Rock Demo Science Fun for Kids

Table of contents for R is for Rocks

  1. 30 Playful Ways to Teach Young Kids About Rocks

Kids love to use real tools, so I decided to let the kids learn about the properties of rocks by smashing them with real tools. Keep reading. I haven’t lost it.

If you already let your young kids use tools, that’s awesome. But if you are like me, you may be very hesitant about the idea. I remember the first time I heard of giving kids real tools instead of small plastic (safe) versions. I was a kindergarten teacher, and our lovely science specialist wanted to give my 18 students hammers and nails. Well, I was beyond surprised and relieved at how excited the kids were, how safely they behaved, and how awesome their creations were. I was an instant believer. So go ahead, give it a try…with proper supervision and a little discussion of safety before getting started.

Breaking Apart Rocks

To get ready I chose a few rocks from our collection. I knew some would break apart more easily, so I picked more of those than anything else. However, I did grab a few rocks that would be more difficult to break so that we could discuss the different properties. Depending on the age of your kids and the learning goals you are working on, you could also introduce some of the names for the different types of rocks.

I didn’t have safety goggles for all of the kids, so we all put on sunglasses to protect our eyes from any pieces that flew into the air. We also talked about holding the hammer with two hands so that we could have more control of it and to keep them from hitting their hands.

Each child had an individual work surface, a tool, and rocks. I let them work on old plastic lids from storage bins because I wanted the lip around the edge to keep some of the pieces from scattering on the ground. It helped for the most part.

For tools I had some smaller hammers and a meat tenderizer. I know a meat tenderizer is not technically a tool, but it actually turned out to be the best one for breaking up rocks. The large surface helped keep the kids from missing the rocks.

Rock Demo

 They were eager to get started, and all three kids (Ages 2-4) had fun. Big Buddy enjoyed the project more than both of the girls, and he continued to break apart rocks long after they finished.

When we were done we scooped all of the pieces together and saved them for more of our R is for Rocks projects. I’ll share more about some of those activities with you next week.

Rock Bits

 So what do you think? Do you let your kids use real tools? Would you give this activity a try?

You can find more activities and ideas for teaching kids about rocks on my Pinterest boards.

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  1. I was a nanny in my previous existence and never let the kids near anything dangerous for years until a parent asked how I thought they would learn to use tools safety. Feeling dumb and scared, I gave it whirl and it was great.

    My kids are very safe and confident around tools and ‘helped’ their dad brick a wall today. They saw, hammer, drill and glue allsorts. They made me an almost square spice rack for Christmas. We are starting geology so rock banging is on our list as well as rock painting – that looks like fun! Terrifying for grandparents, though!

    • Shaunna says:

      What great inspiration for encouraging kids to experiment with tools. I’m sure it gives them a sense of pride knowing that they can use them correctly and create new things. I hope you guys enjoy the rock banging and rock painting activities!

  2. ooh, my kids love pounding things with hammers. Looks fun.

    • It really was fun! And being able to use the bits of rock for other projects was very neat for the kids, too.

  3. What great fun! I’m featuring this on The Sunday Showcase tomorrow.

  4. What a FUN study!

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Don’t forget to update your button on your party page ~ thanks =-)

    Hope to see you linked up again later today! Have a great weekend,

    • Thanks for the reminder! I updated the featured button last week, but forgot to update the other page. Sorry about that!

  5. I do, probably not too surprising. The kids love to try out different tools, and they always come up with so many ideas of what they want to do after they’ve used them.

    • You’re right! I’m not too surprised. 🙂 I can definitely see how using tools could inspire new creativity.

  6. My boys used to do this, too.

  7. Oh, something tells me my son would looooove this! Breaking apart rocks as part of a science experiment would definitely be interesting for him. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  8. My 3 year old scientist is going to LOVE this, thanks for the inspiration!!

  9. Peanut would LOVE this! We are definitely giving this a try!
    Good tip about the meat tenderizer.

    • I bet he would! Big Buddy definitely went back again and again after figuring out how hard he needed to swing to actually break the rocks.

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