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.

Dinosaurs and Prehistoric People Did Not Coexist!

Why did Disney have to go there? Dinosaurs and humans co-existing? The new Disney/Pixar movie entitled “The Good Dinosaur“ is based on the premise that a particular meteor does not collide with earth, the same meteor whose impact is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. This lucky circumstance in the movie results in the dinosaurs surviving and eventually overlapping with the first prehistoric people. Unfortunately, most young children probably will not recognize that the premise of the movie [...]

2018-10-05T14:37:15+00:00November 22nd, 2015|Kids Activities|

Where Does Food Come From? The BLT

Does your child know where her food comes from? Why not ask? A fun set of questions asked regularly can help kick start thinking about the source of our food. This is just the beginning of further explorations into how our food is grown, prepared, and consequences for our health. There are many different things we eat, so before the topic becomes overwhelming, start at the beginning. Deconstruct a favorite food. Today’s example is a BLT or bacon, lettuce [...]

2018-10-05T14:43:05+00:00October 6th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Flying, Stinging Insects

Our last post on insects explored the world of flying, biting bugs, or specifically mosquitos and flies. This post delves into the world of flying, stinging insects. What is the difference between biting and stinging insects? An easy place to start is to ask which end of its body is doing the biting (think the area of the head or mouth) versus the stinging (think about the other end of its body or the tail end)? Additional differences will [...]

2018-10-05T14:46:15+00:00September 28th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Kitchen Science: Milk and Dairy Products

The small moments of everyday life present huge opportunities for learning about the world around us.  Pouring a glass of milk is a learning opportunity.  Start with a question to get the conversation rolling. Questions Why do we have to drink milk? How is drinking milk good for you or what parts of you benefit from drinking milk? How does milk compare to other foods that are supposed to be good for you? Where does milk come from? Do [...]

2018-10-05T14:52:52+00:00August 27th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Everyday Science: Soap

Who doesn’t love a hot bath? Well, lots of kids aren’t so happy about their encounters with soap and water, preferring to avoid cleaning behind their ears and between their toes. How to handle those reluctant bathers? How about exploring the mysteries of soap!  Questions Where does soap come from or what is it made of? How many different kinds of soaps are there? Did the cavemen have soap? How about the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans? Were the Dark [...]

2018-10-05T14:59:19+00:00August 16th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Activities for Summer: Biting Bugs

Summer is here and we’re all enjoying the warmth of the sun, longer days, and perhaps a vacation somewhere exciting or relaxing. We are also swatting at biting flies, scratching those mosquito bites, and hopefully taking precautions to avoid ticks. My recollections of my childhood include legs covered in red bumps and little scabs because I could not control the urge to scratch. The mosquitoes liked me, meaning that running around was as much about enjoying that Capture the [...]

2018-10-05T15:02:11+00:00July 14th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Pirate Play: Activities for Exploring Their Life and Times

Do you have a young pirate on board? Aaarrgh (I know, cliché, but fun to type)! Want to extend her play with some tips about pirate life? If your pirate is in full fantasy mode its best not interrupt but let the creativity flow. If there is a pause and an opportunity to ask a question or inject an idea, then do so. Or wait until later, at dinner or during bath time, acknowledging his play as a pirate [...]

2018-10-05T15:08:37+00:00July 6th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Fun Life Science Activities: Exploring Feet

My last post described a concept that is the foundation of the physical sciences, or materials and their properties. Similar core concepts are advanced in relation to studying the life sciences. For example, in discussions of plants or animals, or our bodies and our health, it is typical to ask what something, say a beak or a tail, looks like, or what is its form. But an important follow-up question is what does it do? That is, what is [...]

2018-10-05T15:10:51+00:00June 18th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Magnificent Metals

Standards that are meant to inform teachers about what to focus on in classroom science classes include references to materials and their properties. Understanding the concept of materials is fundamental in science. For young children, this translates into identifying what things are made of and answering the question of how they know something is, for example, paper, stone, or glass. You can distinguish a material based on its properties, or those things that make it special or unique. Which [...]

2018-10-05T15:27:19+00:00June 9th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Learning about Wild Things: Squirrels and Chipmunks

You have probably noticed us all winter, as we scampered over the snow. We did our best to survive the cold. But now that it is spring and warmer, we are beside ourselves with work, gathering food, building nests and preparing for or tending to the new additions to our families. Explore these animals that can make us laugh with the following suggestions for activities.  Questions What do squirrels and chipmunks eat? Where or how do they live? How [...]

2018-10-05T15:31:05+00:00May 13th, 2015|Kids Activities|