Use their five senses to make observations.
Understand how air moves objects around.
Understand some behaviours of the air around us.
Understand how objects take flight.
Here is how a selection of these activities could become a week-long unit of study in a kindergarten classroom.
- Day 1:
- Whole group lesson: Discuss moving air, or wind. Provide each student with a piece of paper. How can we make air move with just the piece of paper? Then give each student an accordion-folded paper fan. What do you feel when you move the paper fan? Can you make the air move faster? Can you make your hair move? Discuss other ways that we can make air move.
- Whole group activity: Blown Away! Moving Air
- Day 2:
- Whole group lesson: Discuss balloons. What fills them up? Why do you think they float? Our Balloon Boarding demonstration is a fun display of the surprising strength of balloons.
- Whole group activity: Balloon Rockets (You may wish to explore NASA Kids’ Club’s interactive Rocket Builder activity as a fun introduction to rockets).
*Although our Balloon Rockets activity is designed for older students, it can be enjoyed by kindergarteners as well. It can be kept as a demonstration, or each student can launch their own “rocket” in pairs or groups, with an adult helper, if possible. The trickiest part will be blowing up the balloons and holding them shut while transferring them to the straw and string. Decide what’s best for your group of students. With a larger class, it may be more feasible to demonstrate the Balloon Rocket (perhaps a few times, or have two “race” each other) and then explore the Rocket Builder activity in separate stations or all together.
- Day 3
- Whole group lesson: Parachute demonstration. Make a mini-parachute (Parachute Design and Drop) or purchase one (available at most dollar stores as well as Kaleidoscope, our science store). You may choose to also demonstrate dropping the weight you use, but without a parachute. Compare the results: why did one drop faster and the other one slower? Discuss with your students how they think the parachute works.
- Whole group activity: Make Your Own Parachute
- Day 4
- Whole group lesson: Discuss airplanes. Look at a non-fiction book about airplanes and their different parts (Dorling Kindersley provides four good options; see Other Resources). It would also be a good idea to see if there is someone in your community who can visit to talk about airplanes, or, if feasible, take a field trip to the airport.
- Station ideas: Hoopsters, Paper Helicopters
- Day 5:
- Whole group lesson: Discuss how things move through the air. You may wish to repeat the Blown Away! Moving Air activity from Day 1 as a re-cap.
- Station ideas: Flipping Figures, Windsock
(although the key questions and extensions in the windsock activity are designed for older students, the activity itself can be done with kindergarteners)
- Teacher-conducted assessment
Definitions for kindergarteners:
air – The invisible stuff in the sky and all around us that we breathe.
wind – Fast-moving air. We can feel wind and see how it moves things around us.
force – Any action that makes things move, i.e. throwing, pushing, kicking, blowing, etc.
gas – A special type of air; the air is a mixture of different gases. Helium is a gas that makes balloons rise (and makes your voice sound funny!).
tornado – A “tower” of wind that spins around very fast in a circle. A tornado is a type of storm that usually comes from a hurricane.
hurricane – A large windstorm that usually lasts longer than the tornadoes it can form.
gravity – The force of Earth pulling us and other things to the ground. It’s what keeps us on the ground and what makes things drop.
water vapour – Water that has turned into air.
weather vane – A tool people use to tell which way the wind is blowing.
Parenting Science | Preschool Science Activities | How to nurture your child’s interest in the natural world, Gwen Dewar, Ph.D.
How Stuff Works | Aviation Activities for Kids | String Rocket Races
Science Bob | Experiments | Make a Balloon Rocket
BC Kites | Contact Us
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | How Things Fly | Forces of Flight
First School: Preschool Activities & Crafts | Aviation | Letter ‘A’ Airplane Online Jigsaw Puzzle
How Stuff Works | Aviation Activities for Kids | Stable Airplane Mobile
How Stuff Works | Aviation Activities for Kids | Up, Up, and Away Rally
Science Kids NZ | Space Videos | Space Shuttle Launch
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I Face the Wind, Vicki Cobb
Air: Outside, Inside, and All Around, Darlene R. Stille
Let’s Try it Out: In the Air, Seymour Simon & Nicole Fauteux
Bear Facts #5: Air, David Bennett
Bookworms, Earth Matters: Air, Dana Meachen Rau
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The Wind Blew, Pat Hutchins
Feel the Wind, Arthur Dorros
Gilberto and the Wind, Marie Ets
Mirandy and Brother Wind, Patricia McKissack
The Emperor and the Kite, Jane Yolen
Angela’s Airplane, Robert Munsch
Air and Space, Corkey Hay DeSimone
How Does it Fly? Hot Air Balloon, Nancy Robinson Masters
Air and Flight (It’s Science!), Sally Hewitt
If You Decide to Go to the Moon, Faith McNulty
Amelia Earhart, Jane Sutcliffe
Curious George Flies a Kite, Margret & H.A. Rey
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Kite Riders! (Team Umizoomi), Jason Fruchter
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Dinosoaring, Deb Lund
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First Look at Aircraft, Laura Gates Galvin
Violet the Pilot, Steve Breen
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Choppers!, Susan E. Goodman
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