Summer Science Fun

Summer Science Fun

Welcome to the dog days of summer! It's great that the kids are home from school, but wouldn't it be even better if you could find a way to keep them learning, having fun, and out of trouble all at the same time?

Science NetLinks is here to help. We suggest books to capture the attention of readers of every age. We offer computer games and activities to fill rainy afternoons or days when going outside just isn't an option. And we propose hands-on activities that kids will find fun and that will teach them about the science that surrounds them in the everyday world.

Filter Resources by Grade:


  • Science Reading Suggestions

    Science Reading Suggestions

    K-12  |  Teaching Aid
    This annually updated list contains the short-list finalists for the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books.
  • Lunar Cycle 1: Calendar

    Lunar Cycle 1: Calendar

    K-5  |  Interactive
    This tool includes printable calendars where you can record your observations of the moon. In addition, it provides illustrations of the phases of the moon (a full lunar cycle) that can be printed and cut out for a hands-on activity where you can place the phases of the moon in the correct order on a calendar.
  • Lunar Cycle 2: The Challenge

    Lunar Cycle 2: The Challenge

    K-5  |  Interactive
    This activity allows you to "drag" pictures of different phases of the moon to their correct places in lunar cycles.
  • Nowhere to Hide

    Nowhere to Hide

    K-12  |  Interactive
    This interactive is based on the classic story of evolution by natural selection—the story of the peppered moths in England during the Industrial Revolution.
  • All Systems Are Go!

    All Systems Are Go!

    3-8  |  Interactive
    In this online activity, a fictional character named Arnold is missing a number of body parts. It's your job to complete each body system so Arnold can function.
  • Marble Mania

    Marble Mania

    3-5  |  Interactive
    This is an interactive activity in which the randomness and probability of marbles being pulled out of a "bag" are calculated automatically and for trials up to 500.
  • Zap!


    3-8  |  Interactive
    Test your reaction time with this interactive game! Take control of a hungry frog and catch a fly as soon as you see or hear it.
  • Break It Down

    Break It Down

    3-8  |  Interactive
    This resource is an interactive in which you need to manipulate a system made up of ramps, switches, and gears to roll marbles through the system to eventually hit a lever on a flagpole.
  • A Touch of Class

    A Touch of Class

    3-8  |  Interactive
    This is an interactive activity in which students classify various plants and animals, including organisms such as a frog, jellyfish, venus flytrap, bat, human, and seaweed.
  • Power Up!

    Power Up!

    3-8  |  Interactive
    This interactive challenges students to think about the positive and negative consequences of various types of power.
  • Animated guide: Hurricanes

    Animated guide: Hurricanes

    3-8  |  Website
    Animated guides: Hurricanes is one of three animated guides to the world’s most devastating phenomena found on the BBC website.
  • Antibiotic Attack

    Antibiotic Attack

    3-8  |  Interactive
    This interactive activity helps students look at the pros and cons of using antibiotics to treat illness.
  • Gravity Launch

    Gravity Launch

    3-12  |  Interactive
    Gravity Launch is an interactive activity that allows you to virtually launch a rocket into space to see how the force of gravity can pull an object toward the earth and moon.
  • Gravity Launch App

    Gravity Launch App

    3-12  |  Interactive
    Gravity Launch is an app where you try to get a rocket to its destination to learn about gravity.
  • GeoHunter


    6-8  |  Interactive
    This interactive provides you with data about the geological structure of the planet Mercury.
  • Make a Mission

    Make a Mission

    6-12  |  Interactive
    In this interactive, you should build a spacecraft in order to explore the planet Mercury—just as the NASA team did when they planned and built the real MESSENGER spacecraft!
  • SCI: Skin Cancer Investigation

    SCI: Skin Cancer Investigation

    6-12  |  Interactive
    This interactive gives students the opportunity to learn about skin cancer diagnosis and prevention.
  • Planet Size Comparison

    Planet Size Comparison

    6-12  |  Interactive
    In this animation, you can find out the dimensions for each planet as well as how they compare in size.
  • You and Your Skin

    You and Your Skin

    6-12  |  Interactive
    This interactive provides an introduction to the basic structure of the skin, information about how it protects us, and how to care for the skin.
  • From Cell to DNA

    From Cell to DNA

    9-12  |  Interactive
    This animation takes you through a tour of a typical human cell, moving from larger to smaller cell structures (i.e., from nucleus to chromosomes to DNA strands and their bases).
  • The Macaque Genome: An Interactive Poster

    The Macaque Genome: An Interactive Poster

    9-12  |  Interactive
    This resource was designed as an accompaniment to a special section of Science, in which five research papers detailed sequencing of the macaque genome.
  • Oil Refining: A Closer Look

    Oil Refining: A Closer Look

    9-12  |  Video
    This resource contains a video and an interactive explaining how petroleum was formed and how it is processed.


  • Science Apps

    Science Apps

    K-12  |  Interactive
    Science NetLinks reviews STEM-related apps for both the iPad and the Android.

