Young children are curious and love to investigate. You don’t need to be an expert to help children learn about science. Science is all around us – from making bubbles in the bathtub to boiling water on the stove. Your enthusiasm and positive attitude about science will be contagious. Get in the habit of wondering out loud (“I wonder how that ant can carry that big piece of food.” “I wonder why your shadow is sometimes small and sometimes big”).
The kinds of questions you ask and statements you make when children are exploring will help develop his scientific thinking skills. Here are some examples:
What do you think will happen if…?
I wonder why…
How do you think we can find out…?
Look for opportunities to develop the child’s scientific thinking during everyday activities: while playing with toys, taking a bath, helping to bake cookies, playing in the backyard, or going on an outing. Remember, you don’t need to know all the answers! It’s a good sign that a child is curious, wants to discover everything, asks lots of questions, and wants more answers.
What Parents and Teachers Can Do
Physical Science – Physical Science is about the physical properties of materials and objects. It is not necessary to set up specific science experiments for children. You can create opportunities to learn about physical science in the environment.
Include science materials such as magnets, magnifying glasses, balance scales, pulleys and mirrors to encourage exploration.
Use open-ended questions to further investigations: “I wonder why this big toy boat floats but the penny sinks”.
Describe physical changes you see taking place: “When your blue paint ran into the yellow paint, it turned green!”
Include old small appliances or broken toys on a “take-apart” table to help children lean how things work.
Life Science is about living things. You are teaching life science when you ask children to care for plants and animals. Life science also includes knowledge about one’s body and how to keep it healthy.
Add living things such as plants and pets to the child’s environment and study them.
After planting seeds with the children, provide markers and paper so they can observe and record the growth over time.
During a study of houses, talk with children about different kinds of animal homes such as bird’s nests, beehives, anthills, etc.
Observe and discuss life cycles of animals such as butterflies and frogs.
Help children learn about health and their bodies every day. “Can you feel your heart pounding after running so much?” “Those carrots you’re eating are so good for you”
Earth and the Environment – The component of science called earth and the environment is about the world of nature.
Lead a discussion about things we do during the day and things we do at night.
Paint with water on the sidewalk and talk about why it disappears.
Talk about the seasons as you notice the changes in your environment:” I can tell fall is here. The leaves are turning red, yellow, orange, and brown.”
Discuss the weather each day while preparing to go outdoors: “Will you check the weather outside today? Do we need to wear sweaters?”
Easy Bubble Solution
4 cups water
2 cups dish detergent
Mix gently so as not to create too much foam.
Experiment with blowing bubbles with different objects:
Cds, zip ties, pipe cleaners, canning jar lid, hands, straws, empty spool, slotted spoons, spatulas, keys, brainstorm with the children about what objects you can find to blow bubbles with. Basically anything that is water resistant and has a hole can be utilized for blowing bubbles.
Blow bubbles onto a piece of plastic for investigating and experimenting. Can you blow two bubbles that are the same size? Can you make a chain of bubbles? Can you blow a bubble inside a bubble? Try touching the bubbles. What happens when your fingers are wet, what happens if they are dry? Look closely at the bubbles. How many colors do you see? Do the colors change?
surface tension, reflecting, soap film, measuring, air, molecules, experiment, prediction
Surface tension results when the hydrogen in water molecules stick to one another as well as to the water below them. This creates a strong but flexible film on the water's surface.
Bubbles are bits of air or gas trapped inside a liquid ball. The surface of a bubble is very thin. Bubbles are particularly fragile when a dry object touches them. That's because soap film tends to stick to the object, which puts a strain on the bubble.
Try this other surface tension experiment!
Use a clean pan and fill it with water. Shake black pepper over the top of the water. Place one drop of dish soap in the middle of the dish and watch what happens!
Fizzle, Bubble, Pop, and Wow! By Lisa Murphy "The Ooey Gooey Lady"