Science activities for children in early childhood aren’t all about lab coats and test tubes – it’s about connecting with the world around us. Many of us relate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) experiences to fizzling concoctions, dangerous chemicals and robotics, but the truth is that children as young as 6 months old begin to experiment with scientific concepts in their everyday lives.
When a child throws their bottle to the ground and you pick it back up- only to have them throw it again- your bub isn’t playing a joke, they’re learning about cause and effect. When they make one action (throw the bottle) another occurs (you pick it up)!
Although this in one of the more frustrating experiences for parents, for children it is one step to instilling a love of STEM from the very beginning. Below, Charmaine Choo, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Training at MindChamps outlines 4 ways science for preschoolers can enrich their love of the subject this Science Week.
1. Make learning fun through play
The rule of thumb to spur your child’s interest in Science is to make it comprehensible, engaging and fun.
You can achieve this by conducting simple Science experiments with your child such as making slime with cornflour, creating static electricity or making ice lollies.
Play-and-learn science is highly renowned for its positive effects on children’s cognition, however using the MindChamps Crafted Play approach- you can guide your bub to explore the scientific concepts within any experience.
2. Make science for preschoolers relevant
Just like our bottle throwing example, when children see how a concept is applicable to their lives, they naturally become more curious and want to learn more. That’s how you can introduce more science activities for children in your everyday routines – simply encourage their curiosity, make them want to discover what happens if they do something.
Relating their known environment to these unknown concepts helps children to retain the new information as it becomes more relevant to the way they live their lives.
3. Be supportive of your child’s efforts to learn
Form a learning partnership with your child rather than adopting a teacher/student model. Ask your child about what they are learning in school and encourage them to explain them or show them to you!
When children are given the opportunity to explain and/or demonstrate their knowledge, they become more confident in their abilities and will be more motivated to share again in the future.
Encourage your child to express their opinion, talk about their feelings, and make choices together as a team. Good learners have the confidence to be heard without the fear of being judged, put down, discouraged or ignored.
By keeping the lines of communication open, children learn about regulating their emotions and become more resilient for school and for life.
Science questions for children
Sometimes, you don’t even need to entice them with various kinds of kindergarten science experiments. All you have to do is pose some simple questions about the consequences of certain actions, questions that will make them reflect a bit on why the action you’re asking about is relevant.
Some simple science questions throughout the day can be very effective. Good examples include:
Q: Will our clothes dry faster in the sun or in the wind?
Q: Why do we need to brush our teeth before we go to bed?
Q: Why is it important to exercise?
Q: Why do we need to wash our hands after going to the toilet?
Q: Why does a rock sink in the water?
At MindChamps we know that building smart children starts from the very beginning. The right approach to science for children is therefore vital because learning doesn’t just occur when we sit down to read, it is an ever-evolving journey that we have the chance to guide children along. By embracing scientific concepts from our everyday lives, we can teach children to see the wonder and awe in the world around us.
Written by: Anula Keenan