Long live summer science!

It is about that time in the summer when everyone starts complaining about the extreme heat, and parents are running out of ideas to entertain their kids. Here is a little reminder that summer is the best time of the year! Longer days give us extra time in the day to accomplish projects and enjoy the outdoors. If you are feeling a little stagnant in your summer plans, here are five ways to reignite you or your children’s summer science creativity.

1. No money to send your kids to camp this year? No problem. This summer, enroll in FREE online summer camps! Google Camp (camp.withgoogle.com) is a free month-long science camp aimed at encouraging kids to learn through fun, interactive science activities and adventures. Google Camp is led by experts in collaboration with National Park Service, NASA and Khan Academy. Log on to explore space, find out why music makes you move, dive deep under the sea and more. Makers Camp (makercamp.com) is another free online camp, in which you make creative projects, go on virtual field trips and meet some makers from around the world.

Here is a short video of some bottle rocket fun we did at camp last week. Three ingredients and the kids loved it!

If you can’t see the video above, click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk_-1PxjoEc&feature=youtu.be 

2. Jupiter and Venus have been in the news lately for good reason. They are incredibly easy to find in the west sky just after sunset. But, did you know you can also easily spot Saturn in the night sky, and NASA released a spacecraft in 2006 that this past week flew past Pluto capturing never before seen pictures of the small planet? There is so much going on in the night sky, and the warm weather is perfect for staying out late. The Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas has great links to free star maps on their website (texasastro.org/star_charts.php), or download one of the many star map apps for your phone. If you need someone to show you the way or want to escape some of the city lights, join a night hike at Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area to get a guided tour of the stars.

3. Join a citizen science project. Scientists need the general public’s help, so get involved. No matter what your interests are there is a project out there that you can help on. With all of our recent water, frogs are calling closer to homes. Step outside your door to count and identify frog species by listening around your house for frogwatch.com. Are frogs not your fancy? How about a project on sunflowers, ladybugs, clouds, birds, bees and one of the most popular involving helping to classify galaxies called galaxyzoo.org? Join the 900,000 citizen science members on zooniverse.org to find your perfect summer project.

4. Summer science fun is not just for kids, there are specialty programs for adults too. Stop by the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) for Late Nights at the museum. On the third Friday of each month, the DMA hosts a night time event including performances, concerts, readings, tours, family programs and more. This Friday (July 17), arrive by 7:30 p.m. to learn how the DMA increases energy efficiency in its building design and watch the DMA be awarded with a plaque from the U.S. Green Building Council for achieving LEED Silver Certification. Can’t make it Friday, plan on attending the next Social Science night at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Explore science after hours with a signature cocktail in hand! The next Social Science is Aug. 7.

5. Make sure your tires are properly inflated to maximize fuel efficiency and get in your car! There are so many unique spots to visit in our great state of Texas. Escape work on a Friday and head south to dive into cool spring water or go west to hike among tall pines. Plan a longer trip and explore a National Park that tops many bucket lists at Big Bend National Park. Spending time in nature impacts your physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. Take some time this summer to rejuvenate your body in nature. Need some inspiration? Follow TexasWild.me as they capture breathtaking photos and videos of wildlife and wild spaces across our vast state.

Remind yourself why summer is a treasured season. Get out and explore before it’s over. Long live summer!

As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.

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