Ideas For Learning About Forces and Motion

Ideas For Learning About Forces and Motion

Forces are all around us and affect everything we do, with that in mind we’ve put together a collection of ideas for learning about forces and motion with a fun forces experiment for everyone from preschoolers to grown ups. We’ve got friction experiments, gravity experiments, air resistance experiments and lots more!

If you’re looking for a book full of forces experiments, This IS Rocket Science might be just what you’re looking for! It contains SEVENTY experiments all about the forces involved in space travel!

Rocket Science Book

Let’s start with some basics.

Forces and Motion – What is a force?

A force is a push or a pull. Forces can make object moves or stop, speed them up or slow them down. If you push a toy car it moves, if you push it harder it moves faster. Forces can also make objects change direction or shape.

A lighter object needs less force to move than a heavier object. For example you could push a n empty box easily, but a filled box would be harder, it would need more force to move.

If you give a toy car a push what happens? It speeds up and then slows down. The reason it slows down is because of two forces, air resistance and friction.

Air resistance is air pushing on a moving object which slows it down.

Friction is the force between two objects when you rub them together. Try rubbing your hands together? Do they get hot? You feel the friction between your hands as heat.

Air resistance and friction take time to slow an object down, if you want an object to stop quickly you need to apply further force, for example a brake on a bike.

Other examples of forces are magnetism, gravity and air pressure.

Over the years we’ve completed lots of forces experiments on Science Sparks, here are the best ones.

Learn about simple push and pull forces in this easy activity.

Friction Experiments for Kids

What is Friction?

Friction tries to stop objects sliding past each other. Friction allows things to start and stop moving and slows them down.

Imagine sliding two strips of ribbon over each other and then think how hard it would be with two velcro strips. There is more friction between the velcro strips than the ribbon. The amount of friction between two objects depends on what the objects are made from. The rougher the surface the more friction is produced, this is why rockets are streamlined!

Friction Experiments

Find out why you slip and slide more on smooth surfaces than rougher surfaces with this slipping and sliding activity. Do be careful not to fall over though.

Friction investigation - forces and motion experiments

A toy zip line is the garden is a great way to learn about friction and fun science project too!

Discover why we salt/grit icy roads in winter.

Investigate which material would make the best ice hockey puck. We want to reduce friction for a good puck as it needs to move quickly and cleanly across the ice.

ice hockey friction experiments - forces and motion

Learn about reducing friction with this easy Hovercraft

Hovercraft science experiments - friction experiment for kids

Gravity Experiments for kids

A film canister rocket is a great demonstration of lots of different forces, but it falls back to the ground thanks to gravity.

Water powered bottle rockets are another fantastic example of gravity and lots of other forces too!

Discover a cool science trick to defy gravity using magnets.

Gravity Experiments for Kids - Forces and Motion

Design and build straw rockets and launch at different angles to investigate how the flight trajectory changes.

For younger children, try this fun gravity activity from Inspiration Laboratories.

Making vehicles move – science experiments

We used carbon dioxide released from a baking soda and vinegar reaction to power a bottle boat.

Store up energy in an elastic band to make a cotton reel car move.

Slightly more simple and much more powerful is our balloon powered car.

Balloon powered car - forces for kids

Red Ted Art made a fun elastic powered tugboat which moves using the energy stored when you wind up an elastic band.

Magnet Experiments for Kids

Make an easy magnet maze with cardboard or even a LEGO maze.

Build some easy magnet powered cars or a magnet powered boat.

Magnet powered boats - science for kids

How about a magnet sensory bottle?

Collection of easy magnet activities for kids

Air Resistance Experiments for Kids

Explore gravity and air resistance with these simple paper spinners.

Easy Paper Spinners - science for kids

Make a parachute, can you save an egg?

parachute for JAck and the beanstalk

Air Pressure Experiments

Watch a boiled egg drop into a bottle with a bit of science magic.

Make a bottle rocket, remember you need lots of space for this one.

Bottle rocket

Watch water rise with this cool air pressure experiment.

Pop the lid off a bottle with these coin poppers.

Make these shooters and explore trajectory and aerodynamics.

How about a film canister rocket?

film canister rocket - easy forces experiment

More ideas for learning about forces and motion

Try this easy inertia experiment where an object drops straight down into a glass!

inertia experiment with a lemon, cardboard and a glass

Learn about kinetic energy with a homemade slingshot or lollystick catapult.

Easy cardboard slingshot

Drop water balloons filled with paint and compare splatter patterns from different heights.

Splatter patterns for learning about forces - fun forces experiment

Explore energy and ‘bouncy-ness’ with some balls and different surfaces.

Try this milk jug rocket craft and experiment from Red Ted Art.

Find out how you can stand on a paper cup without it breaking.

stand on paper cups without breaking them

Why do you get dizzy on a roundabout? It’s all about the forces.

You could investigate the force needed to break an eggshell.

egg shell bridge - how strong is an egg?

Finally, do you know why a balloon makes a funny noise when you let it go?

We’ll be adding to this list all the time so do keep popping back for more great ideas for forces and motion experiments for kids.

30 brilliant ideas for learning about forces. Fun collection of forces and motion experiments and investigations. Find gravity experiments, air pressure experiments, inertia experiments and magnet experiments #forceexperiments #scienceforkids #forcesandmotion

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