Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Science In The Great Outdoors!

Have you ever notice how a child lights up when they get outside? When I was a child, going outside was the highlight of the day. What wondrous things out there in the great big world to explore and observe! Speaking of observing... a big part of being a scientist (adult or child-sized) is acquiring observation skills. Observation is a skill because it takes time to learn and to do it well. This means that your child will need plenty of practice going out and observing the world that she lives in. While your child is observing, they may ask you some questions. This is a distinct opportunity to encourage problem-solving and thinking skills. Give your preschooler an opportunity to tell you what she thinks is happening. In general, find out what their answer would be to their own question. After you have an idea of how she processes then you can praise her efforts and provide her with additional information if necessary. The following is an activity that preschoolers enjoy and it will yield their very own nature book after all of their explorations. It's a win-win activity! Rub-it Book Activity What you will need: ~Several thin sheets of paper ~Several crayons ~Flat items found on a nature walk ~Several Ziploc bags ~Hole Punch ~Yarn Directions: 1. The best and first part of this activity is taking your preschooler out for a nature walk. Ask your preschooler to find leaves, flowers, bark, and twigs to collect. Once your preschooler has had a blast finding all sorts of cool things, tell her that she gets to keep her treasures to take home. 2. Once home, have your preschool take out a sheet of thin paper and place it over the first item. 3. Next, use the side of a crayon to rub across the paper and the image of the item will appear. Trust me when I say, your preschooler will be delighted by the effect and eager to continue with the remaining items. 4. After your preschooler has completed her rubbings of all the items, place each item along with it's rubbing in a Ziploc bag. 5. Punch holes in the bags and tie them together with the yarn. Wallah...Preschooler made nature book! Discuss the texture, color, and uniqueness of each item often with your preschooler. Who knows, it may just become her favorite book!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Magnificent Magnets

Preschoolers love science! Nothings more fun than hands-on discovery of new things. One very simple yet exciting object for preschoolers to explore is the magic of a magnet. What could be better than playing with a magnet, how about playing with two magnets! The following are a few science activities using magnets that your preschooler is sure to love. Magnificent Magnets Science Exploration What you will need:
  • Two magnets
  • Shoe box lid
  • Small objects that will stick to the magnet and some that will not
  • paper cut out figure (can be characters of a story, such a the Three Pigs)
  • Glue
  • Paper clips

Now that you have collected all of your items, you are ready to have fun with magnets!

1. First, spread out all of the small objects that you've collected and explain to your preschooler that some of the items on the floor will be "attracted" by the magnet and some will not.

2. Next, have your preschooler experiment with picking up items with the magnet. It may be interesting to hear what your preschoolers hypothesis is on why some items are attracted and some are not. These types of conversations are always fascinating and I encourage you to ask questions. Also, be sure to point out the common denominator of the objects that are being attracted if your preschooler misses this point by sheer excitement.

3. While your preschooler is engrossed in trying to find all of the things that will stick to the magnet, take a few minutes to glue a paper clip to your paper cut out figures. While that dries for a few minutes, ask your preschooler to try to pick up another magnet with there magnet. Discuss the differences between trying to pick-up the other magnet using opposite sides.

4. Now that your paper clips have had time to adhere to the cut-out figures, ask your preschooler to help you put on a magical show. Place your cut-out figures face on top of the shoe box lid (paper clips touching the lid). Next, have your preschooler put there hand underneath the shoe box to move the characters...magic!

I'll be back next week with more on science for preschoolers!