In the second of this two part series, I hope to provide you with some ideas to support and foster your growing scientists.
Last time we discussed how they need access to nonfiction books in whatever they are interested in, but they also need to see scientists who look like them. This can be found in non fiction books, fiction books, Netflix, YouTube etc. They can take notes in a special notebook, especially their questions and observations, and label the parts of things! Taking the notebook everywhere will be useful for what we're talking about in this series! Even if you aren't going anywhere, have them take it outside with them to play. (Seriously, take it everywhere, even if it's just for drawing what they see... It creates good habits).
If you have the opportunity to visit a place like this, you've already made your little into a budding scientist! These places are just exploding with a science mindset. Of course, give them time to write or draw in their notebooks. Let them ask the "experts" their questions. Let them take the pictures instead of you. Let them choose where to go once they are inside. Talk about the weather and environment in the habitats if applicable. Discuss things you notice that are the same or are different (the way animals move, the way they look, how they camouflage, etc).
If you're going out for an adventure, why don't you let your little scientist plan their lunch to take? This helps problem solving and logic skills, because what you take needs to make sense for the location. It also helps with independence and life skills. They can use their notebook to write the list, which has a ton of benefits for literacy development, too! And even if you aren't going anywhere, let your little plan a meal and help shop for it and cook it with you! Talk about all the math that goes into shopping and cooking, such as planning, money, time, and measurement. Also discuss how heat changes things (microwave, oven, stove) and how freezing can changes things too! Do a little freezing and boiling water experiment while you're in the kitchen! PS don't forget your reusable grocery bags!
There are so many things to do outside, that I won't be able to touch on all of them. You can follow our Pinterest page to find more! Like we discussed last time, planting anything is a great outdoor activity. Observing how it changes and grows, as well as how water/rain, sunlight, and the season effect the plants is an amazing science project. Always remember to go on nature walks, parks, or hikes if possible, and pay attention to plants and animals. If you see trash, pick it up and throw it away or recycle! Our totes are great to take on a hike because they fold up small, but hold a lot and are lightweight! Remember those leaf rubbings, rain collections, shadow experiments, evaporation and sun fading paper things we did as kids? Still fun today! Remember how we used to chase fireflies and dig up worms and climb trees? Still fun today and all science! Just remind them to observe, be kind, and take notes ;)