A Physics Play date at The Little Explorers Activity Club, UK.

gravity

“Oh my goodness! There are all sorts of things: airplanes, space, gravity...”  Thomas was thrilled to see all the things he loved.  “Gravity pulls everything down” he said.  Miriam agreed, repeated it and demonstrated by moving the gravity arrow. “Always down, not up” he said. “Exactly, because gravity is a force that lets everything fall down.” She added and dropped a little ball.

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He flipped through the ‘Flying Machine’ book, read the headlines of different chapters.

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He noticed the planes on the string and had a closer look at them.

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Then carefully climbed onto the big trampoline and said “Can we please put all the planets on here?” so on they went, “I have been in outer space for about 6 years. Have you been there before?” I passed over Miriam's tablet, she selected the ‘gravity song and they listened together, Thomas was concentrating hard, not seeming to enjoy it at first, it was a though he wanted to take it all in seriously first.

When the song was finished he took the lyrics that Miriam had printed out for him and read through all of them, reading a few out loud. Miriam sang a few lines, he seemed to be a little skeptical then a smile appeared. He jumped up singing “We all fall down”.  The song played once again and he sang along too.

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Back on the decking he drew a picture of an airplane and Miriam pretended to fly the airplane and said: “Ready for take off? We are flying from London Airport to Hamburg. He started to draw another picture of an airplane on a runway and said: “Hamburg is where hamburgers come from.”  And we all laughed.

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we always include the siblings at our playdates and there are plenty of activities put out for them to enjoy too.

“Let´s go inside,” He took a fairy tale book out of the box called “The big pan cake.” and asked Miriam to read it to him.  He enjoyed listening and started giggling.  I thought to myself - this is following the child, maybe he needs a break.  It was nothing to do with physics but I was pleased that Miriam went with what he wanted to do, this could be a way for him to relax between his learning phases.

After story time Thomas wanted to go into the wheelbarrow. “Please push me.” He said politely, Miriam pushed him around the trampoline. “We are like a planet on our orbit around the sun.” she said and he giggled. “There are some other planets in the way. Which planet are we? I think we are the earth because that is called the blue planet like our wheel barrow.  We spin on our orbit around the sun and the sun has so much gravity. We spin on our orbit.  But I wonder... if the sun has so much gravity, why don´t we fall straight into the sun?'  Miriam chatted away and Thomas laughed more and more the further she went into it all. “I have an idea. If there was no gravity from the sun would we go straight into this direction and leave our orbit.'' and off they went in a straight line.  ''So, it's only because of the gravity of the sun that we stay in orbit.”

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“Can we go to the tubes please?” He asked, Miriam knew what he meant and parked up beside the new game “And what do they do?” he asked, she showed him letting water run out of the little watering can and offered the can to him. “Things like this are always very hard to do for me. You know I am a five year old.”  I tried very hard not to laugh, Thomas can be so matter of fact and sounds almost like a grown up the way he talks, Miriam kindly said “That´s okay. I am going to do this for you.”

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''I am younger than you. What is your name?” he asked. “My name is Miriam and I am 23.” He smiled, seemed to really like her response. “Can I have a go? He said loudly, very excited.  As soon as the rain pipe see saw turned he started laughing.  “I love this,” he said very enthusiastically and we all agreed it was the best game ever.

“I´d like another go in the wheel barrow.” He said and they went back on their orbit around the trampoline sun.  He was still very excited in the wheelbarrow so Miriam started to talk to him again “What if there was no gravity from the sun? We would leave our orbit and go straight into outer space.” she pushed him straight again and then said “But we are glad that the sun has so much gravity and we will stay on our orbit, the circle around the sun. The sun has so much gravity because it has so much mass.”

“Is this one of the three famous astronauts?” he asked as he saw the picture of an astronaut in the wheel barrow. “Do you speak Germish?” He asked. “Yes do you want to know a word in German? For example tree is Baum in German” Miriam said.  She  parked the wheelbarrow close to the trampoline so he could step on easily.  They listened to the gravity song again, he was jumping and laughing, repeating phrases of the song “Ouch, ouch, ouch”.  As they touched they got an electrostatic shock.  He seemed a little bit scared and said “an electric shock”.  A moment later he was jumping on the trampoline happily singing to the song.  Follow the child also gives you inspiration for a new topic for the following sessions. Electrostatic experiments as magic tricks with an explanation later would be perfect turning something that was unexpected in the play date into a learning opportunity for next time.