There are few things as exciting to watch than a child who is captivated by science. From the time children are able to start exploring the world around them, their thirst for more knowledge becomes apparent. Science is one of the subjects that kids instantly latch onto, because it’s all about the questioning, the exploration, and the discovery. Sometimes, the best approach to science, especially for the littlest of learners, is to make it as natural as possible.
4 Ways to Introduce Science to Little Learners
1.BE EXPLORERS IN NATURE
Whenever you’re outside, point out different aspects and elements of nature in your surroundings. A chirping bird on a tree branch, a squirrel scurrying to gather nuts for the winter, a rose blooming, fresh dew on the green blades of grass…they’re all just waiting for your child to discover them. Encourage your child to ask questions – even if you don’t know the answers! “How did the spider make her web?” can lead to a whole host of natural learning experiences. Take a cue from Charlotte Mason and make observation of nature an integral part of your daily lessons.
When the boys were younger, they received a butterfly habitat for Christmas one year. Unfortunately, it was a chaotic year and the butterflies never got ordered. So, when Little Miss enthusiastically declared that she wanted a Ladybug Habitat after seeing one that her Girl Scout troop leader brought in, I was determined to make it happen. One habitat purchase and an online order of ladybug larva later, we now have ladybugs growing on our school bookshelf. Our next adventure into insects will probably be butterflies, but there are options for ants and worms and all manner of science insect fun.
Try some simple science experiments with your little learner to really get their curiosity engaged. Crystal ornaments are great for the winter, cloud experiments are perfect anytime, and a potato clock is one of the easiest, yet most intriguing experiments of all. The experiments don’t have to be elaborate, nor do they need to have sophisticated supplies or messy materials. Sometimes, even something as simple as making an ear drum replica can be a huge learning opportunity that seems more like fun than a science lesson.
By online learning I mean both online classes and opportunities for exploration on the Internet. Each semester I teach Preschool/Lower Elementary science classes for MamaTeaches Online and they are, by far, my favorite classes. We’ve done Wild Weather, Health & Hygience, Super Space, Into the Garden, Our Five Senses, and Into the Woods is about to start on Thursday of this week (9/3/15). The online classes are great for engaging little learners and making different topics come to life. For me, it’s beyond just straight facts, and more about finding things that will stick with my students and help them remember while fueling their own curiosity. In addition to classes though, one of the greatest resources for online science fun are zoos. Many have webcams and detailed information for their animals. So, you can watch polar bears live from your computer and observe their habits, movements, and interactions. The excited shouts of, “Look! LOOK! There he is!!” when your child sees the animal come into the frame or start to move does a homeschooling mama’s heart good. It’s a simple, easy, fun way to introduce your child to science no matter where you live.
The key to introducing science to little learners is really to make it as fun and stress-free as possible. Put away the big science text book and get out there and do things. Blow bubbles in the backyard, blow up balloons and play catch, use a magnifying glass to watch an ant carry a leaf across the sidewalk. Embrace whatever piques their interest and capitalize on it. As Einstein said,
“The important thing is to never stop questioning.”
I’ll be back tomorrow with ideas for Science Around Town and how your outings can help nurture your child’s innate curiosity and love for science. See you then!