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The Importance of Pre-School SCIENCE – Part 3

SCIENCE ACTIVITIES – These are ideas to help enhance the importance of science for the pre-schoolers!

Biological Science:  (Teachers create an activity from the list)

  • Observing animals and plants
  • Observing ant farms, spider webs, other animal homes
  • Providing care for class pets
  • Collecting and observing tadpoles
  • Life cycles of the butterfly
  • Examine textures found in natural items
  • Sprouting sweet potatoes, carrot tops, orange seeds, etc.
  • Seed collections
  • Class gardens
  • Hatching eggs
  • Collecting natural materials
  • Discuss insects and how they protect themselves
  • Observing characteristics, movement and feeding of various animals and insects
  • Imitating sounds made by various animals
  • Learning the names of animal babies
  • Discussing ways we care for animals and the way they help us
  • Watching and feeding birds and observing bird nests
  • Learning about the different parts of the body and the functions they play asking “What part of the body can hold things? Walk? Think? Swing? Breathe? Bend? Nod? Blink? Wiggle? Sit?
  • Talking about the roles of family members (Ask Individually)
  • Discussing various community helpers
  • Discussing things children can do now that he couldn’t do when he was younger and the things they can do when they get older
  • Discussing uses of plants for food, clothing and shelter
  • Discussing the cycle of a tree and its uses
  • Caring for plants and exploring their growth
  • Discussing the different tastes of food (sour, sweet, bitter, salty, etc.)
  • Preparing vegetables and fruits for eating
  • Discussing and making butter, ice cream, soup, pudding, jello, and applesauce

Physical Science: (Teachers create an activity)

  • Blowing bubbles
  • Gears, clamps and vices
  • Creating elevators
  • Weighing objects
  • Physical changes of water
  • Sound vibrations
  • Paper airplanes
  • Manipulating clay
  • Moving toys with or without wheels
  • Painting
  • Blowing activities using straws (blowing a cotton ball across the table, blow painting, etc.)
  • Rolling balls
  • Light and shadows
  • Listening to sounds of the city
  • Observing machines at work
  • Familiarizing children with gravity
  • Discovering the uses of magnets
  • Performing simple experiments
  • Siphoning from one container to another
  • Washing and drying doll clothes
  • Investigating water (evaporation, cleaning things, changes things, in different forms and purposes it serves).
  • Floating and sinking in water
  • Observing reflections in water.
  • Freezing ice and watching it melt
  • Providing dishes of things that look alike but are different (salt, refined sugar, powdered sugar, soap flakes, flour, corn starch, starch, baking powder, etc.) and discussing the uses of each
  • Feeling various textures (fabrics, screen, wood, glass, metal, sandpaper, egg shells, rocks, nails, etc.).
  • Smelling various odors
  • Playing with water; floating and sinking, moving objects, etc.

Earth Science: (Teachers create an activity) 

  • Discussing different kinds of weather and the apparel for different types of weather
  • Talking about things in the sky
  • Investigating the characteristics of snow
  • Exploring air: movement made by a fan, use paper bags, balloons, pinwheels, whistles, parachute, etc.
  • Discussing fog, sun and rain
  • Classifying rocks by size, shape, color, density and hardness (children can scrape them, drop vinegar on them, weighing them, etc.).Making simple maps of the school property that show all the different surface coverings
  • Compare sand and soil

Animal Defenses: (Teachers create an activity)

If you imagined an animal’s claws (or teeth or horns or stinger), what would it be? Using Tyrannosaurus rex (T-REX) as star predator, the first session with the children could introduce the concept of defense in animals, sparking the idea with classroom dramas and illustrated encounters. Session 2 can work on defensive behaviors of cats, dogs, and reptiles to study how defensive mechanisms can include changing colors, hiding, playing dead, or climbing a tree. Role-playing brings these and other defensive behaviors to life by the children. Animal Defenses is an excellent way to introduce the biological concept of predator/prey and help young children understand the distinction between defensive structures and defensive behaviors.

Other Ideas on Science Learning:

  1. Ant Homes – learning about the insects’ body structure, “jobs,” and homes by observing ants in nature and in an ant farm. They can role-play ants following a scent trail and dragging food through a tunnel-like structure.
  2. Bubble Activities – “Bubble Shapes” and “Bubble Measurement” to “Bubble Skeletons” and “Body Bubbles,” these all kinds of classroom-appropriate activities.
  3. Eggs – It’s more than a scrambled egg, more than an Easter egg hunt, more than just chickens…eggs house a wealth of life-science information. Young children always wonder of—and the story inside—eggs from a variety of creatures, allowing them to begin developing key concepts in biology and the life sciences.
  4. Elephants and Their Young – Elephants loom large in children’s imaginations—and for good reason! This fascination makes the educational experiences more in meaning to them as they learn about the African elephant’s body structure, family life, and social behavior. Children can make model elephants out of paper or cardboard, and then devise elephant puppets with sock-trunks. They create models of elephant’s ears, trunks, and tusks; make elephant sounds; and make up an “Elephant Song.” As they role-play, using their “trunks,” foraging for food, and searching for water, the children gain insight into how elephants live in the wild. They are also introduced to the concept of conservation and encouraged to think about commercial alternatives to ivory.
  5. Frogs – Children try to guess the number of small plastic frogs in a jar to develop their valuable life-skill of estimating. A Frog Pond board game helps students develop strategic-thinking skills or hopping to the Pond game.
  6. Look Under the Rock – This activity is simple and as powerful as you can get.  Simply find a rock to turn over and observe > What kind of insects do you see?  > What patterns in the dirt can you find?  >Are there any bugs, slug trails or worm holes?

                 Children may want to find different rocks and compare the findings, or look under the rock during different times of the day and see the differences.

                7.  Catch a Raindrop – It is common to see a child stick out her tongue to catch a raindrop, but with this science activity, you can catch it and bring it inside! The materials you need include flour, a pie pan, and a rainy day. First, sift some flour into a baking pan or pie pan until it is about one inch thick and covering the pan. Take the floured pan outside and let the rain come down on the pan for about a minute.  When the rain hits the pan of flour, a tiny “dough drop” is formed. These “drops” can then be sifted from the flour and examined. You can count the flour drops, compare the differences in size and shape. If you have a food scale, you can even compare the weight of the flour drops.

8 .  Nature Alphabet – “Teacher!  Those sticks look like a “T!” After a big rain storm, have children collect several sticks that had fallen in the yard and create a stick alphabet. You can collect sticks, organize sizes, and start thinking about what different letters they can make like a short stick to connecting to make an “H” and a pebble to make a dot.  After the alphabet is complete, rearrange the sticks to try to create simple words. Not only was the alphabet reinforced, but the yard will be cleaner, too.

You see, there are many areas to tackle for science that it is just ongoing and it takes only your creativity to enhance the children in their early ages.  We do not want children to lose interest in science.  It should be fun and exciting to discover. 


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