Young children are natural born scientists. How many times have we heard our child ask “WHY”? From questioning rules to natural curiosity, their questioning is a result of them trying to figure things out. Observing, experimenting and questioning are all key skills for school and life.
Simple Science Everyday
Without expensive equipment or science expertise, you can provide great science opportunities for your child. The experiments can also be done multiple times with minor adjustments to see new results. That doesn’t happen when you put together a puzzle! Here are some easy science ideas.
- Observe everyday activities and talk with your child about how they work.
- Observe outdoor animals such as birds, squirrels and insects. Talk about their body parts, where they live and what they eat.
- Look at the sky in the daytime and watch the clouds. Build your child’s vocabulary by describing how they look.
- At night, look at the stars and the moon. Watch it over a period of a week and see if it looks different. Your child can even ask them to draw pictures of what they see.
- Try some science experiments with everyday items. Play with water both in the house and outside. Watch it evaporate outside or experiment with sinking and floating items.
- Try baking with your child and talk about what happens when you mix and bake. Talk about the materials and how it bakes
Throughout your science time together, continue to ask your child questions. If you don’t know what to ask, think back to your basic 5 +1 writing questions (who, what, when, where, why and how). Science experiments will have many “why” and “how” questions, but don’t forget the others also. For example:
- What happens when _________
- Where do you think the water goes when you don’t see it in the puddle anymore?
- Who would be the best person in our family that could run as fast as the cheetah?
I Don’t Know Questions
It’s OK not to know an answer when your child asks a question. But how do you tell your child that you don’t know? The following responses will help you move from “I don’t know” to “let’s learn it together”.
- I don’t know, what do you think?
- I don’t know, how can we find out?
- I don’t know, I wonder if _______ is the answer?
- I don’t know, I wonder if it has anything to do with ________
- I don’t know, how about if we try?
- I don’t know how can we figure this out?
- I don’t know, is there anyone else you think would know the answer?
- I don’t know, where can we look to find the answer?
- I don’t know, let’s think about this.
- I don’t know, maybe that will work, can you think of anything else that might work?
- I don’t know, I’m not sure if that will work.
- I don’t know but I don’t think so because _________. Does that make sense? What do you think now?
- I don’t know, maybe we should look it up. Where could we look?
- I don’t know, let’s give it a try!
Studies show that children’s natural curiosity about science can be a path to a variety of career opportunities in their future. In today’s world, there are more and more jobs that include technology skills. These changes have even created a new look at science by describing the subject as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and adding an A for Art to make it STEAM. Whatever term you use, Science is important for children to develop critical thinking skills they will need throughout their lives.
Coming Next Month: STEM and STEAM for young kids