Parachute Challenge

Supplies Required:

  • A plastic bag or light material
  • Scissors
  • String
  • A small object to act as the weight, a little action figure would be perfect


Learn about air resistance while making an awesome parachute! Design one that can fall slowly to the ground before putting it to the
test, making modifications as you go. Hopefully your parachute will descend slowly to the ground, giving your weight a comfortable
landing. When you release the parachute, the weight pulls down on the strings and opens up a large surface area of material that
uses air resistance to slow it down. The larger the surface area, the more air resistance, and the slower the parachute will drop.

Cutting a small hole in the middle of the parachute will allow air to slowly pass through it rather than spilling out over one side, this
should help the parachute fall straighter.


  1. 1. Cut out a large square from your plastic bag or material.
  2. Trim the edges so it looks like an octagon (an eight sided shape).
  3. Cut a small hole near the edge of each side.
  4. Attach 8 pieces of string of the same length to each of the holes.
  5. Tie the pieces of string to the object you are using as a weight.
  6. Use a chair or find a high spot to drop your parachute and test how well it worked, remember that you want it to drop as slow as possible.

Additional Resources

Think About It! Do bigger parachutes work better? How would you modify the design to carry a heavier or lighter weight?

  1. How does a parachute work?
  2. Parachutes and the science of air resistance:

This experiment is found at


Do like this:

  1. Clean the two plastic bottles properly.
  2. Cut bottle No. 1 in half and put the top of the bottle away. It can be used for something else.
  3. Pour clean sand into the bottom of the bottle and pour about 2 cm of water on top.
  4. Cut about 3 cm off the bottom of bottle 2.
  5. Take the upper part of the bottle and put it in the first bottle.
  6. Pull a cotton string through it so that the string extends into the water.
  7. Put in some soil and plant a plant or sow some seeds.
  8. Take the bottom of the second bottle and turn upside down to put a lid on the ecosystem.
  9. Study how the plants grow in the artificial ecosystem.

I give a thanks to for the idea.

Birds – Mmm yum!

Tip from

What you need:

  • Birds
  • Paper plate, or paper and pencil to draw a plate
  • Learning plate (not necessary) or flora


Children will practice presenting and arguing their case. Find out which berries, fruits and seeds are found in a local area.


Divide the children into groups of three or four.

How to do it

  1. Draw a plate or use a ready-made plate.
  2. Fill it with the birds’ favourite dish.
    Give the children 15 minutes to find berries, seeds, fruit and more in the forest. Bring the finds to their plate and post what the group has found.
  3. Name the dish and argue why the birds like that particular dish.

Bonus is if the children can also figure out what is in front of them on their plate. Here it might be useful to have a learning board, or a flora with them, where the children can find out what plants they have found.


In the classroom, the children can then stick the dish on the plate and describe their dish and why it is the birds’ absolute favourite.

Build a Paper Rocket


  • Two pieces of paperBuilding paper rockets.
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Drinking straw
  • Ruler
  • Clear space in which to launch your ”rockets,” such as a large room, hallway or outdoor area with no wind
  • Measuring tape (optional)


