Children are born with a natural sense of curiosity that makes them want to explore the world. However, it is up to the adults in their life to provide them with sensory experiences that spark their learning. As a parent, you know that developing an interest in science teaches your child skills that will last a lifetime, so use these strategies to make scientific exploration a priority in your home.
Collaborate With Your Child's Teacher
Science activities are a major part of every preschool curriculum, and incorporating what your child is learning at school into your at-home activities reinforces their learning. Talk to your child's teacher, and ask about what concepts they are covering in their lesson plan. Then, use this information to plan experiments. For example, you could watch colored dye make its way up celery stalks if they are learning about plants. Alternatively, a sink and float activity is perfect for a week when they are learning about the properties of water.
Parents are often hesitant about exposing their child to technology at an early age, but small amounts of exposure to computers and smartphones are great for stimulating an interest in science. If your child asks a question that you are not sure about the answer, then show them how you can use technology to look up the answer. Searching for images of different animal species, watching a video of a jaguar run or listening to recordings of birds singing are all ways to build upon a child's interest in science.
Plan Authentic Experiences
Reading a book about ocean animals is an enjoyable activity, but remember that visiting an aquarium brings the science lesson to life for young children. When possible, find activities that provide a real life opportunity for your child to interact with the world. For example, a nature walk is one science activity that you can do in your own backyard, or you can expand it to include a hike through the wilderness. As you participate in the experiences together, remember to scaffold their learning by asking questions that encourage them to share their observations.
Children are inquisitive, and preschoolers have a natural interest in learning about the world that you can use to teach valuable lessons in science. Remember, that exploring is sometimes a messy process, so be prepared to throw on some old clothes and let your child get their hands dirty. By showing them that there is always something new to observe and explore, your child will retain their natural sense of curiosity and learn how to direct it toward developing their scientific knowledge.
For more information, talk to a professional like Small World Early Learning & Development Center.