Teaching kids about materials can be so much fun. We can really get creative with this topic. And any time we make a subject fun, kids remember what they learned. It's all about retaining. I still remember one of my grade school teachers passing a box around the classroom with an item inside. We couldn't look or feel inside the box. We could only shake it to guess what was inside. He also passed around a bag with another item inside. This one we could put our hand inside to feel the item, but we couldn't look inside the bag. I remember being afraid to put my hand inside for fear of it being a bug or something of that nature.
We have a game called Ned's Head. It's a little weird, but it does the trick in teaching the kids how to guess what an item is by just feeling for it in Ned's plush head. It definitely is strange sticking one's hand in Ned's ear or nose to get to the item and then guess what it is. I think my son enjoys it more than the girls do. It helps them understand that it's not just the sense of sight that can help in learning about materials, but we can use our other senses of touching, smelling and listening. In the box I mentioned that my teacher used in our classroom, just by listening as we shook the box, most of us guessed that it was a washer in the small box. It didn't sound as heavy as a quarter, but it sounded more like a small washer.
As we study materials and mixtures in science, we learn to identify what items are made of, like wood, plastic, cloth, metal. We have found this to be a bit tricky at times. We'd find an item that looked to be wood, but in closer inspection found it to be plastic. This happened with our daughter's doll house. It was plastic that had been painted over to have the appearance of wood.
Studying mixtures online at Science4Us allows the student to sort mixtures by materials and properties, compare mass and identify types of materials, and deconstruct mixtures using a variety of materials. An online science program can add a new scope to learning science as it engages a child in fun interactive activities. And because we don't do science every day of the week, I've found a fun way to cover a little bit of science on the off days with online science games.