Doing hands-on science activities at home is a great way to fuel your young child’s natural curiosity and innate sense of wonder. You don’t necessarily need a formal science curriculum in the early years. Engaging projects using materials you already have around the house will go a long way toward piquing your child’s interest in science. Here are some fun science activities you can enjoy with your little one.
- Weather Watching
Check the weather outside each morning, and track your observations on the squares of a calendar or graph the data on a simple chart. You can use a different picture symbol to represent sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy or snowy days. At the end of the month, see which type of weather you had the most and the least. Try comparing the results at different times of year, noting the differences you observe from spring to summer to fall to winter.
- Sink or Float?
Assemble a small tub of water and a variety of household objects (you might use a key, a paper clip, a cork, a button, a marble, a feather, a popsicle stick, a plastic utensil, a metal utensil, or some small waterproof toys). Have your child guess which objects will float and which will sink. Show them how to gently place each item in the water to check their hypothesis. Help them make one pile for objects that sink and another pile for the ones that float. Were there any surprises?
- Color Collage
Sorting objects by shape, size, and color is a great skill for your little learners, and working with color is a great place to start. Give your child a variety of collage materials of different colors such as stickers, foam shapes, feathers, buttons, pom-poms or pieces of felt. Give your child a piece of construction paper that you’ve divided into fourths using a pen or marker. Let them choose one color for each quadrant and write the name at the top. Then help the child glue their collage items in the correct square. Once color sorting is mastered, let your child suggest other ways they might sort items (hard vs. soft, big vs. small, etc.).
- Seed Jar Science
Your little ones will love watching seeds grow in a clear jar so that they can see up close what happens under the ground when seeds sprout. Stuff a large clear glass or plastic jar with paper towel (a mason jar works perfectly). Push seeds down between the jar and the paper towel. Then add water until the paper towel is moist, but not sopping. Keep the paper towel wet, and watch as your seeds come to life. You can use a few different varieties of seeds such as beans, peas, and sunflowers if you want to compare what they look like and how long it takes them to sprout.
- Nature Feels
Collect pairs of natural objects (for example, two pinecones, two rocks, two twigs, two leaves). Blindfold your child and challenge them to match the pairs using just the sense of touch.