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Science for Kids

Growing Scientists

Activities and ideas to encourage scientific curiosity at home.

With an innate sense of wonder and endless enthusiasm for learning how things work, your child is born a scientist. Just watch a baby drop his spoon from a high chair over and over. Or a toddler who puts her nose up to a frosty window. Or a preschooler who helps bake a cake. Growing Scientists contains information, ideas, and resources to help you, as a parent, identify science activities like these in daily life and turn them into meaningful learning opportunities that inspire the scientist in your child.

STEM Activity for Kids: Building Bridges
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Building Bridges with Blocks Activity for Preschoolers

STEM Education refers to an educational approach which integrates more than one of the educational disciplines - science, technology, engineering and math. STEM may seem like lofty subject matter for young children. In reality, toddlers and preschoolers spontaneously engage in STEM activities indoors and out on a regular basis.

Watch as Sarah, a Bright Horizons Director, explains how to conduct the Building Bridges learning activity for children. This STEM activity, which only takes 10 minutes to complete and is best suited for toddler or preschool-aged children, will teach your child about engineering, math and the force of gravity.

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STEM Activity for Kids: Magical Magnets
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Preschool Science Activity with Magnets

STEM Education refers to an educational approach which integrates more than one of the educational disciplines - science, technology, engineering and math. STEM may seem like lofty subject matter for young children. In reality, toddlers and preschoolers spontaneously engage in STEM activities indoors and out on a regular basis.

Watch as Sarah, a Bright Horizons Director, explains how to conduct the Magical Magnets learning activity in less than 2 minutes. This STEM activity, which is easy to assemble and best suited for preschool-aged children, will teach your child about cause and effect and the visually exciting property of magnetism.

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Science Activities & Experiments Using Snow
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Snow Science Activities for Kids

"I'm bored, Mom and Dad." You know the drill. The winter months can stretch interminably when children are stuck indoors, seemingly with nothing to do. When it's too cold to go outdoors, why not bring the snow inside instead? Winter offers some prime opportunities to explore science concepts.

Try these simple science experiments to banish boredom and build your little scientist's skills of inquiry and observation.

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Kitchen Magic: Teaching Science & Math through Cooking
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Teach Kids Science & Math with Cooking

We sometimes view learning as something separate from living, but children often learn the most from simple, everyday activities. Cooking and working with food offer a wealth of such teaching opportunities. When children prepare meals with a beloved family member, they learn valuable lessons about family togetherness, healthy living, and tradition. But have you ever thought of the kitchen as a science lab? Through cooking activities, children learn many basic science and math concepts.

Read on to learn what math & science skills children learn by cooking and discover some fun activities & experiments!

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Science Activities in the Kitchen for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers
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Kids Kitchen Activities

Science is everywhere in your own home - especially in the kitchen! Here are a few ways for you and your child to learn, discover, and experiment together.

  • Using the high chair or booster chair tray for your infant or toddler is a great way to provide sensory experiences that are easy to clean up. Cornstarch goop, ice cubes, non-toxic paint, and pizza dough are a few examples of materials you can use.
  • Place round oatmeal containers on the floor for your infant or toddler to roll around and learn about properties of objects. Place safe items inside to create a variety of sounds.

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Growing Scientists at Home
Learn how to encourage scientific discovery in your child at each stage of development. Click on the images below.
Science Activities for Babies Infant Toddler Science Activities Toddler Preschool Science Activities Preschool
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Infant

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.

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Toddler

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.

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Preschool

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.

Pre K Science Activities Pre-Kindergarten Kindergarten Science Activities Kindergarten Science Activities for School Age Children School Age
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Pre-Kindergarten

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.

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Kindergarten

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.

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School Age

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.

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