Formal education, while an important part of your child’s learning and growth, isn’t capable of teaching everything kids need to know. It’s rare that a school setting, whether public or private, can accommodate every learning style which is why it’s so important to supplement education during your child’s formative years. Science can be a difficult subject matter for some kids, but you can help! And more importantly, you can your kids can have fun while you learn! If you’re ready to tackle science education at home with your kids, read on for important tips for supplementing your child’s Science education for ages 3-6 at home.
1. Use their natural curiosity.
Even though you may cringe when you hear “why?” for the six hundredth time in one day, that natural curiosity is a great jumping off point when it comes to science education! Kids, especially small ones who are just starting to discover their world, will have a thousand questions – and we may not always have the answers! Make it a goal to always answer every question – even if it means waiting until you can look it up later. Better yet, look for the answer together with your child. This will teach needed skills as well as answer their curiosity. Remember to keep explanations as simple and clear for your kid’s sake, but don’t dumb things down either.
2. Don’t just talk. Do.
In general, very young children will always learn more quickly and develop a more thorough grasp on subjects if they approach them hands-on. This goes for Science, too. You may want to off lengthy explanations when your kids ask questions, and that’s great, but it likely won’t pack much punch unless you also offer a visual or tactile example for your kids as well. Plan on using all of your senses to experience science.
3. Play to your child’s strengths.
Every child has a preferred learning style. They excel in some areas and are weak in others. Know how you child best learns new concepts and really focus on that. Make sure to give them plenty of options for learning, though, since they are still developing and at this young age their brains are continually changing. If you’d like more information about learning styles and determining your child’s strengths, take a look at this article from Scholastic.
4. Try it all.
Don’t underestimate your child’s ability to understand a subject or concept. Don’t brush off hard or abstract ideas because of their age or other factors. It’s true that Science deals with many abstractions that can be difficult for young children, but be sure to expose them to all different ideas and concepts so they’ll gain experience. Be sure to encourage growth in many areas, not just the ones you assume your child is interested in. They may surprise you!
5. Keep it simple.
Don’t overcomplicate science for your young children or they’re bound to be frustrated. You can introduce or further explore a topic without convoluting the subject and it doesn’t take a detailed plan and formal lesson to do it. With your 3-6 year old, a science discussion, experiment or hands-on activity should take 15 minutes or less. If you need ideas, try this book: Bite-Sized Science. Or take a look at this list of Science activities from PBS Kids online.
6. Daily doses.
Make science an everyday thing. More structured science time is great, but you can foster a love of science by helping your kids recognize its significance in daily life. When you go for a walk, point out the differences among the animals you see. Try to classify animals by different traits. If your child is afraid of thunder, discuss the root cause and have them make a list of why rain is important. While you play at the park, help your child recognize seeds and describe the life cycle of a tree. Help them to see science all around them, from cars and machinery to animals and plants, to common molecules found everywhere.
7. Have fun!
Above all, kids will be much more likely to love learning if you keep things light and fun. Rote memorization or holding up flashcards aren’t going to cut it at this age. Don’t overthink it.
Don’t let Science scare you or your child! You can learn and grow along with your kids in a fun and entertaining way with just a little bit of effort.
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com