Just very recently I came across this article from PBS network about how science experiments at home help kids, it talks about how to encourage science and thinking abilities in toddlers. Wherever I have seen on the internet, lots of posts are encouraging children to learn crafts and arts. But, I saw very few blogs or posts that gave ideas to new mothers about how to encourage science experience at home in toddlers.
I. as a kid sucked really bad at arts. If my art would be called anything, it would definitely be abstract. Now, with my daughter growing up I am thinking of new games and activities that she can do in solitude and not related to just arts. Crayons and paper is one such activity that she does, of course with little nibbles of the crayons in her mouth, independently. When she was playing one day, I got thinking about why we don’t have scientific fun activities for kids to do. They will not understand the concepts – agreed, but they will at least have fun while doing it.
Why do we need to encourage science in toddlers? Research says kids are naturally curious, which makes them perfect specimen for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities. People might contradict me here that India is already so focused on studies, why start so early. When I say science, I don’t mean learning all the theories and reciting periodic table from a toddler. What I mean here is getting your toddler to always question why a certain thing behaves in a particular way.
The why’s, how’s, and what’s that our children ask is the perfect place to start. Don’t rub off their questions as just another tantrum, but rather focus on answering them in the best possible way.
To encourage science with my toddler, I have decided to try out a couple of exercises that promote scientific thinking. Here they are –
- Encourage her to ask questions about what a certain toy is doing, how it is doing it.
- Encourage her to think about the “What if” part in any activity. What if I place the blocks in reverse order, what happens then?
- For every question that can lead to an imaginary answer, I will ask her what she thinks about it. Where do eggs come from? What do you think?
- Cause and effect activities. For example, ice cream melts in your hand and why does it do so?
- Difference between a living thing and non-living things.
One thing I am consciously planning on avoiding is breaking down my vocabulary to make her understand better. So, no more explaining commonly used terms in a fancy baby talk way. Promoting science does not mean kicking arts out, but rather merging both of them together to create a new and fun way for kids to learn.
Meanwhile, I do wish someone visits me from the US and brings along these awesome science experiments to try at home.
How do you plan on encouraging kids to have a scientific way of thinking?