Learning Anywhere, Every Day
Part 6 of 12 - Champion Science
7 June 2017
You probably know this already, but preschoolers have an insatiable need to explore the world around them. They love to discover and notice so many things you might overlook or not think important. Your preschooler is a natural scientific investigator, so explore the world together. You might learn a thing or two!
Here are simple ways to advocate for your little scientist in your every-days:
- Wander together. You don’t have to make it a big trip to a museum or anything like that. Just go outdoors together and engage all of your young one’s senses. Talk with your child about what you can see, hear, smell and feel. Look at the clouds, smell pinecones, gently touch a caterpillar, see what’s under rocks. Be quiet and take the time to listen-- to the wind, birds and squirrels in trees. What else does your child notice?
- Watch the weather. Take walks when it’s rainy and when it’s sunny. Observe the atmosphere in the early in the morning and then in the evening. Talk about how these experiences are alike and different, in color, temperature, sound and smells.
- Care for, plants, trees, and gardens. Visit your local garden as the seasons begin to change. Plant bulbs or seeds together. Or, put toothpicks in the top of a carrot and suspend it over a clear container of water. Soon you will see a new plants growing. Observe it daily and talk about what you see. Bring a ruler with you to measure the growth from day to day.
- Find science all around you. Learn about physics by playing with tennis balls and soccer balls. Which ball bounces higher? Which one can be kicked farther? Learn about chemistry while baking cookies together. What happens when the ingredients are mixed together and baked in the oven? Ask your preschooler to share their ideas about what happens and why. If your preschooler asks a question you can’t answer, write it down so that later you can look for the answer together in a book, at the library, or on the Internet. Speaking of ...
- Discover answers together. In your exploring you don’t need to know the name of every plant, but you and your preschooler can investigate and answer questions together. Sometimes there will not be an answer to some of your young one’s tougher questions, and that’s ok too. As the poet Rilke says, let’s “Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
- Start your own science journal. Talk with your child about these experiences and take time to write down their scientific observations. It’s fun to start keeping a simple record of your child’s reflections on the how and why of the things that surround them. You’ll love reading them-- now and later-- and seeing how your child’s observation skills, which are key to science learning, grow and develop.
Try a few of these suggestions and let us know, are you surprised by what your child noticed? Were there things that you didn’t notice and he did? What does this say to you? Check out our Kitchen Science activities and Making and Tinkering blog for more even fun exploring science with your preschooler.
Check out the beginning of our Learning Anywhere, Every Day blog series here. And get ready to boogie in Part 7!
+ Inspiration/photo credit goes to www.livescience.com's microscopic image of a corn plant cell.