Kids blowing bubbles – it’s amazing how something so simple can deliver so much fun…
Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) might be touted as the bright future of work, but the International Day of Women and Girls in Science shone a spotlight on the persistent gender imbalance in these careers.
Celebrated on February 11, the UN noted that much effort has gone into inspiring and engaging women and girls in science over the last 15 years, but less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women.
According to UN Women, the day is about much more than highlighting the gender imbalance. They call on everyone to “smash stereotypes, defy gender biases and defeat discrimination that hold women and girls back in STEM fields”.
Our Familylinks playgroups help all children explore and problem-solve in a fun, supported, play-based program.
Science for young children
Children are natural scientists who are curious and determined to explore and understand their world. Children do this by playing, touching and observing.
Adults can help to foster a love of science by encouraging this natural curiosity – which may even lead kids into a science career.
Science for young children is about providing opportunities to explore, experiment, problem solve, investigate and discover.
What you can do to cultivate a love for science
An adult’s role is to encourage exploration without stepping in to provide all the answers.
Some ways to do this include:
- Letting children hypothesise (consider possible reasons for something) – ‘What do you think will happen if we do this?’
- Encouraging them to find answers – ‘Why do you think the leaf floats and the rock sinks?’
- Helping them to problem solve – ‘How could we build it better next time, so it doesn’t fall down?’
- Allowing them to draw their own conclusions – ‘why do you think that happened?’
- Helping children find their own answers to ‘why’ questions – ‘why do you think?’
- Being a role model – being curious about the world can help our children develop a life-long passion for learning.
- Pointing out and discussing things we see every day. For example:
- ‘Look at the leaves on the trees changing colour’
- ‘I wonder why birds can fly and we can’t’
- ‘Look at my shadow – it’s really long now’
- ‘What colours can you see in the rainbow?’
Science-based activities all children can enjoy. Have fun!
Oil and water don’t mix
Put some water into bowls or plastic cups and stir a different food colouring into each one.
Fill another cup or bowl with baby oil.
Using an eye dropper, have children squeeze the different coloured water into the oil.
This experiment shows that oil is less dense than water – the water will sink to the bottom while the oil sits on top. The oil molecules stick together, and the water molecules attract each other, making them form separate layers.
You don’t have to explain this to children; just let them experiment.
Science in the bath
Bath time is a great time to explore science. Put various child-safe items in the bath, such as bath toys, sponges, corks, metal/plastic spoons or golf/ping pong balls. Encourage your child to observe which items float and which ones sink.
Read the story ‘Who Sank the Boat’ at bedtime and talk about what happened in the story and in the bath. Ask questions such as ‘Who do you think sank the boat?’ and ‘if the mouse was in the boat by itself, do you think it would sink?’
Grab some clean, empty squeezy sauce bottles and various light objects, such as feathers, cotton balls and leaves, plus some heavier items such as cutlery, rocks etc. Have the children use puffs of air from the sauce bottles to attempt to move the items. Encourage them to keep the feather in the air, for example.
You can vary this by using straws to blow cotton balls/ping pong balls across a table – your kids might enjoy turning this into a race!
Fill up several glasses with water to varying levels. Make each one a different colour by adding food colouring if you like. Give your child a metal spoon and have them experiment with sound by tapping on the glasses.
Using a small box (eg shoe box) make a hole in the top that your child’s hand can fit through. Without your child seeing, place various objects with different textures into the box (eg seed pods, shells, fabric, leaves, crystals, small toys etc). Encourage your child to put their hand in the box and feel the items, describing what they feel. Use prompt questions – ‘Is it smooth, soft, hard, spikey etc’
Pour some milk into a shallow tray. Add a couple of drops of various food colourings into the middle. Dip a cotton bud into some dishwashing liquid, then place it in the centre of the tray. Watch what happens.
Fill a jar three-quarters full of water. Spray some shaving foam on the top of the water to make a ‘cloud’. Using an eye dropper, squeeze drops of blue food colouring onto the cloud. As the cloud fills, the food colouring falls down, creating ‘rain.’
In partnership with Mission Australia’s Communities for Children, Familylinks provides free, supported playgroups within five Mount Druitt primary schools.
Familylinks playgroups support children 0-6 years from all backgrounds and all abilities. Our facilitators are early childhood trained and our program is designed to promote inclusion and develop skills through play-based activities. We encourage children to explore, investigate and problem-solve, and most importantly have lots of fun!
View our free supported playgroup locations and download a term 1, 2020 calendar here.
For more information, contact Familylinks on:
02 9625 0422
0434 086 887
For more science ideas and information visit: