The following activities such as nature walks, looking up at the sky, or planting a seed can be used to help increase the understanding of the environment surrounding us through physical science, life science, and earth science.
(Sink or Float) During bath time provide several different objects for your child to play with in the tub. (i.e. a rubber duck, a metal spoon, a plastic bowl, etc.). Talk about why some sink and some float. Do some "experiments" to see if you can change what they do. Fill to bowl with water, for example, to see if it will sink.
(Matter) Make jello with your kids. Have them use their senses to observe and describe the changes from liquid to solid. Eat and enjoy!
(Sensory) Create a "feely" bag using a bag or old sock. Place objects in the bag & have your child identify the objects by touching only. Ask your child to identify the objects & describe how it feels (soft/hard, smooth/bumpy, etc.).
(Force of Gravity) Provide a variety of items to drop, such as, a tissue, feather, blocks, paper, coins, piece of tape, small metal car, ribbon, stuffed toy, etc. Drop items from various heights: from a deck, a staircase, or a chair. Make predictions and hypothesize. Test the ideas. Which goes slower, faster, twirl around, float?
Take a nature walk & collect rocks. Have your child sort the rocks by as many possible (size, color, texture, shape, etc.).
Check out books from your local library about animals, plants, and other science concepts.
Look at the night sky for several weeks around the same time and locate the moon. Is it behind a treee, over the garage, or across the street? Does it change places? Does it seem higher or lower in the sky? Does it change shape? Invite your child to draw a picture showing all the different wayss he/she has seen the moon each evening.
On the weekend allow your child to check the weather and decide what to wear.
Help you child learn about life science through planting a seed (such as a bean or grass seeds) in a small cup or pot. Talk with your child about what the plant needs to grow, such as water and light. Have your child draw a picture of the plant once a week to chart the plant's grow.
Water Play - Help your child learn about science through water play
Beginning with Eyedroppers - children will improve their fine motor coordination with this activity. Materials: Eyedroppers, pouring cups, food coloring, measuring cups, beakers, various containers 1. Fill the largest measuring cup with water 2. Show them how to place the tip of an eyedropper in the water, squeeze the bulb, then release it to draw water into the tube. 3. To release the water, have them place the tip over an empty beaker and squeeze the bulb. Encourage them to practice squeezing and releasing the bulb to control the flow of water. 4. Have them use the eyedroppers to move water back and forth between the pouring cup, measuring cups, beakers and other containers. Extension: Place six plastic containers in a circle and put a drop of food coloring in each container. Prompt the children to use the eyedroppers to put water into each container. Have them observe what colors are made.
Transporting Water - this hands on activity shows your child faster ways to move or transport water. Materials: a non-electrical hand-held water pump, basters, bucket, measuring cups 1. Fill a water table, sink, or tub with water 2. Hold a baster underwater and squeeze the bulb. Release the bulb so that water flows into the baster, then squirt the water into a measuring cup. 3. To show an even faster way to move water, hold the bottom of the water pump in the water. Pump the water up through the water pump and into the bucket.
Blow Your Boats - this fun activity shows children how air currents move objects. Materials: plastic boats 1. Fill a water table, tub, or sink with water and put the boats at one end. 2. Prompt the child(ren) to gently blow on the boats until they start to move. Talk about how the air makes the boats move. 3. Challenge the child(ren) to move the boats all the way to the other end of the water.
The Amazing Waterwheel - waterwheels have been around for at least 500 years in the form of devices that use the energy of moving water to grind grain or perform other useful work. Materials: waterwheels, measuring cups, pouring cups 1. Fill a water table, sink, or tub with water 2. Put the waterwheels in the water along with a variety of pouring devices, such as measuring cups and pouring cups. 3. Let them take turns pouring water into the waterwheels and observing the results. Encourage them to pour water faster, slower, and from different heights to see what this has on the speed of the waterwheels.
Water Pump Fun - imagine all the fun your child(ren) will have making a water pump. Materials: vinyl tubing, press-pump bottle, funnel, beakers, water pump, food coloring 1. Fill a water table, sink, or tub with water. (color the water if you wish) 2. Put the water pump into the water and have the child9ren) practice using it. 3. To create your own water pump, attach one end of the vinyl tubing to the tip of the press-pump. Then fill the bottle with water using a funnel. Place the press-pump onto the bottle and fasten it tightly. 4. Place the other end of the tubing into one of the beakers. Slowly pump the bottle, filling each beaker up to a predetermined number (1 through 10).
Make a Simple Siphon - this activity introduces children to a seemingly mysterious (yet very practical) method of transporting water-the siphon. Materials: bucket, 2-cup measuring cup, baster, block of wood, vinyl tubing 1. Place the bucket on a block of wood to lift it off the table, then fill in with two cups of water 2. Place the largest measuring cup (2 cups) directly on the table so that it is lower than the bucket 3. Place the tip of a baster into one end of the vinyl tube, then put the other end of the tube into the bucket. 4. Squeeze the bulb and release it to draw water into the tubing. 5. Remove the tip of the baster from the tubing and place that end of the tubing into the measuring cup so that water flows from the bucket into the measuring cup. Explain to them that when you removed the baster from the tubing, gravity caused the water to flow. If you lift up the tube while it still is filled with water, the water will flow back the other way.