Starting School – Science at Home
This post from my Starting School series is a little different. Being a secondary Science teacher, I am passionate about my subject and am very experienced in teaching older pupils. I actually think that young children are natural scientists – they ask “why?” and love to experiment. There is also plenty that you can do at home with them which is not only going to stimulate their curiosity but provide you both with lots of fun too.
This is another piece from Kings Monkton School’s head of key stage one, Fiona Thomas.
While the subject matter itself isn’t as important, it’s a great way to introduce them to new things and encourage their interests. Throughout my work as head of key stage one for Kings Monkton school in Cardiff, South Wales, I work with children from foundation age to Year 1, helping them get excited about school subjects from an early age.
Outside of school, there are lots of fun and simple ways you can explore science with your child – and have lots of fun along the way. Here are just a few easy tips on home learning with your child at during the summer holidays:
Water is a great place to begin. Bath time, washing up, playing with hoses and bowls in the garden in the summer are all opportunities for exploration. Give your child objects to see if they will sink or float, make your own bubble mixture and freeze juices to make ice-lollies that they can eat. Watch ice cubes melt in the sunshine on a warm day.
In the kitchen, when you are cooking or preparing food, include your child and let them see how cake mixture changes when you put it in the oven, how you cook potatoes in different ways and how they taste – and what happens if you heat popcorn! Use food to explore plant growth; celery will grow from a stalk base, avocado from a stone, pineapple from the cut off top.
Reduce, re-use, recycle: When you finish with tinned food, wash out the tins and keep them. Pierce a hole in the base of each and string tied through makes a super first phone. Other containers can be saved to make musical instruments – fill them with dried pasta, little stones, and other things lying around your home that your child suggests. Let them discover which sounds are the best and which don’t work. How far away can you stand and still hear them?
Explore the great outdoors. When you are out and about, let them collect things to bring home. You can give the objects a wash later and carry antibacterial hand wash with you for little hands, but take a bag and let them pick up leaves, seeds and feathers from country walks and shells, stones and seaweed from beaches. At home, sort and organise and spend some time looking through a magnifying glass so they start to dig beneath the surface and understand objects in their everyday environment.
If you want more formal activities, check out some of the hundreds of brilliant websites and blogs written to give ideas of great experiments and activities for parents to do with their children. I have included some of them here but this is merely a sample. Browse Google yourself and don’t forget to look on Pinterest and YouTube and you will find hundreds more and they are great.
There are also lots of books full of ideas for you to read. Here are a few on my reading list:
- The Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do
- Science Arts: Discovering Science Through Art Experiences
- The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science: 64 Daring Experiments for Young Scientists
Science at this age really is all about beginning to understand the world around you. It can open many other doors to learning, and encouraging your child’s natural curiosity, and building up their confidence along the way.
Fiona Thomas is a primary school teacher and head of key stage one at Kings Monkton school in Cardiff. The school offers inclusive education for children aged three to 18, as well as extra-curricular activities for children of all ages. For more information on Kings Monkton, visit http://www.kingsmonkton.org.uk/
For more posts in my “Starting School” series just click on the image below: