Your child will love learning with these 3 easy light experiments for kids from Alisha!
Science experiments are always a big hit in my house and this light experiment for kids will brighten everyone’s day – literally!
3 Super Simple Light Experiments for Kids
What three things can light do? This is the guiding question for this simple and fun light experiment for kids.
To set up your own simple light science experiment at your house, you’ll need:
- Magnifying glass
- Paper plate or anything opaque
- Piece of paper
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Talking About Science Basics with Kids
Science activities are always a great time to practice using fun science terms. This simple light science experiment introduces three new ones:
- penetrate: or when light will pass through an object to be visible on the other side
- reflect: or when the light bounces back at you, like with a mirror or something shiny
- stop: or when the light is blocked, not reflecting or penetrating
- variable: what changes in different steps on the experiment
It can help you write down these words and their meanings on a piece of paper or flashcards. You could use actual words or draw a picture.
For older kids, you could also dive a little bit deeper. I love this quick explanation about the properties of light from Ducksters.
Before Your Light Experiments for Kids
This simple science experiment includes an opportunity for making predictions and recording observations.
Predicting in just making a guess based on what you already know. You could get started by asking your kids: “What do you know about light?”
Write down your children’s predictions and make a quick chart. One column is for the prediction and the other is for the observation, plus some rows for the variables.
Label the rows with the names of your three objects, or variables (what’s changing each time).
At the top of one column write: “What will the light do?”. Above the other column, write: “What does the light do?”.
As you experiment, you’ll also jot down what happens, or what you observe. Observe and observation is science is just a fancy way to explain telling what you saw happening during the experiment.
Ask these helpful questions as you predict, experiment, and reflect on what happened:
- Will the light penetrate the paper plate or will it stop?
- Will the light reflect off of the magnifying glass or penetrate?
- Will the mirror stop the light?
Take time to look at each object, discuss the three terms associated with light (penetrate, reflect, stop). Make predictions, or guesses, about what the light will do with each object.
Write your predictions in the first column of the chart.
As You Experiment with Light Together
Once your predictions are made and the properties of light have been discussed, it’s time to do the experiment.
Choose the first object and have your kids shine the flashlight at the object.
Watch how the light reacts with the object. Does it shine through, shine back at you, or stop completely?
Record on your observation chart what the light did with that object. Check to see if your predictions were correct.
Keep going with the rest of the objects, making sure to observe and record your findings.
Our Easy Light Experiments for Kids
We chose the mirror first. My son held the mirror and my daughter shined the flashlight.
I encouraged them to explain what they noticed about the light. Both recognized that the light was shining back at us, or reflecting.
We talked for a minute about using “refect” to describe what the light was doing.
Keep shining with a simple indoor reflection activity!
My daughter wrote “reflect” in our observation column on our chart. I helped her with the spelling, but only a little.
Our second variable was the paper plate. This time my kids switched roles with my daughter holding the plate and my son shining the flashlight at the object.
They quickly noticed that the light didn’t go anywhere except for on the plate.
We discussed together how this showed that the light stopped because the plate blocks or stops the light. I also added in the word “opaque,” which means that light does not pass through.
My son recorded “stop” for the plate.
Originally, the kids had thought that the plate might reflect the light. Our prediction was incorrect and we talked about that for a minute or so.
Learn more about opaque objects with a fun shadow play activity!
Our final object was the magnifying glass. It was my turn to shine the light as both my kids held the object.
This time the light went through the magnifying glass, shining onto the floor below. I shared the term “transparent,” meaning that light passes completely through, as we talked about this part of the experiment.
I recorded our findings on the chart. We reviewed each object and outcome together while comparing our observations to our predictions.
Keep Playing with Light!
Even though we had finished the “formal” experiment, my kids kept the learning going! They ran through the house, shining the flashlight on all sorts of objects and saying whether the light reflected, stopped, or penetrated.
I love how much ownership they took of their learning!
We love playing with a fun flashlight scavenger hunt for kids!
This fun extension activity went on for quite a while. And it’s something that I know I can keep returning to again and again, adding more challenging terminology as they grow.