We always seem to have a lot of science play going on – experimenting, making concoctions, building inventions, exploring outside, etc. In addition, our homeschooling studies this year included learning about the basics of the scientific method – asking a question, making a hypothesis, experimenting, observing, and discussing our results.
The scientific process part, I have found, comes quite naturally to kids – they are always asking questions and trying things out! I just pair the scientific words with the things they are already doing.
I’m always on the look-out for simple, safe demonstrations and experiments that don’t require a lot of extra materials or ingredients. I love being able to pull together something interesting without a lot of prep.
Some of the places I get ideas for science play are:
- Steve Spangler Science
- Science Bob
- AIMS Education Foundation: They have a few free lesson plans, as well as a store full of inexpensive downloadable lessons.
- Science Explorer activities from the Exploratorium Museum
- Bill Nye the Science Guy Home Demos
- Science experiments & projects from Lakeshore Learning Teacher’s Corner
Many of the demonstrations and experiments on these sites are appropriate for preschoolers and up – with help from a willing grown-up, of course!
How can you incorporate more science play into your child’s playtime?
- Keep some basic materials on hand for easy-prep science projects: salt, baking soda, vinegar, cornstarch, food coloring, oil, borax, balloons, etc.
- Have a Family Science Night – just like a Movie Night or Game Night, spend an evening doing experiments together!
- Set-up an experiment at night so you can grab-and-go the next day when the mood strikes.
- Remember that science play is all about experimenting and discovering – prepare for mess and go for it!
What does science play look like in your house or classroom? Do you have a great science resource for young kids? If so, please share!