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Kids science activities

Encouraging a Love of Science in Every Day Situations

by Jean Potter
Book Cover Image. Title: Science in Seconds for Kids:  Over 100 Experiments You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less, Author: by Jean Potter, Jean Potter

Science in Seconds for Kidsby Jean PotterJean Potter

  • $11.73 Online Price

Children have an uncanny way of asking simple questions about complex concepts. "Why is the sky blue? Where does electricity come from? Why do I have to wash my hands before dinner?"

It's sometimes easier to ignore the question or to simply claim to not know the answer. But those responses don't teach children, and they certainly don't show respect for the child. Children are trying to figure out how the world works and should be encouraged to ask questions to further their understanding.

Encouraging children to ask questions can be a pleasurable learning adventure for the adult as well as the child. It's easy to simply answer the question, but researching the answer together is much more memorable. By working together, adults can spend quality time with the child while encouraging the excitement of discovery and forging a love of the subject matter.

Foster a Love of Science and Learning with a Few Simple Ideas

Listen to your children: Young children wonder about how the world works. The questions they ask are springboards for researching ideas. Take cues from your child.

Keep science education simple in the early years: By keeping the concepts simple, children can begin to attain the necessary skills to build more complex thought processes. Science is all around us. Think about everyday experiences as a way to introduce children to science concepts. Mix colors to discover a new one. Investigate the shape of a leaf and compare and contrast it with another one. Take a radio apart and examine its contents. Be aware of everyday experiences, and decide on how to show and explain these experiences to children.

Provide hands-on experiences: Children should be involved in science, not simply read about it. They need to explore and experiment. By engaging in hands-on experiences, they can discover basic principles that make the experience more memorable and usable. Examining a worm up close by using a magnifying glass is fascinating. Using natural materials found in the backyard to create works of art is fun—try tiny seeds, small leaves, fine pieces of bark, and miniature plants like parsley. It's a great way to incorporate elements of the natural world into everyday experiences.

Encourage questions: Children ask simple questions that have complex answers. They want to know why the ocean has high and low tides. They want to know how a light bulb works. Encourage questions and search for, investigate, and find the answers. Adults should also ask questions and wonder aloud. Make lists of questions and seek the answers together.

Enjoy the environment: Children can learn from the environment. There are opportunities to observe the weather changes, the growth of a pet, the changes in bananas that are left on the counter for a few days, etc. Observe, discuss, and learn. Teach children to keep their eyes open and to appreciate and enjoy the environment wherever they are, be it the beach, the park, the zoo—even the backyard!

Learning is an endless, exciting adventure for children. If we help them establish learning patterns early in life, we are sure to provide the building blocks for an enjoyable childhood.  
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Meet Our Expert
Jean Potter
Former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education
Jean Potter is a former Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education for the U.S. Department of Education where she was responsible for the country's elementary and secondary programs, during the Reagan Administration. She was the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Education as well.

Mrs. Potter was also the program manager for Early Childhood Education in the West Virginia Department of Education. While there, she was responsible for the successful implementation of the largest funded education program in the state's history. She was a lead kindergarten teacher and a member of the prestigious White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. She is the recipient of Edinboro University's most distinguished alumnae award.

Mrs. Potter is also an award-winning author and continues to write books, articles, and programs that enhance the educational development of children.
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Jean Potter
Book Cover Image. Title: Science in Seconds for Kids:  Over 100 Experiments You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less, Author: by Jean Potter, Jean Potter

Science in Seconds for Kidsby Jean PotterJean Potter

  • $11.73 Online Price