Babies like to put every item within reach into their tiny mouths, just to see how they taste and feel. Toddlers enjoy ripping and breaking things, just to see how they are made. Preschoolers ask "why?" on average every fifteen seconds, just to figure out how things work. And once they hit elementary school, your kids are ready to begin making observations about the world around them and predicting what will happen next? Isn't it fun having these small scientists in our lives?
Here are four easy activities to get your young Einsteins thinking about the world around them:
Sink or Float?
What you'll need: Tub (or use the sink), water, items to sink or float (rubber duckie, small piece of wood, pieces of fruit, any household item of your child's choice that's appropriate)
Fill a small tub with water and ask your children if they think an object will sink or float. Then have them place (or toss depending on how messy you want to be) the object in the water. Does it sink or does it float? Did anyone predict the right answer?
What Happens Next?
Next time you're reading a new story with your kids, stop at a point in the action and ask them what they think happens next. For older kids, ask them why they think that. Then continue reading and see whose prediction was right. Easy activity, for sure, but also an effective way to develop your children's critical thinking skills.
What Happens Next, Part Two
Find a picture in a magazine or a book and have your child describe what he sees. Then together make predictions about what you think might happen next to this person or character. It doesn't have to be real or even possible. The key with this one is to get them stretching their brain muscles and tuning into the fine details that will help them create a hypothesis about what could happen next.
Observations, Inferences, and Predictions
We found this one on Pinterest. One of our favorite places for finding creative new ideas! Here's the gist of the activity; you can read the entire activity on the Science Notebook website. Find a picture from an actual event and then have your kids make a couple observations about the picture (what do they see happening), a couple inferences about the picture (what else likely happened to create the scenario in the picture), and a couple predictions about what will happen next. For example, in the picture above, ask your children what they see happening (a tornado, lightning), what they think caused it (a big storm, a specific kind of weather pattern, weather trends during the spring and summer), and what they think could happen next (tornado sirens, a fire, evacuations, scared kids, etc.). Science Notebook has a fantastic National Geographic picture from a hurricane to use for this activity.
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