• wax paper
  • petroleum jelly
  • hole puncher
  • sturdy string
  • masking tape
  • magnifier
Developing Skills:
  • environmental awareness
  • to make decisions on her own
  • science skills, including observation and prediction
Talk about the air outdoors.  Encourage your child to describe what she sees in the air.  Ask, “Do you ever see things blowing around?”  Invite her to think about whether there are things in the air that she can’t see
Make several “air detectives” by spreading a thin layer of petroleum jelly on sheets of wax paper.  Then punch a hole at the top of each sheet and thread a string through it. Go outside and let your child choose sites to hang or tape the papers.  Suggest places such as a tree, building wall, and garden fence.
The next day, collect the air detectives.  Help your child label each one with the location it came from.  Bring them inside and use a magnifier to look at the contents more closely.  Ask your child which particles she things came from plants or trees.  Which are dirt or pollution?
Hang new detectives in the same places and check them after a few days.  Compare them with the first set to find out which areas have the most plant material or pollutions.  Encourage your child to hypothesize about the reasons.  Can she predict what will happen in a third round?