Have fun whilst staying at home with our Yorkshire Attractions activity ideas!

This week it’s Light and Dark Week!

Inspired by the changeable weather we’ve been having here in Yorkshire, have fun whether it’s sunny or rainy, and explore the light and dark with our science experiments and arty activities. Perfect for home-schooling, or just for fun if you’re back in the classroom.

1. Magic light bulb balloon

You will need: an energy saving florescent lightbulb, a balloon, a dark room

  1. Blow up the balloon and tie it.
  2. Go into a dark room with the balloon and lightbulb. Wait a minute for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.
  3. Rub the top of the balloon back and forth on your hair several times to make some static electricity.
  4. Point the light bulb towards the top of the balloon, holding the bulb close to the place where you rubbed the balloon.
  5. Move the balloon back and forth quickly over the light bulb. Don’t touch the balloon to the bulb or it will pop!
  6. Watch the magic happen as a dim light appears from the bulb!

How it works: Your hair contains electrical charges. When you rubbed the balloon in your hair, it picked up some of those electrical charges (static electricity). The light bulb you used also has electrical charges in it, and some of them were attracted to the balloon. When you moved the balloon, it moved the electrical charges inside the bulb, which bumped into the chemicals in the bulb and were converted to light.

2. Shadow drawing

You will need: toys, paper, pens, the sun or a lamp

  1. Go outside when it is sunny (make sure you are wearing sun cream and sunglasses) or sit on the floor with a lamp in front of you.
  2. Place some paper on the floor (if you are inside the paper should be between you and the lamp).
  3. Place some toys on the paper.
  4. Using the pens, trace the outline of the shadows on the paper.

Have some fun and make some abstract shapes by rotating or moving the toys.

3. Light refraction experiment

You will need: paper, marker, a glass of water

  1. Get a sheet of paper and draw two arrows on it – one on the top and one near the bottom. Make sure they point in the same direction.
  2. Fill a glass with water.
  3. Slowly lower the piece of paper behind the glass of water so you can see the bottom arrow through it.
  4. Look through the glass and watch what happens – the arrow will have changed direction!

How it works: The arrow looks like it has changed direction because of something called refraction. Refraction happens when light passes through one transparent (clear) thing into another, in this case, from air through the glass and water. This is sometimes called the bending of light. So, the light bends when it enters the water and then bends again when it leaves the water, which is why the arrow ends up looking flipped!

4. Make mini lanterns

You will need: toilet roll tubes, paint, scissors, decorations like stickers or sequins, ribbon or string, stapler

  1. Paint your toilet paper tube – you can paint just the outside or the inside too.
  2. Leaving 1cm at either end, cut lines down the middle of your tube approximately 0.5-1cm apart. Small scissors like nail scissors work best for this – this is fiddly so ask a grownup to help.
  3. Once all the lines have been cut, hold your tube at either end, and squish it to make it the right shape – making sure it bends in the middle.
  4. At the top of your tube, staple a length of ribbon or string to either side to hang it.

Add additional decorations to your lantern like stickers or sequins if you want!

5. Shadow puppet theatre

You will need: empty cereal box, wax or greaseproof paper, straws or wooden sticks, black card or paper, tape, scissors, glue, lamp

  1. Open the cereal box so that it’s one big piece. Don’t tear or cut anything as you will be putting the box back together.
  2. From the front panel, cut a rectangular hole, leaving about 3/4″ border. Repeat this process on the back panel as well. Get an adult to help with this as it can be fiddly.
  3. Trim your greaseproof paper to fit over one of the holes, and tape it in place.
  4. Crease all of the creases back on themselves and reassemble the box ‘inside out’, taping it all back together.
  5. Cut out your puppets from the black construction paper. You can also use plain paper painted black if you don’t have any black paper. You can cut out puppets inspired by your favourite stories, or cut out a random selection of animals and people to create your own story.
  6. Tape your straws or wooden sticks to the back of your puppets.
  7. Now that you are ready to put on the show, all you need is a desk lamp. Set up your box theatre on a table or chair and position your lamp behind the box. The puppeteer should be able to position the puppets behind the theatre so that the light shines through!

Get creative, have fun and most importantly stay safe!

Don’t forget to stay tuned for more exciting activities next week.