I am always looking for hands on ways to teach about the world around us. Sometimes explaining or showing pictures isn't enough. Kids need to touch, feel, manipulate and explore a subject before they truly understand it.
That is why I was really excited about these activities which teach about plate tectonics and how land forms are created.
The first activity is a sensory tub. I made this tub by taking a piece of foam paper and cutting it in to separate pieces. I drew a basic map of the globe on the sheet of foam before I cut, but most of the ink washed off in the water so it didn't really matter.
I explained that the pieces of the earths crust were floating on top of the liquid mantle like these pieces of foam were floating on top of the water.
Later we looked at what happens when these huge plates move. I took a shoe box and cut it in two. I slid one side of the box inside the other so that it could slide in and out, making the box larger and smaller. The kids filled the box with moist sand. Together we watched as the sand piled up in to "mountains" as the two sides of the box slid closer together and ripped apart in to "canyons" as the two sides of the box slid apart.
For more ideas for hands on learning activities you can do with your children check out these links...
Lets Play Dentist
Chinese New Year Dragon
President's Day Science