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, so I will tweak that quote:
Children are born with not just a need, but a hunger to explore. That’s why they put everything in their mouth!
- Run some water in the sink or a big container. Round up some objects like a plastic fork or spoon, an old toothbrush, popsicle stick, metal spoon, sponge, jar lid, etc. Let the kids explore what floats and sinks.
- Using a coffee filter, kids color with markers, wax crayons, pens, and pencils. Once that’s done, kids can spray the filter with water. What happens to the colors? Do all of them spread out?
- Make up a batch of slime. What happens to it when it’s stretched out? Will it stay rolled up in a ball?
- Chocolate chips look like tiny mountains and stay the same shape. For a tasty exploration, stir up a batch of cookies and discover what happens to them after baking. They disappear! Oh, and the chocolate melted? Better eat another one to make sure.
Children explore and discover as they play. Of course, they explore things we wish they didn’t, like what happens to the wading pool when a bucket of sand is dumped in the water, or how orange juice doesn’t make good gravy for mashed potatoes. It might be all in the name of science, but the results give parents gray hairs, or worse, scary nightmares.
One afternoon when playing in the park, my son discovered what happens when riding a shopping cart down a hill. How about your kids? Any memorable discoveries as a result of their explorations and play?