Here are some playground science tricks to impress your kids in their 'real' world.
- Pumping: Tell them that pumping on the swing shifts their mass strategically, making them swing faster. The most efficient pumping motion is the one that requires the most work: your child should stand on the swing, squatting when the swing reaches the highest point and standing upright when the swing is at its lowest.
- Yes, you can start swinging from complete rest - but it takes patience and persistence for a number of minutes. The best secret strategy: start pumping by leaning your body back and forth, then stand on the swing and squat to pump.
- Jumping from swing: teach them when to jump from the swing in order to enjoy the farthest flight into sand or water. If they jump too early, close to the bottom of the arc, they do not have upward velocity that can fight gravity and keep them in the air for long. Plus, the swing seat will bang them in the back. If they wait too long and jump at the highest arc point, when most of their velocity is vertical, instead of flying forward they immediately drop to the ground. Tell your kids to jump in the middle.
- Run: As soon as your kid touches the ground he should run forward, to prevent falling by inertia.
And since all of this is reasonably dangerous, warn your kids to never, ever try it alone. And they will absolutely positively listen.
More stories from The Math Mom, about creative math of parenting: Yes, I would not or No, I will or Mommy, I am afraid to die.