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Everyday Science Activities

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Dear Debi,
What are some science activities that I can do at home with my son that are not too time-consuming?
Linda, West Los Angeles, CA
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
Host
  • Encourage kids’ curiosity
  • Provide a variety of natural materials for kids to explore and experiment
  • Ask open-ended questions about what kids think, predict and plan to do
Expert Advice
Moises Roman
Moises Roman
UCLA Early Care & Education
Through science activities, children can learn some important concepts that are relevant to their lives. Children learn science best through simple and tangible experiences. By tangible, I mean things that the children can physically hold and experience.

A science experience should include a question, an investigation component, vocabulary, and discussion. Children will make connections about how something works based on the experiences and their previous knowledge.

A child care provider can turn an everyday activity into science by introducing science vocabulary. This can be done by asking open-ended questions and prompting the children with the language of science. For instance, ask, “What do you predict will happen?” or “Observe what is happening?”

Another suggestion on how to turn everyday activities into science activities is to set up situations where the children can investigate and explore for themselves without the adult giving them the answer.

Open-ended questions are essential to all learning, but especially to learning science. These types of questions help guide children to follow the process of investigating and critically thinking about why things happen the way they do.

Remember, just about any activity can be related to science. You can do this by shifting the activity to relate a science concept that the children are already familiar with. For example, one science concept that can be explored is the concept of change. The leaves change in the fall, time changes, people and animals change. You can then connect science with art by making a leaf collage using the different colored leaves that we collected and gluing them to a paper.
Child Care provider Comments
Mary
Mary
Provider for 10 years
Science can be worked into just about any activity. For example, during lunch, if I serve ice in my children’s drinks, I make sure to discuss how the ice is getting smaller in the drink and how the drink is getting colder. I ask the children if they know why this is happening. Even something that simple is teaching them about science.
Alma Martinez
Alma Martinez
Child care provider for 10 years
I like to set out specific items for kids to explore and play with. I have a water play table and it comes with activity cards. Kids learn a lot of concepts during water play with basic items like water, bubbles, food coloring and magnifying glasses. I also think you can use naturally occurring events as a science activity.
Carol (Woods)
Carol (Woods)
Child care provider for 13 years
We love to play with bubbles in the tub. It’s a perfect opportunity to teach science concepts. Also, making chocolate milk out of white milk is a great one because we get to see the process of how the colors change. Easter eggs are also fun because we can go through the process of how eggs change in the boiling water to how colors change when you paint them.

The Science of Smell Featured Activity:
The Science of Smell
Science Activities Featured Video:
Science Activities
Topic: Early Learning Areas
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Resources
Scholastic / Science
Education Development Center
U.S. Department of Education
PBS Teacher Source
Teacher QuickSource
Downloads (Get Reader)
Tips on Doing Science with Preschoolers pdf
Scholastic / Scientific Thinking pdf
 
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