  1. Cut one piece of paper into four smaller rectangles, by cutting it in half lengthwise and widthwise. This will allow you to make four rockets.
  2. Wrap one of the paper rectangles around a pencil to form a cylinder, with the long edge of the paper along the length of the pencil.
  3. Tape the cylinder closed so it does not unravel (but do not tape it to the pencil).
  4. Slide the cylinder off the pencil. Pinch one end of the cylinder shut and seal it with tape. (This is the ”front” end of your rocket.) Leave the other end open. This will be your first rocket, with no fins.
  5. With plenty of room in front of you—and no obstructions, such as furniture or people—prepare to launch your first rocket! Slide it over a drinking straw. Aim the straw forward, then blow into it as hard as you can. Watch your rocket as it flies.
    How far does it go? Does it fly straight or does it tumble in midair?
  6. Launch your rocket a few more times to see if it flies the same way. If you would like to record your rocket flight distances, be sure to launch it from the same place each time, and measure to the landing spot with a tape measure.
  7. Make another paper rocket following the previous steps. Remember to pinch one end and tape it shut.
  8. For this rocket, however, you will make fins. Cut out two right triangles (with a 90-degree angle in one corner) from the other piece of paper. The long sides of the triangles should be about eight centimeters. You will fold each triangle to make two fins, so you will have four fins total.
    Paper rocket.
  9. Draw a line that splits one triangle in half (from the 90-degree corner to the middle of the long side of the triangle).
  10. Draw two lines parallel to the first line (one on each side), about five millimeters away from it.
  11. Now, fold the triangle up along these two lines. The result should be two triangles sticking up in the air (the fins), with a flat part connecting them in between.
  12. Tape the flat part to the side of your cylinder, toward the open end (the base, or bottom, of your rocket).
  13. Repeat these steps for the other triangle, and tape it to your cylinder on the opposite side of the first one. The result should be four fins that form a ”+” shape when you look at the rocket from either end. If necessary, bend the fins so they are spaced out 90 degrees apart from one another.
  14. Slide the new rocket onto the drinking straw and launch it.
    How far does this rocket go? How does its flight compare with your first finless rocket? Does it go farther? Does it tumble or does it fly straight? Do you think fins help the stability of your rocket?
  15. Launch it a few more times. If you are measuring the flight distance of each rocket, use a tape measure and record how far it flew.

What Happened?

You should have seen that your finless rocket flew straight at first but quickly spiraled out of control. It might have tumbled through the air and fluttered to the ground, almost like a leaf falling from a tree. This is because the rocket did not have fins to keep it stable. If it started turning just a little bit, then it would start turning even more rapidly until it completely lost control. In contrast, your second rocket that had fins should have flown straight, and traveled much farther as a result. This is because the fins help keep the rocket stable, or pointed in the same direction. If the rocket turns a little bit, the fins help turn it back in the original direction.

Animal Remix

Design a mythical animal through collage and illustration! This activity builds creativity as children combine items in new ways.

Materials Required

  • Blank paper
  • Pens, pencils, markers, or crayons (something to write and draw with)
  • Color copies of animal photos from books, magazines or the Internet


Children can approach the Animal Remix activity in two ways:

  • building a collage or
  • using their imagination.

For the collage method:

  • Using pictures of animals from magazines, paste together the front of one animal with the back of a different animal to invent a new, imaginary animal.
  • Describe the creature’s special features and why they are cool or important to its survival.
  • Create a name for the animal.

For the imagination method:

  • Compile a list of animals.
  • Write down the most exciting aspects of the animal on a piece of paper. Below are sample animal characteristics and habitats
.Characteristics & Abilities

(Some real, others imagined)


(Some real, others imagined)

Tough armor-like skin covering Rocky seashore
Extendable toes Polar ice cap
Sharp teeth Redwood forest
Unbreakable shell Storm cloud
Lightning-fast color change Desert cactus flower
Suction cup feet Rainforest floor
  • Decide where their animal will live, what it will eat, and how it will move. These decisions can help inform the features of the creature. For example, if an animal lives in the Arctic it might need very thick fur to keep warm. (The imaginary creature does not need to be realistic.)
  • Draw a picture of the imaginary animal with some of the interesting characteristics in its habitat.
  • Describe the creature’s special features and why they are cool or important to its survival.
  • Create a name for the animal.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Invent a myth or a fable that tells the story of your animal.
  • Imagine what your creature’s life is like. What adventures might it have while in its natural habitat? Who or what does it eat? Who eats your animal? Where does it sleep? How does it play? Does it live alone or in a group?
  • Turn the imaginary animal into a three-dimensional sculpture with blocks, papiermâché, glue and fabric.

Copyright © 2020 Bay Area Discovery Museum Inc. All rights reserved.

Coded Mother’s Day cards

Make a code table where each letter has a code (let the children help you figure it out). Make simple things that can be drawn. Make sure they are clearly distinguishable.

Can look like (not the whole alphabet in my example):

Code table.

Step 2. Translate the message. So A becomes Heart., D becomes Note symbol.etc.

Step 3.         Write the message on the card and send it with a decoding table so that the message can be deciphered.

The card may look like:

Coded Mothers Days Card.

