Young children are natural scientists and curious. They love to observe, ask questions and be hands on. You’ve watched a child test things over and over like dropping things off the side of their high chair, learning the difference between hot, cold, dark and light. Science is what children do daily with their inquiring minds, it’s how they explore and interpret the world around them.
Children are great observes, they get up close and personal, investigating bugs etc. They use all their senses and need freedom to explore safely. Give them magnifying glasses, binoculars to compare distance and objects. Provide containers for them to collect outside items so you can investigate and pose questions to them and vice versa.
Measuring and comparing go hand in hand for children, height, weight, volume and distance. It doesn’t have to be about metres and centimetres but about more about long, short, tall, etc. What can they lift? Fit in? Move? Pull? Push? Look at measurements when baking, half a cup, a full cup, teaspoon etc.
Children love to sort and group objects and it’s a great way to understand and talk about size, colour, same, different, textures and materials.
Daily routines and repeated experiences help even young children to make predictions. As your child explores their world ask them “What do you think would happen if…” It doesn’t matter if they are right or wrong but it teaches them to think about broadly, consequences and make predictions on what they already know.
Experimenting is the next logical step after prediction and is one of the largest components of the early childhood years. Provide resources that allow children to open and actively explore hands on. Label children’s play, ask questions and provide information about their activities but also let them “potter” at activities and explore as they like. Whole body active exploration is the key to learning and building on their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.