Category: Fun Science Activity (Page 2 of 112)

Great Backyard Bird Count #GBBC 2022

Want to participate in a child-friendly citizen science project that has been ongoing for 25 years? The Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up February 18-21, 2022.


The Great Backyard Bird Count is one of our favorite bird-centered STEM activities. All you and your family members need to do is count the birds you see over 15 minutes (at least once over the four day period) and then report your findings. Although it is called “backyard,” you may count birds anywhere they are found, including parks, preserves, or fields. There is plenty of information and instructions about getting started at the website.

This year there is a free webinar for participants on Feb 16, 2022. Register here.

This is a wonderful project to revisit year after year. Perhaps you can spot new birds and/or population trends in your own community.  For example, the other day I spotted a Crissal Thrasher (All About Birds page) perched on top of a saguaro. That C-shaped curved beak was incredible and I wondered how it could eat with it.

What can you find? Time to grab those binoculars and meet your bird neighbors!

Related Activities:

Looking for children’s books about birds?

1. Check out Taking Flight: a List of Children’s Books About Bird Migration at Science Books for Kids


2. The list of children’s books for young birdwatchers at Science Books for Kids


You may also want to try:

Are you planning to participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count? What kinds of birds do you see in your backyard? We’d love to hear.

Chemical Reactions! #Kidlit #STEM Projects for National Chemistry Week

Right in time for National Chemistry Week October 17–23, 2021, we have Chemical Reactions!: With 25 Science Projects for Kids by Dr. Susan Berk Koch (website) and illustrated by Micah Rauch.

You can find tons of so-called chemistry experiments on the internet. The problem is it takes time to find the legitimate ones (in among the ads), and weed out the ones that are not age-appropriate or don’t work. Dr. Koch has done all that for readers ages 7-10, plus added the background and educational materials needed for successful learning.

The book starts with a historical timeline and a periodical table of the elements. The introduction lets young readers know why they should study chemistry, as well as introduces vocabulary words in convenient sidebars.

The following chapters are activities grouped based on chemical principles. Chapter 1 is about mixtures and how to separate them. Chapter 2 is about chemical reactions such as photosynthesis and making crystals. Chapter 3 covers water and the concepts of acids and bases. Chapter 4 plunges into gases and Chapter 5 explores manmade compounds, for example, the metal mixes in coins. Scattered throughout are QR codes that take you to extras like relevant YouTube videos.

The back matter has an extensive glossary, an explanation of metric conversions
, places you can find out more,  a list of the essential questions asked in each chapter, plus a full index.

The book is illustrated with diagrams, photographs and some fun cartoons, like the one you see on the cover.

Chemical Reactions! is perfect for budding chemists and students who love their learning hands on. It would also be a wonderful resource for a unit on chemistry or to develop experiments for an elementary-level science fair. Check out a copy and see what develops.


Related activity suggestions:

It is hardly necessary to supplement such a wonderful selection of activities, but here are a few.


Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 – 10 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Nomad Press (October 15, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1619309416
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1619309418

Disclosure: An e-ARC of this book was provided by the publisher. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

#STEAM #Kidlit What’s In Your Pocket?

To continue our STEAM children’s book series, let’s explore the childhood adventures of nine scientists in What’s in Your Pocket?: Collecting Nature’s Treasures by Heather L. Montgomery and illustrated by Maribel Lechuga.

When children collect and sort items they find in nature, they are learning important STEAM skills. In this book you will meet a boy who collected rocks and beetles, another who collected seeds and seed pods, and a girl who slept with earthworms under her pillow. Keep reading to find out which famous naturalists and scientists these curious children grew up to be.

They’ve created collections
They’ve made discoveries.
They’ve changed the world of science.

Maribel Lechuga’s vibrant illustrations perfectly capture each child’s wonder and surprise at the new things they stumble on.

The back matter gives a more complete biography of each of the people featured in the text, plus a charming note from the illustrator about how artists also appreciate and observe nature. In her author’s note, Heather Montgomery explains the need for collecting responsibly and gives some rules for respecting nature, respecting your family and community, and for protecting yourself when you gather from nature.

What’s in Your Pocket? is a delightful celebration of the collections made by youngsters who became famous scientists and naturalists. It is sure to inspire the next generation to make their own discoveries. Check out a copy today.

Related Activity Suggestions:

Visit Heather Montgomery’s website for resources for identification of trees, pond critters, and birds, as well as links to activity suggestions.

Activity 1. Make a leaf collection

Fall is a great time to make a leaf collection.  Use fallen leaves as an opportunity to study leaf form and function.


  1. Gather the leaves.
  2. Preserve the leaves.
  3. Display your collection.

Be sure to gather the leaves where you have permission to do so. A cloth bag can help hold your leaves while you are collecting.

There are many, many ways to preserve leaves. Personally, I press mine in between the pages of a few large books I keep for that purpose. This is something I learned from my grandmother. I still occasionally find a pressed leaf she tucked away in one of her books, a hidden treasure.

You may:

Be sure to include when and where you collected your leaves and any information you have about the identity of the plant. Keeping detailed records makes your collection more valuable as a scientific resource.

Use your preserved leaves to make and display a leaf collection. For example, see these third grade examples.

For a fun STEAM project, check out this lesson plan inspired by land artist Andy Goldsworthy.


Activity 2. Make a Seed Collection

In places with distinct seasons, plants often release their seeds in fall. To start, look for big seeds like acorns, maple keys, horse chestnuts, or walnuts. Here in Arizona we have mesquite pods.

If you can’t get outdoors, search for seeds inside common fruit like apples or pumpkins. Just be aware that learning how to dry and preserve seeds from fruit can be a bit of an art. There are books on saving seeds and many communities have seed libraries with information to help you get started.

A first collection can be stored in an egg carton (also useful for small rock collections). Bigger collections can be held in clean, dry spice jars or in labeled paper envelopes. As with the leaf collection, include when and where you collected your seeds and any information you have about the identity of the plant.





The diversity of seeds is amazing. To give you some idea of the different kinds, here at Growing with Science blog I posted a different seed photograph for 257 weeks in a row. First I posted the photographs — without identifying them — as mystery seeds. The following week I posted the identity with information about the plant (Seed of the Week). Many are listed by plant common name in the Seed of the Week archive page.

Activity 3. Make a list of things to collect

Brainstorm a list of other things that people collect.

  • Rocks
  • Seashells
  • Insects (particularly butterflies)
  • Pine cones
  • Bits of bark
  • Driftwood
  • Bones
  • Fossils
  • etc.

Discuss how these collections might be used, such as learning how to identify the items collected or figuring out where they can be found (geographical range).

Do you have a collection? What do you collect? How have collections inspired you?


Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Charlesbridge (September 14, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1623541220
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1623541224

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

« Older posts Newer posts »