Science can be a challenging and ultimately frustrating subject for many students. Your child will have to learn many scientific terms, processes, and theories throughout the course of their education. The best way to help your child succeed in science is to start their science education early. Children can learn about science before starting preschool, and they can learn from you! Topics such as color, water displacement, liquids/solids/gases, marine life, and botany can become fun to learn with simple activities that you can do with your child.
Young children are often fascinated by different colors, shapes, and textures. Introduce your child to color theory by having them learn to identify different colors, starting with the primary color palette. While simply sitting down to do coloring in a coloring book is fun for some kids, other children learn best by doing more interactive activities.
Activity: On a clear, warm day, set up a color laboratory in your yard. You can even invite some of your child’s friends over to participate. Set up some dish soap, squeeze bottles, pump bottles, medicine droppers, test tubes, spray bottles, plastic dishes and bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and liquid watercolors or food coloring. Have the kids put on aprons or smocks and explore what happens when they mix different colors into differently-shaped containers. Ask them what happens when they add more or less of one color to another and what they think will happen if they mix something.
It’s never too early to get your child interested in learning about water and how important of a natural resource it is for all living organisms. One way to get your child interested in water is by talking about water displacement. In this lesson, it can be helpful to tell your child a creative story or fable about water, including Aesop’s “The Crow and the Pitcher.” Not only does this teach about water, but it educates kids on mass and density of different objects.
Activity: Take a clear measuring cup or glass bowl, put a plate underneath it, and fill it with water. Ask your child to grab a few items, including Lego bricks, some coins, and any other item that will fit in the bowl and will sink. Record the sizes of the items you use, and begin dropping them in one at a time. Watch the water level rise until water finally spills over the edge of the bowl. Ask your child why the water spilled over and have them talk about the different masses and densities of the items they chose.
Even young children realize that, sometimes, things change form. Snow melts when it is hot, and water freezes when it is cold. Children will continue to learn more in-depth details of how and why liquids, solids, and gases change forms as they get into grade school, but it’s never too early to start.
Activity: Fill one balloon with a safe solid substance, one with a liquid substance, and a third with a gas. Have your child carefully open each balloon and witness what happens to the solid, liquid, or gas inside each balloon.
Marine life can be exciting for children of all ages to learn about. With some marine species becoming endangered and others yet to be discovered, learning about marine science can be truly inspiring for some children. If you child enjoys trips to the beach, start talking with them about the things they see in the water, on the sand, and flying overhead. If your child sees a fish, ask them if they think that fish can survive out of water since it doesn’t have lungs like we do.
Activity: You can start by reading a book like Dr. Seuss’ Wish for a Fish. After reading your book, take an empty water cooler container or large water bottle with a big opening. Create a “sunny zone” at the top, then a “twilight zone,” a “dark zone,” and an “abyss.” Put plastic sea creatures on strings that wrap around them, and attach the end of the string to the top of the container. The sea creature must float within its normal zone of habitation. Have your child explain which creature goes where and why they might live there.
Plant life tends to enthrall children, filling them with wonder and awe. Teaching children about plant life can help them develop an appreciation for the environment and for how animals and humans get the food and energy we need to survive from plants.
Activity: A fun and sustainable way to teach a botany lesson is to start an herb garden with your child. Some herbs can be grown indoors, so if you live someplace where you cannot garden outside, there are indoor options. Have your child help you pick out the herbs to grow, have them assist in planting and watering the seeds, and have your child keep a record of how the herbs are growing. When the herbs are fully grown, you can pick them together and talk about what kinds of recipes you can use them in.
Science should not be learned only from the confines of a textbook. Science is all around us, and with children’s natural curiosity, it is best to get them interested early on. The above topics and their associated activities are just a few of many scientific explorations you can have with your child. Don’t wait till your child is enrolled in a school like Kid’s Country Learning Center to jumpstart their education. Get interactive, dirty, and creative with your science lessons to inspire awe and make learning fun.
Image Source: Flickr