Outdoor Activities for Kids

Hot Spots

Where are the hot spots on a hot day? If you're like most kids, you've tried to walk barefoot on asphalt on a hot day -- and regretted it! What you got was a lesson on how some materials capture heat better than others. In this outdoor activity for kids, you'll find out how well other materials absorb heat.

What You'll Need:

  • Outdoor thermometer or soil thermometer
  • Notebook,
  • Pencil or pen
  • Miscellaneous materials

Step One: On a warm, sunny day, go outdoors with a thermometer. Any outdoor thermometer will do, but a soil thermometer (look at a garden center) is useful because it has a strong metal probe that you can stick into the dirt.

Step Two: Check the air temperature and write it down. Then find different kinds of materials that are in the sun: soil, grass, bark dust, asphalt, metal, water.

Step Three: Hold the bulb end of the thermometer against each material, wait a few minutes, and write down the temperature.

Step Four: Which materials absorbed heat the most? How many were warmer than air? How many were cooler? Which would you rather walk on if you were barefoot?

Now that you know how to tell how hot different materials are, go to the next page to find out to look for fossils on the sidewalk.

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