science and kids

February Friendship #8: Kids Can Be Friends with Science

Instead of kids can be friends with science, maybe this should be adults can be. Kids are always exploring and trying things out to see what happens. For us, kids’ science play isn’t such fun when we answer 300 questions a day or wait while a child throws double that number of rocks in the lake. But, science play is full of wonder for kids and it can easily be part of your child’s day.

science activities with rocks

Science play can happen in a sink or container with water. Young toddlers to older preschoolers enjoy pouring, scooping, and swishing water. Add a few small containers and spoons, with and without holes for them to play with. Some things will float and some sink. Let your child try other objects like a jar lid, an old toothbrush, a small stone, a popsicle stick, a straw and other bits to check and see what floats and sinks. A word of caution—make sure the object is too big to go down the drain when you pull the plug.

science fun float sink

Cooking includes science too. What happens when food is mixed together? Stirring changes flour and butter into a batter, but it doesn’t change apples, oranges, and berries when they are mixed in a fruit salad. When cookie batter is baked in the oven, it changes even more.

science fun cookies

A simple walk around the block can connect a child to science too. What’s the weather doing? Each day the sky will change and, on the ground, there will be some new things to see and some the same as the day before.

children and nature wonder

Ordinary ingredients we have on hand, like baking soda and vinegar, are science experiments just waiting to fizz. Soap and water make bubbles, hands and a flashlight create shadows. Our own bodies and five senses are science marvels. Discovering all the things a body can do is pretty exciting. Kids are highly sensory and love to play with a batch of slime or goop or even fun with water play

Supporting children’s curiosity will sometimes give us gray hairs but we need to make sure science is part of each child’s world. As parents and caregivers, you have both experiences and experiments to share. What are some other ways kids can be friends with science?


Halloween Treat Learning Activities: Simple Science

Halloween treats are sweet to eat and just as sweet to use in some simple science experiments with toddlers and preschoolers. There are lots of great ideas on the internet and this is from someone else, but I have no idea who to thank for this suggestion.

This science fun comes in two parts and needs 2 gummy bears and 1 small bowl of water. First, you can ask your child if a gummy bear will float in water or if it will sink. It looks very light but try one and see. Did it float or did it sink?

Next, you can ask: Will a gummy bear change when it’s put into water? Put one bear into the water and leave one out to compare. The hard part is waiting for some change. This takes quite awhile so maybe set the timer for 30 minutes and then an hour and check when it rings. Has anything happened? Usually, the bear in the bowl will soak up some water and swell, but this might take a couple of hours. Sometimes, you can see little bubbles around the bear. Does anything happen to the water?

simple science with candyYou can ask your child why s/he thinks the bear that was in the water is bigger than the one out of the water. Do kids get bigger when they have a bath or go swimming?

It’s fun to repeat this experiment with other candies, like Smarties and M&Ms. Will they float or sink? Do they get bigger or do they dissolve? What happens to the water this time?

Science and kids are a sweet combination. Kids are curious and ask lots of questions. Would you believe that kids ask more than 300 questions a day? I wonder who had the patience to count. What other science activities can kids do with Halloween treats and candies?

Halloween Fizzy Ghost Science Fun

Have you ever tried making your own ghosts? We made some active ghosts as we played in the kitchen using ordinary, everyday ingredients and a bit of chemistry.

Halloween fizzy ghost scienceTo make ghosts, put a few spoonfuls of baking soda into a bowl. While a grownup slowly adds water to the baking soda, kids can stir. Only use enough water to make a thick paste. Once that’s ready, fill a few spaces in an empty ice cube tray. We put 2 googly eyes in each cube and then put them in the freezer.

After an hour or so, or you can leave them longer, we popped them out of the tray and into a clear container. Now, for the chemistry. Pour some vinegar into a small bowl and using an eye-dropper squirt vinegar onto the baking-soda ghost cube. The ghost starts to fizz and foam and the googly eyes move in the liquid.

This was easy to do and quite exciting to watch for a 3 year old and a 6 year old. The soda cube got smaller and smaller with each squirt and there was more and more bubbling and fizzing. Afterwards, Big Sister wanted to know if water would work instead of vinegar. We tried plain water on one of the cubes, which melted but didn’t fizz. Little Sister liked making the cube smaller and smaller and all ‘melty’.

Kids are scientists by nature. They are always trying to see what will happen, from constantly dropping a spoon over the edge of a high chair to putting the cat in the kiddie pool. Kids like to explore and discover. Did you know that kids ask more than 300 questions a day? Besides answering all these questions, we can support their curiosity with some simple science in the kitchen. Would your kids be interested in making their very own ghosts for Halloween?

For Children, is Science Academics or is it Play?

How much science do you think children need to know before kindergarten? And why would it be important before starting school? Those are great questions, and if they answers aren’t exact, it makes for an interesting discussion. While early childhood programs are not the same in different areas, we usually assume that kids have some … Continue reading For Children, is Science Academics or is it Play?

Children Have a Need and Hunger to Explore

As parents and caregivers, we are also responsible for the raising of children’s minds. The ancient philosopher Plutarch said: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” It might be that we had enough fire on the weekend–the wood got damp and the fire smoked more than burned, … Continue reading Children Have a Need and Hunger to Explore

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 17: Magic aka Science

Kids CAN make their own magic! It’s called science… Kids are natural scientists, curious and wanting to know. Days spent figuring things out, trying, exploring, and asking questions are a big part of what makes childhood magical. I’m sure it’s no surprise to many parents that children ask more than 300 questions a day! Asking … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 17: Magic aka Science

Kindergarten Readiness: Science Fun with Shadows

As children play and discover, they also learn about the world and develop skills and knowledge they will use beyond kindergarten readiness. Besides rainbows, children love to play with light and shadows. Do you remember playing  with shadows? The weather doesn’t always cooperate,but if it’s sunny where you and your child are, see if you … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Science Fun with Shadows

Kindergarten Readiness: I Spy Something Green

For a St. Patrick’s Day, science, nature, green, and kindergarten readiness activity, how about an I Spy activity? Time in nature is a treasure that enriches us in all kinds of ways. For kids, outside play also helps them develop their connection to nature and gives them an opportunity for both fun and learning. Today’s … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: I Spy Something Green

Kindergarten Readiness: Science in an Orange

Science and kindergarten readiness fun and learning do not need to be something that kids do, it can be something they eat! Today’s play-of-the-day is both a make and a taste with little ones sharing in the activity as much as is appropriate. With so many food items available prepackaged or processed, kids do not … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Science in an Orange