Figuring out how to balance objects is something that fascinates children. Whether it is trying to balancing the same type of objects on either side of a balance or trying to find two objects that have the same weight or a number of objects that will equal a heavier object. It is just plain fun.
Make a Balance
My son and I create a simple balance using a two plastic applesauce cups attached to three strands of yarn each and hung from an child's plastic hanger. The balance was then hung from the knob of a low cabinet in our kitchen.
We started by trying to balance dried beans on either side of the balance. My son found that just dumping them in didn't work. He had to count the beans or measure them with a scoop.. It was fun to watch him figure that out.
We also learned that the knot at the top of the three strands of yarn had to be positioned in such a way as to keep the plastic cups horizontal. If you accidentally knock cups or move the yarn the cups will tip over and their contents will hit the floor.
This simple balance is still hanging in our kitchen waiting for more weighing and measuring of objects. My son seems to come up with new things to balance all the time in the kitchen.
The next step will be to take the balance outside and see what he finds to place in the balance there.
Who knew a simple balance would lead to such high level thinking and problem solving! I love getting to watch my son weight out ways to balance the scale.
For more science adventures, take a look at these fun projects from some of the other Quirky Mommas: