Use feathers for a scientific exploration of the dangers of pollution in our oceans, lakes, and rivers.
- Pan filled with water and dish soap
- Small cup or bowl of vegetable oil
- Lots of towels!
This is a messy experiment, but one that can keep your kids busy for ages!
First, discuss what you know about feathers. They are light, fluffy. Do they float? (They do) but be sure to test it! What happens when the feather gets wet? It's able to dry pretty fast and spread out again.
Then, explain how sometimes yucky stuff, or pollution, gets in our water. What part of the bird do you think it touches the most? The feathers are on the outside, that's it! The oil in this experiment represents the pollution. We know that feathers are meant to repel water, but what about oil? Ask your child to make their predictions - what will happen when the feather is coated in oil?
Dip your feather in oil. You'll see that the feather becomes all stuck together and it's difficult to make it look like it did before. The oil is definitely not repelling the oil.
What can we do to clean the feather? They may suggest the soap! Now see if you can remove the oil from the feather using the dish soap. Your child may have seen commercials about the use of dish soap to help wildlife, we're trying to do the same thing.
This can be repeated an unending amount of times, but it may also devolve into a fun exploration of bubbles!
- Use feathers as a painting tool to emulate wings
- Attach feathers to a paintbrush with tape for a DIY feather brush
- Glue feathers onto collage
- Make prints with feathers
- Add feathers to a bird craft for authenticity