Light up learning with glow stick fun!
COVID-19 has turned many parents into impromptu educators and full-time caregivers thanks to closed schools and shuttered youth programs. Now, many adults have to make the time to teach, entertain, and amaze their kids every day—on top of dealing with work, worrying about bills, and running a house. What’s even more daunting, all of this is done without the support of the proverbial village.
To all the parents doing their absolute best to keep all those balls in the air, we see you. And we’ve got your backs. Glow sticks and other glow products are wonderful tools for education, fun, and educational fun! From adding a glowing twist on classic schoolwork to glow-stick-specific science experiments, we have ideas that will provide hours of light-up entertainment for kids otherwise stuck at home.
A Twist on a Classic
Glow sticks are one of many ways to incorporate a bit of magic and fun into some of the classic school subjects.
Glow Stick Spelling
It’s time to hit the lights and get to writing! Glow sticks, especially the longer glow bracelets and glow necklaces, make for great spelling tools. Younger kids can practice setting up letters and spelling out words and older kids can use the bracelet/necklace connectors to try their hand at “cursive writing.” Get creative and leave glowing notes around the house or consider leaving a glowing message of hope and happiness on the lawn for the neighbors to see!
Glow Stick Math
Help your little ones visualize math concepts with glow sticks. Whether you’re teaching core math concepts like addition & subtraction and multiplication & division or trying to visualize shapes for a geometry class, glow sticks are an easy way to make learning a little bit more fun. When in doubt, you can always “spell out” more complicated math problems for older kids.
Any child will tell you that recess is an important part of any school day, and indoor recess with glow sticks is a nice way for them to have some fun and burn off some energy.
Glow Stick Hopscotch
Instead of using chalk on the pavement, let your children create an indoor hopscotch game out of glow sticks! Let your kids’ imagination run wild as they set up as many grids as they want—or let them change the grids however many times they please! If your little ones are looking for an extra challenge, see if they can design in a color pattern to use while playing. Not only will kids have fun making hopscotch, but they’ll have fun playing it, too.
Glow Bottle Bowling
Setting up at-home glow bowling is sure to be a strike with the kids! Create as many pins as you’d like (we recommend 6 for younger kids, a normal 10 for older children) by dropping a cracked glow stick into bottles of water. Then, just secure a ball and voila – your hallway is a bowling alley. If you’ve still got glow sticks to spare, considering poking them through or wrapping them around a wiffle ball to create your own glowing bowling ball.
Arts and crafts are important, enriching experiences for kids – add a bit of light to your craft time.
This cool craft uses a glow stick and some pretty common materials to let kids make their very own firefly. Use an old soda bottle for the body, scrap paper for wings, and pipe cleaners or other crafty items (popsicle sticks, pom-poms, etc.) for other body parts. Check out this tutorial posted by AllFreeKidsCrafts on YouTube for inspiration for your very own firefly project.
Glowing Creepy Crawlies
Maybe the fireflies need some friends! A few styrofoam balls in various sizes make it easy to make glowing spiders and other buggy friends. Use toothpicks to hold major body parts together and add glowing legs and wings. Create spiders, caterpillars, butterflies – or create an entirely new insect friend. Check out Jill Krause’s blog to see how her crawly creations turned out!
Glowing Science Experiments
Light up your child’s learning with awesome glow-stick-based science experiments.
Glow Stick Chemical Reaction Lab
Use glow sticks as a simple science demonstration that can teach your kids how chemical reactions work. HowStuffWorks has comprehensive information (with videos!) explaining the chemiluminescence process that happens when glow sticks are activated. Crack yours with the kids and teach them the science concepts behind the glow.
Glow Stick Potential Energy Lab
Show your kids how stored chemical energy can be converted to light energy by playing with glow sticks! For this lab you’ll need a couple of glow sticks, access to both hot and cold water, and maybe some tongs. Get a walkthrough of the activity and an explanation of the outcomes at Scholastic Parents.
Looking for even more great glow stick activities?
Check out these Cool Science Experiments for Kids and get Homeschool-Activities’ free printable sheet with even more glow stick experiments and projects.