Do you have 5 minutes? Select from the following a topic your child has shown interest in. Here are ideas for starting conversations, extending purposeful play, capitalizing on curiosity, and having fun in day-to-day interactions. Don’t try everything in these lists at once. Follow your child’s lead, building on that inquisitiveness incrementally, revisiting a topic with new suggestions for an observation, a comparison, measurement, or experiment. Repetition and practice promote learning. These ideas should help you to stay one-step-ahead in helping to grow wonder and understanding. For more information, please also read the “What is Guiding Curiosity” page, or the our book for sale titled “Guiding Curiosity: Nurturing the Young Scientist.” We hope you enjoy sharing these activities with your child.

Lessons of Winter: Snow and Ice

Consider exploring the world of frozen water. This time of year, your child can discover fascinating things about ice and snow (snow flakes) – especially if you live where winter brings this delight right to your doorstep. If not, then maybe some creative fun putting things into the refrigerator can work too. Snow, specifically individual snowflakes, is actually geometric arrangements of tiny particles of ice. They are typically not single crystals but complex geometric arrangements of many ice crystals [...]

2019-01-15T19:17:31+00:00January 15th, 2019|Kids Activities|

The Magnificent Moon: Earth Science and Beyond

A man in the moon, cows jumping over the moon, the moon is made of cheese. Oh, the things children hear about the moon. The moon is the most apparent object in the night sky. It is easy for children to see, at least for part of the lunar cycle. And then it disappears, giving it an air of mystery. Exploring the moon is a great introduction to planetary science.  Questions How come I can see the moon sometimes [...]

2018-11-05T15:00:30+00:00November 5th, 2018|Kids Activities|

Wild Versus Domestic Animals: How Animals Live

Science related activities and school curriculums for young children commonly cover life science topics related to animals. Most children tend to be naturally fascinated by animals of all sorts and these lessons capitalize on their deep interest. Plus conversations about animals open up opportunities to explore several basic tenets of biology. The goal of lessons about animals is helping children understand the characteristics and structures of living things, how they live, and how things interact with each other (including [...]

2018-11-05T14:11:03+00:00October 29th, 2018|Kids Activities|

Splendiferous Spiders: Give This Activity a Spin!

Spiders! I know, not everyone’s favorite subject. For children, spiders are the stuff of legend. Think of Charlotte’s Web, the itsy-bitsy spider, Miss Spider’s Tea Party, The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, and Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider. Spiders are a great subject to spend some time talking about with children because these conversations can clear up a variety of misconceptions and lead to an understanding that is grounded in science. First, spiders are NOT insects. [...]

2018-10-19T19:08:43+00:00October 18th, 2018|Kids Activities|

Elections and Exploring Voting Behavior

Children are acutely aware of news about mid-term and presidential elections. They hear the television coverage, campaign ads, and they listen to folks on the radio talking about the elections. They see news media images, bumper stickers, and t-shirts. They can feel the excitement of supporting a candidate, the apathy, the frustration, and the hate tied to the vitriol. Children cannot vote, but they are forming opinions about the race, the candidates, elections, and how democracy works (or doesn’t). [...]

2018-10-11T19:10:21+00:00October 11th, 2018|Kids Activities|

What are things made of? Exploring Wood and It’s Properties.

In previous posts, we invited you to explore with your child what things are made of.   Exploring materials and their properties is fun, but also a basic step in understanding the world around us. The following activity focuses on wood as a material that things are made of, particularly things in our homes. Here are some informal learning opportunities you can do inside during the coming winter months. Wood is one of our most important natural resources. It is [...]

2018-10-05T14:18:15+00:00January 17th, 2016|Kids Activities|

Kitchen Science: Acids, Bases and Common Kitchen Chemical Reactions

Chemistry doesn’t have to wait until high school. You and your child can create impressive chemical reactions in your kitchen now, right before his eyes. Lessons in chemistry can be as simple as combining ingredients used every day in cooking. With some help, your child will discover materials that when combined produce results representing foundational ideas of chemistry; concepts that are easy to grasp when seen and result from your child’s own actions. Today, let’s talk about acids. Acids [...]

2018-10-05T14:24:02+00:00January 9th, 2016|Kids Activities|

Real Reindeer!

Tis the season! Lights, tinsel, ornaments, trees and oh those reindeer! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen…Vixen seems an interesting choice of a name for something associated with Christmas. But okay. And don’t forget Rudolph! Shiney red nose and all. These are all delightful references to be enjoyed this time of year, but maybe there is a window of opportunity here to explore real reindeer. Fascinating and spectacularly beautiful creatures that actually bear little resemblance to the cartoonish images we are [...]

2018-10-05T14:25:31+00:00December 19th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Animal Adaptation: Winter

As temperatures drop I find myself wondering how the animals in my yard cope with the cold. I have heard children ask questions that suggest that they too are concerned about how animals live in the cold. How do birds keep their little feet warm? Do they have enough feathers to keep from freezing? Do rabbits hop because their feet get cold on the snow? I live in the desert so temperatures rarely dip below freezing at night and [...]

2018-10-05T14:30:06+00:00December 16th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Make Room for Maps

Where am I? Where are we going? Where did the Pilgrims live? Where do penguins come from? Is your child likely to ask “where” questions? If these sound familiar, maybe it is a good time to introduce maps and the broader concept of geography. Over the years I have met many folks who find maps daunting. I am sure that these same folks are grateful for the navigational applications on their phones; apps that can instruct them on how [...]

2018-10-05T14:33:17+00:00November 28th, 2015|Kids Activities|