Children can have a great time and learn basic science concepts by exploring simple things such as melting ice or what bugs look like.
Introducing basic science concepts to your child is as easy as scheduling a playdate with friends. You don’t need extensive planning for a fun science playdate. Children will have a great time exploring simple things like melting ice or what bugs look like. And at the same time they’ll be able to share with you what they are figuring out about how the world works.
In Sid The Science Kid, which airs on PBS KIDS, Sid’s parents often suggest that he explore his question of the day with his pal, Gabriela, when she comes over after school. You can utilize the Sid character or simply borrow his methods.
1. Include your young scientist in the planning process.
Suggest a few activities for the playdate such as finding out “How does juice turn into an ice pop?” or “How many seashells are in the bowl?” and let your child decide which one he or she would like to try. By allowing children to choose, you let them know that their ideas and opinions are important.
2. Set a goal but be flexible.
Children sometimes change their minds. Your activity might start as an exploration of rain clouds but change when your child jumps into a puddle to see if it makes waves.
3. Be involved.
Some activities such as cooking or taking a walk require more adult supervision than others. Take an active role. Consider forming a science team and dividing up the tasks according to age appropriateness.
4. Ask questions.
The adults in Sid’s show ask questions that help the kids find answers for themselves—”Well, that’s a great question, Sid. Why do you think the leaf pile is now all over the yard?” This encourages children to reason and to communicate their ideas using language.
5. Have fun and set an example (model behavior).
We all know that children watch us carefully and learn from us as adults. One of the goals on Sid The Science Kid is to celebrate the natural joy and curiosity that children have about the scientific world and to help ensure that this never goes away. Adults can support children’s enthusiasm by modeling it themselves. So let loose, wonder, get a little messy and have fun. You’re a scientist. You can do this, too!
Recycling is a great way to expose children to several things at once, such as ecology, classification, mathematics, and even philanthropy. Finding and sorting recyclable items can be the first part of the adventure. You can guide your young scientists by asking them to sort items into piles. All the objects made of paper go in one pile, plastic items in a second, and cans and aluminum into a third. And to reinforce number skills, look at the bottom of the plastic items and help your children identify and list the numbers.
Sid The Science Kid was created by The Jim Henson Company and KCET/Los Angeles and airs on PBS KIDSÆ. For more activities go to pbskids.org/sid. Source: Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science. Courtesy of NAPS.