As parents and caretakers we like to know the ins and outs of how our children learn best. We may not think about how our children are learning about Science on a day to day basis as science is often thought of as complex or big experiments.
The truth may be that our children are actually learning early science techniques every minute they are awake. Have you heard the question, WHY? Toddlers ask it all day long. That one question is filled with curiosity and investigation. Your child is asking these questions to come up with reasoning as to why something works the way it does.
Take a deep breath, the Why questions, although important, are not the only way your preschooler can learn science. There are many ways you can teach science at home to your preschooler while still having fun and without a huge expense.
Experiments**(there are a couple of recipes below for you to try with your kids)
Science experiments for preschoolers do not have to be expensive or tricky, you can use things you have around the house.
You can talk about physics with the help of a wooden block and a car. Start with rolling the car down the wooden block, change the angles while asking your child which angle they think will make the car move faster, if you have a long block you can also change angles to see which angle helps the car go farther.
Finger paints, food dye or markers can make for an easy experiment. Mixing colors always interests children. Help your child think by asking what color they think will appear if you blend two other colors together. You can then let them have fun painting with the colors.
Sinking and floating is another great experiment. Run the bath or grab a bucket full of water. Gather items from around the house and then work together to guess which will sink and which will float. You can then have fun testing your theories out.
Giving your child a chance to observe and note changes is another great way for them to learn the basics of science. If you have a nice big window in your home you could put up a bird feeder. Your child will love watching new and old birds return to the feeder each day.
Planting seeds and letting your child observe the growth cycle of a plant is another great learning experience. Try planting two different types of flowers so that observations can be made about the different colors and shapes.
Another great way to get your child’s observation skills growing is to get out into nature. Take a nature walk and explore the different trees, leaves, animals and bugs. You could even take notes on what you observe to bring with you on your next nature walk.
Open Ended Questions
Encouraging your child to answer questions that have no right answer is a great way to get them learning. This skill will help when it comes to learning about things like predictions and interpreting facts. Encouraging your child to think for themselves and come up with their own conclusions is a sure way to encourage a science minded child.
Using experiments, observations and open ended questions will help your preschooler establish the basic science skills they need once they get to school.
** here are the recipes to get you started:
“Silly Putty”- GAK
- Elmer’s Glue® (8 oz bottle of Elmer’s Glue-All)
- Borax (a powdered soap found in the grocery store)
- Large mixing bowl
- Plastic cup (8 oz size works well)
- Measuring cup
- Food coloring (the spice of life)
- Paper towel (hey, you’ve got to clean up!)
- Zipper-lock bag (don’t you want to keep it when you’re done?)
- Empty plastic soda bottle with cap
Here’s the easiest way to make a big batch Elmer’s Slime. The measurements do not have to be exact but it’s a good idea to start with the proportions below for the first batch. Just vary the quantities of each ingredient to get a new and interesting batch of goo.
- This recipe is based on using a brand new 8 ounce bottle of Elmer’s Glue. Empty the entire bottle of glue into a mixing bowl. Fill the empty bottle with warm water and shake (okay, put the lid on first and then shake). Pour the glue-water mixture into the mixing bowl and use the spoon to mix well.
- Go ahead… add a drop or two of food coloring.
- Measure 1/2 cup of warm water into the plastic cup and add a teaspoon of Borax powder to the water. Stir the solution – don’t worry if all of the powder dissolves. This Borax solution is the secret linking agent that causes the Elmer’s Glue molecules to turn into slime.
- While stirring the glue in the mixing bowl, slowly add a little of the Borax solution. Immediately you’ll feel the long strands of molecules starting to connect. It’s time to abandon the spoon and use your hands to do the serious mixing. Keep adding the Borax solution to the glue mixture (don’t stop mixing) until you get a perfect batch of Elmer’s slime. You might like your slime more stringy while others like firm slime. Hey, you’re the head slime mixologist – do it your way!
- When you’re finished playing with your Elmer’s slime, seal it up in a zipper-lock bag for safe keeping.
- One box of cornstarch (16 oz)
- Large mixing bowl
- Cookie sheet, square cake pan, or something similar
- Pitcher of water
- Gallon size zipper-lock bag
- Newspaper or a plastic drip cloth to cover the floor
- Food coloring
- Pour approximately 1/4 of the box (about 4 oz) of cornstarch into the mixing bowl and slowly add about 1/2 cup of water. Stir. Sometimes it is easier (and more fun!) to mix the cornstarch and water with your bare hands.
- Continue adding cornstarch and water in small amounts until you get a mixture that has the consistency of honey. It may take a little work to get the consistency just right, but you will eventually end up mixing one box of cornstarch with roughly 1 to 2 cups of water. As a general rule of thumb, you’re looking for a mixture of roughly 10 parts cornstarch to 1 part water. Notice that the mixture gets thicker or more viscous as you add more cornstarch.
- Sink your hand into the bowl of “quicksand” and notice its unusual consistency. Compare what it feels like to move your hand around slowly and then very quickly. You can’t move your hand around very fast! In fact, the faster you thrash around, the more like a solid the gooey stuff becomes. Sink your entire hand into the goo and try to grab the fluid and pull it up. That’s the sensation of sinking in quicksand!
- Drop a plastic toy animal into the cornstarch mixture and then try to get it out. It’s pretty tough even for an experienced quicksand mixologist.
Pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet or cake pan. Notice its unusual consistency when you are pouring it onto the pan. Stir it around with your finger, first slowly and then as fast as you can. Skim your finger across the top of the glop. What do you notice?
Try to roll the fluid between your palms to make a ball. You can even hold your hand flat over the top of the pan and slap the liquid glop as hard as you can. Most people will run for cover as you get ready to slap the liquid, fearing that it will splash everywhere.
According to theory, the mixture should stay in the pan. Yeah, right! If your cornstarch water mixture inadvertently splatters everywhere, you will know to add more cornstarch. When you are finished, pour the glop into a large zipper-lock plastic bag for later use.
IMPORTANT – READ THIS! The cornstarch will not stay mixed with the water indefinitely. Over time, the grains of cornstarch will separate from the water and form a solid clump at the bottom of the plastic storage bag. It is for this reason that you must not pour this mixture down the drain. It will clog the pipes and stop up the drain. Pour the mixture into a zipper-lock bag and dispose of it in the garbage.
Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area. Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!
Call 877-938-1442 for general info
Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831