Exploring Friction: Hands-on Friction Activities for Kids

Science is one of those things best-taught hands-on so children can really get a grasp for what they are learning. Two great concepts to teach your child hands-on are Exploring force and friction.

Putting these together to create a day of fun and learning is a great way to keep the kids busy. This simple Science Experiment Exploring Friction is fun and creates are when you are done.

painting with friction, art for kids, science for kids, exploring friction

This simple Science Experiment Exploring Friction

This one was pretty easy and a great way for the older kids to get a “feel” for friction. As the ball slides you can feel it slip when covered in paint.  All you need is:

This friction experiment doubles as fun kids art.

We decided to go with the primary colors so the kids could watch them mix and blend as the balls rolled back and forth. I taped the paper down to the tray on the underside to keep everything where I wanted it as the tray flopped every which way. That was a good choice on my part.

At one point the kids got a little carried away and bouncy balls went everywhere leaving children and the yard painted.  The giggles involved were worth the mess and as you all know Baby Bear did not mind one bit. She had already covered herself in marker.

This Exploring Friction art project was so much fun and the end result was pretty cool.

Exploring friction with kids.

Teaching kids about friction can be a lot of fun when you incorporate hands-on activities and experiments. Here are some engaging ideas to help kids understand the concept of friction:

Sliding and Rolling Races: Have kids race different objects down a ramp or slide to show how different materials and shapes are affected by friction. Use a variety of items such as a toy car, a ball, and a block. Ask them to predict which will reach the bottom first and why. After the race, discuss the role of friction in the results.

Rug vs. Tile Experiment: Have your child push a toy car or slide a book on different surfaces (like a rug and a tile floor). Ask them why it’s easier to move on one surface than the other. This can help them understand that smoother surfaces produce less friction.

Shoe Experiment: Have your kids try walking or running with different types of shoes (sneakers, flip flops, socks, or barefoot) on various surfaces (grass, pavement, carpet, etc.). Discuss how different materials and surfaces create more or less friction.

Sandbox Friction: If you have access to a sandbox, bury a few objects and have your child try to pull them out. Discuss how the sand creates friction, making it harder to pull the items out.

Ice Skating: If possible, go ice skating. Ice creates less friction than many surfaces, which is why it’s slippery. It’s a great way to demonstrate how reduced friction affects movement.

Craft Stick Friction: Take two craft sticks and try to slide them against each other. Then, wet the sticks and try again. Discuss why it’s harder to slide the wet sticks, as the water increases the friction between them.

Balloon Experiment: Rub a balloon on different materials (like a wool sweater or your hair). The friction creates static electricity, causing the balloon to stick to these surfaces.

Brake Pad Experiment: Use two pieces of sandpaper to simulate car brake pads. Have your child press and slide the pieces together, feeling the heat generated from the friction.

Remember, when teaching kids about scientific concepts like friction, it’s important to let them explore, observe, and make predictions. This helps them develop critical thinking skills and a better understanding of the science behind everyday phenomena.

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This fun exploration of friction is perfect for kids of all ages.

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  • Sarah says:

    This looks like a fun way to teach friction! Thanks

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says:

    This is such a great idea. Children always learn best when it’s fun, involving, and visual. I love it!

  • Jeanette says:

    That would be fun! It looks like some fancy modern Art too. My son and I would love to do that stuff.

  • Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    Yes, yes, yes! This is awesome. My boys LOVE to do STEM projects like this!!!

  • Kathy says:

    That looks like a lot of fun. I would love to do this with my girls. I know that they would just love it.

  • Reesa Lewandowski says:

    This looks like so much fun. My kids would love to do a project like this to explore what friction is all about.

  • gingermommyrants says:

    This is a great way to explore friction. I will have to do this experiment with my kids this weekend.

  • Melissa says:

    What a great way to make science accessible and dare I say it FUN for kids! Great activity for a rainy day or a homeschool family!

  • Jocelyn Cañasa Brown says:

    This is a really great idea. Fun and educational for the kids. I need to do this with mine.

  • Amy Desrosiers says:

    That marble art is really cool! I want to try that with my three kids.

  • Jennifer says:

    This is such a great way to teach children. With a lot of kids being visual learners – this is defiantly a great way to help them learn.

  • Crystal says:

    So fun! I love that learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings. Kids love to learn through hands-on experimentation and exploration.

  • Aimee Smith says:

    This is so cool. My kids love doing science projects like this.

  • Mandie Stevens says:

    How much fun! We are homeschoolers and are going to try this. I’m always looking for fun ways to teach.

  • Claudia Krusch says:

    This is a great way to explore friction. I will have to do this experiment with my nieces!

  • Liz Mays says:

    The experiment resulted in a pretty piece of art too! I really like this kind of learning.

  • kristin says:

    This is so fun, my kiddos would totally love this!

  • Janis @MommyBlogExpert says:

    I love learning about fun kids activities that combine the arts with science. Your kids study of friction is just brilliant.

  • Gabriel says:

    This is a cool way to get kids interested in the practical applications of science. Awesome.

  • Myrah Duque says:

    Wow that is a nice piece of art!My nephews would have a ball with this and I would too watching them and chilling!