A child’s curiosity about the world is the trigger for all meaningful learning. Scientific thinking based on discovering how the world works can start in fun and simple ways long before children are introduced to the theory of science at school.
Kids learn by doing. Hands-on science encourages the children to DO something – observe, ask questions, touch, smell, experiment.
Allowing children to really get into science gives them the chance to make discoveries on their own. They’ll be more likely to remember a learning experience if it’s just that . . . a real experience.
“For young learners, science is just an extension of their everyday world. We don’t have to teach young children how to wonder, discover, and explore through play because they do it naturally.”
Steve Spangler– teacher, speaker, author, and Emmy-award winning television personality
Critical thinking skills are enhanced during such science activities. Kids can ask the why, how, and what questions. Even better, they can help answer the questions themselves. They can learn the scientific process along the way!
- Cause and effect
- I wonder why?
- What if?
- Action and reaction
STEM, STEAM, STREAM
With industry’s call to focus on STEAM subjects – science, technology, engineering, art and maths, this all starts in the early years and once a child’s sense of curiosity has been piqued (by the way, the R is for Reading and wRiting which form an integral part of a child’s thinking processes). What these acronyms mean to me is that meaningful learning today is increasingly about cross-disciplinary learning rather than learning in silos. Finding out where these disciplines intersect shows how interrelated all aspects of life and learning actually are. And this is what we need kids to actually understand – that all systems in life are interacting and impacting on each other all the time. Nothing exists in isolation.
Young children are primed for learning
Young children are primed for learning. Spend a few hours with a curious child and you will get a million questions, from “Why is the sky blue?” to “How did I get here?” Learning should not be something that only happens between the four walls of a classroom, but something that happens everywhere!
Learning is about discovering how life works. Around every corner is a new curiosity, and children are not afraid to ask “How?” and “Why?” This is the basis of scientific enquiry and it needs to be ignited and encouraged.
Grasp these moments as a parent, and even construct opportunities to induce these moments to encourage scientific enquiry in your child. It doesn’t have to be complicated and there is so much on Youtube and Facebook to inspire you. Here are some great sites to visit for simple but powerful ideas:
Making Fun Out Of Nothing Experiment ideas
Here are some of my simple experiment ideas you can do at home with your children that they will love.
Science experiments in a box
There are many commercially available science experiments in a box. Here are some good brands to look at: