Protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays may be a hard, abstract concept for kids to understand… at least until they get a sunburn. This simple sunscreen experiment allows kids to learn about the importance of using sunscreen this summer. This summer science is perfect for all ages from kindergartner, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th graders. All you need are a few simple materials to try this sunscreen construction paper experiment.
Summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the warm, bright sun. But how careful are we about protecting our skin from the sun’s UV rays? Too much exposure to the UV Radiation can lead to skin cancer, wrinkles and age spots. When the sun hits your skin it tells your body to protect itself by producing melanin, a brown pigment that darkens the cells of our epidermis (the technical term for skin). Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and layers of light clothing are important to protect us from the effects of too much time in the sun. In this fun sunscreen experiment we are going to look at the effects the sun can have and if sunscreen can help slow or stop those affects. THis simple summer science experiment is fun for all ages from preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grde 6 student too.
Sunscreen Experiment on Paper
All you need are a few simple materials to try this sunscreen paper project.
- colored construction paper (we used orange)
- dark colored construction paper
- plastic wrap
- sunny spot
Sunscreen on paper experiment
Start by cutting 4 squares or people shapes out of your colored construction paper. Any color of dark colored construction paper should work great. Write on the back of each person: control, sunscreen, hat, or sunglasses. Cut out hat and sunglasses of black construction paper and place on the appropraite person.
Sunscreen science experiment
Now wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Put sunscreen over the figure marked sunscreen only.
The great sunscreen experiment
Put your construction paper person out in the sun following the conditions on the reverse side for 1 week. Make predictions or hypothesis of what you will see.
- no protection on the first, just wrapped in plastic wrap
- apply sunscreen – use the type you would typically use
- set a hat over top of the hat paper
- set sunglasses over the final paper
Sunscreen construction paper experiment
Check on your papers. Did any of them fade? Which one worked best? Adding an extra layer like a hat or sunglasses protects delicate areas such as your eyes and face from sunburns that may result in skin cancer and sun damage.
Sunscreen science fair project
The thicker the layer of sunscreen or the highter the SPF the better protection it should have provided to your paper skin.
Sunscreen comes in different strengths called the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to tell us how much it protects our skin; the highter the more protection. Try your experiment again and this time use a different SPF factor for each of your construction paper test subjects.
Looking for more outdoor activities for kids and things to do in the summer? Your toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, and elementary age kids will love these fun ideas to keep them busy all summer long:
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Thank you for this amazing idea! Such an easy way to understand the entire “drama” about applying sunscreen. I love it! 💕