Everyday is full of science learning opportunities for children. Parents can easily instruct children in scientific thinking without chemistry sets or expensive equipment. In this article, I would like to offer some very simple and easy ideas for parents to complete with their children to encourage a positive attitude about science.
· Observe a flower or vegetable in your yard. Make estimations on how long it will take for the flower to bloom or the vegetable to mature. Create an estimation game among your children and see who has the closest answer.
· Observe the moon on a nightly basis for the length of a month. Have your children draw the moon each night and compare its shape to previous nights.
· Let your child experience the growth of a baby animal. It is great if you have a dog, cat, cow, or other animal that gives birth. (Your child does not have to experience the actual birth if you are uncomfortable with it). Let your child see the newborn and observe it daily as it grows. Discuss what actions the baby is capable of carrying out and determine what it will learn or develop next.
· Encourage your child to help in the kitchen. Prepare a cake together. Encourage your child to use measurement. Discuss the importance of each ingredient. Ask your child how you can determine when the cake is done. Discuss the difference in the cake’s texture before and after cooking.
· Observe a plant that is wilted or mold that is growing. Ask your child for possible explanations.
· For smaller children, simple actions such as ice cream melting or ants swarming to a fallen cookie can spark great scientific conversations.