What can a woodpecker craft teach your child about science?

What if I told you that there is a lot your child can learn about science from making and playing with a craft woodpecker? Like what you may ask. How about gravity and friction for starters!

Crafts make a great (and fun) way to introduce science concepts and vocabulary to pre-school and kindergarten age kids. It gets them directly involved and shows them that science can be fun, hands-on, creative and cool.

They’re also a great introduction to more STEAM activities. I’ve found that when I do science crafts with my daughter she discovers that it’s fun to guess what may happen (identify a problem) and by doing the activity (testing) she can find out if she is right or not (create a hypothesis and test it).

In kids’ terms, the scientific method is a way for scientists to study and learn things.

So, back to woodpeckers!

We all know that woodpeckers like to peck wood! (hehe) They often move up and down a tree trunk, pecking for insects to eat with their beak. That motion, pecking while going up and down, is the theme of the craft activity and what we will observe when testing.

For this craft science experiment, you need to download and print our Woodpecker Science Template and collect a piece of plastic straw and a rubber band. To decorate your woodpecker you need crayons, glue stick, scissors and clear tape.

Let’s get started!

What you need for our craft science activity:

Materials:
Decorate your woodpecker:
  • Crayons
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape

Step 1: Colour your woodpecker

  • Take out your template and colour in your bird
  • Fold the paper in half down the middle
  • Have an adult cut out the bird shape and along the dotted line
  • Cut a piece of straw about 3cm long

Step 2: Make the rubber band “tree trunk”

  • Cut your rubber band so you have one long piece
  • What do you think will happen if you try and slide the straw down the rubber band?
  • Thread the straw on the rubber band and pull the two ends apart and hold one end up
  • Keep the rubber band tight and rotate your arms so your opposite hand is at the top
  • What happens?
  • Does the straw slide down easily?
  • Why do you think that happens?
  • What do you think will happen if you attach your bird to the straw?

Step 3: Make your woodpecker

  • Turn over your bird and put the straw in the middle of the fold line. Tape it down.
  • Apply glue stick all over one of the birds and up to the straw
  • Fold the halves over and stick together so the edges are aligned.

Step 4: Conduct your craft science experiment

  • Now thread the rubber band through the straw again and pull the two ends apart
  • Hold one end up
  • Is the woodpecker pecking on his way down?
  • Keep the rubber band tight and rotate your arms so your opposite hand is at the top
  • Is the woodpecker pecking the “tree trunk” on his way down again?

What is happening? It has to do with gravity and friction!

When the bird is raised to the top of the rubber band it wants to fall just like the straw did. But now the weight of the bird causes the straw to touch the rubber band which creates friction that stops it dropping.

The rubber band then bounces the bird back.

In between, there is no friction and the bird drops a little. And the process starts over again.

Here are some fun ideas for other craft science experiments your child can do with the rubber band and woodpecker:

  • What happens if you change the angle of the rubber band?
  • Do you think the woodpecker will move faster or slower? Why?

I hope you and your child like our woodpecker craft science experiment!

If you enjoy doing art and craft activities at home with your child why not try out ActivityBox for a month or two with a monthly subscription!

We provide you easy to follow instructions and all the materials you need each month based on a new theme your child will love.

Happy crafting!

~ Miss Julie