplane Race
For this experiment, you will need some paper and some creativity. Fold a piece of paper into an airplane and see how far it can fly. Experiment with different designs and techniques to see which one flies the farthest. You can also have a race with friends to see whose airplane can fly the fastest.
This experiment demonstrates the principles of aerodynamics, which is the study of how objects move through the air. The shape and design of the paper airplane can affect how it flies, with factors like lift, drag, and thrust all playing a role in its performance. By experimenting with different designs, you can learn more about the science of flight.
Experiment 4: DIY Wind Turbine
For this experiment, you will need some basic materials like a plastic bottle, a small motor, and some blades. Cut the top off the bottle and attach the blades to the motor. Place the motor inside the bottle and secure it in place. When the blades are turned by the wind, they will generate electricity that can power small devices like a lightbulb or a fan.
This experiment demonstrates the concept of energy conversion, which is the process of changing one form of energy into another. The kinetic energy of the wind is converted into electrical energy through the rotation of the blades. By experimenting with different blade designs and wind speeds, you can learn more about the science of renewable energy.
Experiment 5: Pendulum Painting
For this experiment, you will need a pendulum (which can be made by tying a weight to a string), some paper, and some paint. Hang the pendulum from a fixed point and place a piece of paper underneath it. Dip the weight into the paint and let it swing back and forth, creating a unique pattern on the paper.
This experiment demonstrates the principles of motion and gravity, with the pendulum swinging back and forth in a predictable pattern. The paint adds an artistic element to the experiment, creating a visual representation of the motion of the pendulum. You can experiment with different colors and weights to create different patterns and designs.
Generation Genius has a wonderful tutorial on pendulum painting with kids.
Newton’s Laws for Kids Must Try Activity
In the meantime, onto our Newton’s Laws of Motion (the 3rd law to be specific) experiment! Every month we receive Steve Spangler’s Science Club Kit. Steve’s Kit is superior and full of amazing experiments, science learning for kids, and a Top Secret guide for parents and teachers. The experiments build (scaffolding) upon each other so kids really get the science. Extremely well done.
The Helicopter Balloon is one super fun way to introduce kids to more complex scientific ideas.
The kit we received includes three blades, a blade connector, a hub, and two balloons. A bit tricky for a younger child to put together but my 6.5-year-old was able to make it happen. The key is after the balloon is blown up, to pinch the balloon as you attach it to the hub, and wait for the amazing science.
Explanation of the Science Behind Each Experiment
Each of these experiments demonstrates different principles of motion and physics.
The balloon rocket experiment shows Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The gas coming from the balloon forces the blades to rotate, the blades drive the air down to cause the helicopter to lift. Kids love this activity.
The egg drop challenge demonstrates the concept of inertia, which is the tendency of an object to resist changes in its motion.
The paper airplane race demonstrates the principles of aerodynamics, which is the study of how objects move through the air.
The DIY wind turbine experiment demonstrates the concept of energy conversion, which is the process of changing one form of energy into another.
The pendulum painting experiment demonstrates the principles of motion and gravity.
What if your child has no desire to learn more? I thought about that a while back. If this obstacle sounds familiar check out a post I wrote on Ways to Help a Child with Science Thinking. Let me know what you think.