Balloon experiment


For the experiment you need:

  • bicarbonate of soda
  • food vinegar
  • a teaspoon
  • for measuring liquids: a syringe or decilitre measure
  • a transparent jar or drinking glass
  • an empty balloon
  • an empty bottle (0.5 l)
  • a funnel (you can also make a funnel out of baking paper, for example)


  • First, observe the reaction of the bicarbonate mixed with the vinegar.
    Put two teaspoons of bicarbonate in the jar. Then measure out 10 ml of vinegar into the syringe. Squirt the vinegar over the bicarbonate and observe: what do you see? What do you hear? How would you describe your observations?
  • For the following, measure out 30 ml of vinegar into the bottle. Then put five teaspoons of bicarbonate into the balloon. Then thread the opening of the balloon over the opening of the bottle. Hold the balloon up so that the bicarbonate flows into the bottle. What observations can you make?
  • Think together about why the balloon is growing. How could the balloon be made even bigger?
  • Photograph and film the different stages of the experiment with the child. Think about which parts of the experiment are important to present. How should they be presented so that the reader gets as clear a picture as possible of what has been done?

To support the adult:

  • Encourage the child to describe their observations at each stage. Observations can be documented, for example, by drawing, recording comments, photographing and filming.

The balloon grows because the bicarbonate and the vinegar create a reaction that forms gas. The gas formed is carbon dioxide.

Countdown Calendar

It can be fun to have a countdown to the summer or the spring party and see how it’s getting closer. Or to a disco, to a parent-meeting, or whatever you make up.
Gives some math practice in counting down, then on the day’s note you can have something else you want to bring up. The example below has one movement challenge per day
From @mitt_digiloga_classroom (Instagram)

If you want to do it digitally, there is a free app ”Pixmas Countdown” where you can make calendars on your own with a photo and text for each day. You can also choose which day you want it to open for, whether you want it Monday-Friday, or just one day a week…

Jump Like a Frog

Jump and measure how far you jump on different surfaces using
different jumping methods.

What you need

  • Data sheet
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure or other measuring tool
  • Partner

What to do

  1. Find an open surface to do your jumping. (Use surfaces like cement, dirt
    and wood.)
  2. Make a starting line.
  3. Estimate how far you think you can jump.
  4. Jump as far as you can from the starting line.
  5. Measure the length of this jump and record it on the data chart.
  6. Continue to jump, but use different jumping styles (standing, from a squat and on one foot) on the different surfaces.
  7. Measure the length of each jump using different jumping styles and record on the data chart.

What to ask

  • How far do you think you can jump?
  • Which jumping style do you think will work the best? Why?
  • How did your estimates compare with your actual results?

Datasheet is included here: Jump Like a Frog (PDF, 416 kB)

Thanks to the Children’s Museum of Houston for the idea.

A-maze-ing Design

Designing your own game takes a lot of creative problem solving to make it work and provides a fun way to use everyday materials to create something original. Children will design a tabletop maze using materials from the household recycling bin. The maze will be grounds for a ping pong ball race. The movement of the ping pong balls will be powered by air blown through straws.

Getting Started:

Supplies needed:

  • Drinking straws (enough for each participant to have one)
  • Two ping pong balls
  • Large base for your maze to be built on (i.e., a large flat piece of cardboard or foam)
  • Materials to repurpose such as coffee sleeves, cardboard, cereal boxes, or paper tubes
  • Paper-backed tape such as masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Scissors or x-acto knife
  • Optional: aluminum foil or pipe cleaners

Players: can be done individually, with a partner, or with a small team Time needed: 15+ minutes


  1. It’s time to start planning the maze. Will you sketch it out in advance or dive right in and start adding materials to your base? That’s up to you and your design team.
  • Make sure you choose a start and a finish. The start and finish must be on the base of your maze.
  • Use as many different materials as you can to create as many twists, turns, and obstacles as you can in your ping pong ball maze.
  • Be sure to make your paths wide enough for a ping pong ball to travel through.
  • There is no height limit for the paths in your maze.
  1. Test the maze. Push your ball along by blowing air through a straw to make the ball move.
  2. Blow your ball from start to finish.

Time yourself or one another as you race against the clock to move your ball from start to finish.