Babies use their five senses to gather physical knowledge about their brand new world. Their major scientific tools - eyes, ears, skin, fingers, and mouths - are at the ready to investigate and experiment. The moving shadow on the wall, the noise of a truck, the beep of the microwave, the taste and texture of Jello®, the soft fur of a dog, or the smell of lilacs - the opportunities for discovery are limitless. During their first year, baby explorers progress from seeing to looking, feeling to touching, hearing to listening, smelling to sniffing.
Toddlers are active, mobile investigators, exploring with zeal, and applying language to their experiences. They have advanced from passively observing to making things happen. Toddlers' skills are rapidly advancing. From filling and dumping… to lining up and sorting…from manipulating to collecting and classifying. Toddlers understand sameness and similarity, and cause and effect fascinates them. Encourage your toddler to experiment with textures, such as natural materials, Play-Doh® or fabrics - this will also facilitate fine motor development (e.g., using the thumb and forefinger). Water play is also a great way to experiment with new found skills like pouring and mixing.
Through meaningful play, preschool children are ready to engage in constant research and experimentation about their growing world - testing theories, exploring properties, making important breakthroughs, and learning how things work. By providing productive scientific opportunities to explore - like mixing paint colors or making pancakes - you can inspire an l attitude of inquiry, discovery, and love of learning. These experiences nurture curiosity, wonder, critical thinking, and an active engagement with their environment - all essential skills needed for success in school and life.
Enthusiastic, engaged, and curious, pre-kindergarteners are poised for scientific discovery. As their cognitive and physical abilities develop, they are increasingly able to advance scientific reasoning, to develop and test their own theories, and to engage in long-term experiments. As a parent, you can look for opportunities to build on your child's prior knowledge, leading to new understandings and skills. Scientific study becomes even more fun and exciting, as pre-kindergarteners are ready to use developmentally-appropriate tools and technology like rulers, flashlights, and magnets. They are also ready to record their findings through drawing and emerging pre-writing skills.
Kindergarteners are highly engaged and persistent problem-solvers, ready to experiment using many methods. At this age, children can develop their own hypotheses, make predictions, and draw conclusions. As a parent, you can help your active kindergartener explore concepts such as motion, gravity, human life, weather and environmental issues. They can handle simple experiments that take several days to complete, providing the chance to research, track, record, and discuss results together. Kindergarteners can learn to construct simple graphs, diagrams, and charts to illustrate their observations, as well as use technology.
By age 7, children are capable of abstract thought and their thinking is becoming scientifically advanced. As their ability to use many new tools increases, school-aged scientists can handle investigations that allow for more systematic trial and error, or ones that occur over longer periods of time. Provide access to books, the internet, and the ideas of others through classes and field trips. With each elementary school grade, your child’s conventional math and science vocabulary expands. This increasing linguistic aptitude, along with improved social skills, enables them to explain their own concepts and reasoning, and to work as part of a team.