If your kids balk at the idea of putting sunscreen on AGAIN, it might be time for a little sun prints science. In this experiment, children will see how UV rays break down the chemicals that make up colors and reveal the hidden shapes below. This project is best when completed on a day of full sun. The more bright and direct sunlight you have, the more dramatic the results will be.
Outdoor Sun Prints: Summer Science for Kids
Kids will love seeing the shapes left behind the objects placed on paper. For more fun, have the kids try to identify the objects after making the prints. You’ll need just a few things for this activity:
- Plastic film wrap
- Outdoor objects (leaves, rocks, sticks, etc)
- Construction paper
Have the kids arrange their objects they collect onto their papers. The can just lay them down randomly, or make a scene or design.
Cover each design in plastic wrap. This helps prevent objects from blowing away and targets the sunlight.
Leave the objects out for about 2-3 hours. The longer you leave it out, the more dramatic the results will be.
Remove the objects to reveal the dark prints of the objects left on the paper.
It’s amazing how powerful the sun is!
Sun Prints Science Experiment Explained
The sun’s UV rays break down chemical bonds in objects, which removes colors and bleaches fabric, paper, and paint. Sun prints work by shielding certain areas of paper from the sun, which remain the dark original color while the rest of the paper gets lighter. The results are more dramatic the longer the paper is left out in the sun. After this experiment, you should have no trouble getting your kids to put their sunscreen on. If the sun is that powerful on paper, just imagine what it is doing to your skin!