Preschool Science - Child Care Consulting Group

Fruit salad is a science activity for children age 18 months and older if you allow the children to wash the fruit, tell
them why it's necessary, show them real pictures of apple orchards and banana plantations, provide scales for
weighing, let them smell, taste, slice and dice the fruit with plastic knives, talk about why fruit turns brown (the
enzymes in the fruit react to oxygen), and what we can do to the fruit to stop it (add an acid such as lemon juice).
You can also easily create a science curriculum based on "Why?" questions that children ask all the time: Why is the
grass green? Why don't turtles have teeth? Why is the sea salty? Answer a different question each week.
Science comes naturally to children as you teach the Scientific Method: Observation, Question, Hypothesis,
Prediction, Experiment, Analysis, and Conclusion. What great new vocabulary words!
An easy way to incorporate science into the early childhood classroom is to "find" the science in the activities you are
already doing.
Preschoolers find science in trips to the park and the playground, and in water and sand play, making fruit salad,
rolling toys down a ramp, and building with blocks. Science builds higher-level thinking. Through exploration and
discussion, preschoolers learn that science is part of their lives - and that it's a lot of fun!
Botany in the park: Place hoola hoops on the grass and ask children to see what they can find within each hoop and
you'll expand their observational skills.
Physics on the playground: Physics is the science of matter and energy and their interactions. Seesaws, slides,
swings, and bouncing balls make the playground a natural physics lab. The seesaw demonstrates principles of
balance, the slide is an experiment in gravity, and swings are laws of motion in action.
Explorations at the water and sand tables: Let the children make sieves with different size holes and pour sand or
water through them, noting how the size of the hole affects the results. At the water table they learn the properties of
water as they predict whether objects will sink or float, then test their own predictions.
Chemistry in the kitchen: Chemistry is the science of matter; the branch of the natural sciences dealing with the
composition of substances and their properties and reactions. Let the children bake a cake from scratch following a
recipe exactly one day, and then make the cake again without a recipe or precise measuring, or leave out the baking
powder and eggs. What's different between the two cakes?
Relativity in the block corner: Children build towers and balance blocks of different sizes and shapes to construct
bridges, exploring concepts of spatial relations, gravity, and balance. Spatial relations include qualities like size,
distance, volume, order, and time.
Meteorology at circle time: The preschool day often begins with a discussion of the weather. Is the sun out today?
How does the sun feel on our skin? Why is sun important? Is it raining? How does rain feel? Why is rain important?
Some classes may keep a container to measure and compare rainfall. Is it colder or warmer than it was yesterday?
How do we know? Is it cold enough for snow? Children record their observations in diagrams and charts.
Horticulture on the windowsills: The class might grow beans. Each child has a tiny clay pot. He plants a seed in the
pot, filling it with soil and patting the dirt down around the seed. Every day he will water the plant and record its
growth on a chart. He will learn what seeds require to sprout, and, later, what they need in order to grow.
Biology in the fish tank: Rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, fish or earthworms. These creatures teach children how living
beings interact with their environment and react to different stimuli.
Science shows children the interconnections of life and teaches them that the things they observe are not just
haphazard events. Teach children to enjoy and get excited about science. I'll bet you'll get excited, too!
(Based on an article by Diana Townsend-Butterworth, author of Preschool and Your Child)
The Child Care Consulting Group P. O. Box 2300  Allen, TX 75013 (972) )979-0282