Afterschool Resources

  • Geyser Riser

    Geyser Riser

    3-7  |  Hands-On
    In this experiment, your group will create pressure in a bottle to reenact one of the special conditions under which a geyser erupts. A geyser is a hot spring that shoots a column of hot water into the air. Your group will make a model geyser using liquid soap, a bottle, and Alka-Seltzer® tablets.
  • Cool Idea

    Cool Idea

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    Water and salt can make for some great basic chemistry activities. Your group will see what happens to water and ice when a little salt gets thrown into the mix. Note: part of this activity shows results one day later. As an alternative, you can have the kids prepare the cups of water ahead of time, perhaps at the end of the day before you do this activity (see steps 3 and 4 below).
  • Balancing Points

    Balancing Points

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    Balance is a fun concept to play with. By constructing models, your group will learn that putting heavier objects closer to the center and lighter objects farther from the center is one way to find a balance.
  • By the Light of the Moon

    By the Light of the Moon

    3-6  |  Hands-On
    As the moon goes through its phases, it looks a little different each night, ranging from not there at all to full. Your group will act out how the sun illuminates the moon as it orbits Earth, to understand how the moon moves through its phases.
  • Dances with Bees

    Dances with Bees

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    Honeybees communicate with sophisticated “dances” to tell other bees where to find nectar and pollen. Your group will reenact a couple of these dances to learn about bees and how they communicate with each other.
  • Fun with Forces

    Fun with Forces

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    Almost any place can become a “lab” for exploring forces. Your group is going to experiment with the force they feel when pressed against the side of a car that is going around a curve really fast. They’ll explore a similar situation, an object that stays in a mini-bucket as it is swung overhead.
  • Metal Minds

    Metal Minds

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    Robots are popular with kids starting at a young age. Your group will explore the basics of how a robot follows commands to carry out a simple task.
  • Sensational Sound

    Sensational Sound

    K-5  |  Hands-On
    Sound travels—not just through air, but through liquids and solids, too. Your group will listen to a hanger clanged against a table. Then they’ll put their ear to something attached to the hanger to realize that the clanging sound travels through solids, too.
  • Size Wise

    Size Wise

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    Kids start learning about their own bodies almost right away in school. This activity provides a fun way to measure and consider different body proportions by having the kids record the distances between different parts of their bodies.
  • Falling for Gravity

    Falling for Gravity

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    Your group will watch various objects (pens, pennies, erasers, etc.) fall from the same height to see if they reach the ground at the same time. They also will roll marbles down an inclined plane to see if they reach the bottom at the same time.

AAAS Resources

Science NetLinks Hands-on Resources
These five resources from Science NetLinks offer kids the opportunity to learn fun science concepts by conducting their very own science experiments. The activities don't require a previous understanding of scientific theories by the supervising adult, can be done with materials found around the house, and are adaptable into however much time is available for them and for a large or small number of children.

Color Burst
What are the color components of various colors of ink? In what order do colors separate? How might a mixture of dyes be separated?

pdfActivity (for the parent or leader)
pdfChild Explorer Activity Sheet

Floating Eggs
Do the properties of water change when a substance is dissolved in it? In particular, since some objects float on water and others sink, how will floating and sinking behaviors be changed, if at all, by dissolved substances in the water?

pdfActivity (for the parent or leader)
pdfChild Explorer Activity Sheet

How Strong Is Your Magnet?
Does magnetic attraction depend upon how far the object is from the magnet? Does magnetic attraction work through paper? through aluminum foil? through a tin can lid? How does a magnet work? How does a refrigerator magnet work?

pdfActivity (for the parent or leader)
pdfChild Explorer Activity Sheet

Making Bubbles
What are some of the physical properties of soap bubbles?

pdfActivity (for the parent or leader)
pdfChild Explorer Activity Sheet

Static Electricity
What happens on a dry day when you scuff across a rug and then reach out to touch a metal doorknob (or other metal object)? What happens when you place an inflated balloon against a wall? What happens if you rub the balloon briskly with a piece of carpeting or wool before you place it against a wall? Are these various observances related? What else can you do to explore these phenomena?

pdfActivity (for the parent or leader)
pdfChild Explorer Activity Sheet

Kinetic City: Mission to Vearth
Ages: 8-11
Kinetic City: Mission to Vearth is a web-based science program for children in grades three through five. Produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and funded by the National Science Foundation, the program turns standards-based science content into a game that kids can play either in class or after school.

Science Update Podcasts
Ages: 11-18
Science Update shows are now available as weekly podcasts. The Science Update Podcast is located on the Science Update website, a daily, 60-second radio feature covering the latest discoveries in science, technology, and medicine.

Keeping Summer Fun (and Educational)
Ages: 5-18
Summer is an important time for kids in terms of decompressing from their academic year, but it's equally important for them not to lose the skills they gained during that time. Learn more in this 2016 blog post.

Other Resources

Exploratorium Activities
Ages: 5-11
The San Francisco-based children's museum offers a variety of hands-on activities. Also be sure to check out their science "snacks."

Becoming Human
Ages: 14-18
Teenagers will experience an interactive documentary that tells the story of our origins and is divided into five sections: Prologue, Evidence, Anatomy, Lineages, and Culture.