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.

Mud Season

For many folks around the country, it is spring, which means mud season. If you have young children in your home you are are probably dreading the extra cleaning that comes with the season. Coping with muddy shoes, pant hems, and fingers may be in your future. You may even find mud in ears and belly buttons. If you are surrounded by mud, then there is either melting snow nearby or it has rained recently. For those of you [...]

2018-10-05T15:34:13+00:00May 8th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Flying Insects I: Butterflies and Moths

I saved many of my children’s drawings and artwork from when they were little. Among these, the family, our house, and pets are well represented. There are also numerous drawings or paintings of butterflies. My girls were not alone in their interest in depicting butterflies, as this a common subject in the art of young children, both boys and girls. Perhaps this focus can be attributed to Eric Carle and the popularity of his book The Hungry Caterpillar; a [...]

2018-10-05T15:41:06+00:00April 16th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Weather Wow

Weather is a topic of conversation we have with our friends, relatives, co-workers, and even strangers. Your child is both aware of these conversations and likely to express her own ideas about the weather. Here is a terrific opportunity to capitalize on her interest and start an ongoing conversation about an exploration of something obvious and readily sensed. Understanding weather has important consequences for daily decisions about what to wear and choosing play activities. It also has important implications [...]

2018-10-05T15:47:08+00:00February 11th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Start with Salt

Being stuck indoors because of cold or wet weather is not an excuse for ignoring topics in earth or physical sciences. In your kitchen, there are several ingredients that can be “mined” for information. Let’s start with salt. Salt is a basic ingredient in cooking. While there is much written about limiting salt in our diets relative to our health, it is a nutrient we cannot live without. It origins are fascinating as are its capacity to inform understanding [...]

2018-10-05T15:52:22+00:00January 14th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Backyard Birds

As I write this, a hummingbird flits outside the window of my office. She pauses, seemingly peering in, checking me out. I am lucky to live in Arizona where about 13 species of hummingbirds can be spotted at various times throughout the year. If you live east of the Mississippi, you have one species or the ruby-throated hummingbird. One species, but they are always a special treat to see. On a tree branch close to my back door, I [...]

2018-10-05T16:43:05+00:00January 9th, 2015|Kids Activities|

Holiday Plants II

In a previous post you and your child were invited to search for, identify and explore evergreen plants included in holiday decorations. Many holiday traditions include other plant-based products. So let the treasure hunt continue! Can your child see, smell, taste, or feel other organic components in holiday-related activities? Decorations for trees, wreaths, and garlands can include popcorn, cranberries, and other plant-based food items (dried citrus fruit slices). What can your child find when looking closely? Look for the [...]

2018-10-05T19:39:23+00:00December 18th, 2014|Kids Activities|

Amidst the Clutter: Identify Holiday Plants

The holidays are upon us and with them the garish decorations, obnoxious music, and enticements to spend money. Don’t get me wrong. I love many aspects of the holidays, just not the hype. I also worry that instead of the “magic” we hope young children will experience, all of the excesses can be over stimulating. So parents need to find a way to assist their youngest family members in focusing their attention and discovering aspects of the season that [...]

2018-10-05T19:26:56+00:00December 8th, 2014|Kids Activities|

Thinking Turkeys

It's turkey time! As you prepare to enjoy holiday meals with your family, consider including your child in the preparation of various dishes. Your kitchen is most likely a hectic place this time of year, nerves are already frazzled, and the kids are wound up. Still, in the spirit of the “family” in family holidays, include your kids in planning and doing when you can. It allows them to make contributions to and feel invested in family traditions. Furthermore, [...]

2018-10-05T19:55:20+00:00November 27th, 2014|Kids Activities|

Mounds and Pounds of Pumpkins

The mounds of orange in front of roadside farm stands or the grocery store are hard to miss this time of year. It’s Fall and pumpkins are in season.   If you buy pumpkins to carve into Jack O Lanterns, or even if you don’t carve them for decorative purposes, think of all the great questions and learning opportunities pumpkins present. They are bigger than most fruit and vegetables (pumpkins are a fruit) and can be great fun to [...]

2018-10-05T20:28:26+00:00October 21st, 2014|Kids Activities|

Sink Your Teeth Into Learning

Is brushing teeth in your household a fun and routine activity or is it a struggle? Either way, teeth brushing is an essential habit to develop among young children, and if your child resists, I hope you can persist. Discussions of teeth, beyond the question of "did you brush?", can also be routine. Teeth are fascinating to young children. Unlike some aspects of children’s bodies, their teeth can be readily seen and felt, their function, or chewing food, is [...]

2018-10-05T21:12:55+00:00September 30th, 2014|Kids Activities|