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Early Childhood

Preschool Science Concepts

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Matthew Hirsch Matthew Hirsch 670 Points

Hello, Over the summer I will be working at a preschool day camp with 5 year old children. While there we will have separate class time for about 20-30 minutes each day. During this time I would like to integrate a daily science activity we can do. For the activity I would prefer no or little mess as we have to clean up the room immediately afterwards due to other activities. I would also love to find activities that would last all summer. I am open to any type of science learning. Thank you so much, Matt Hirsch

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10255 Points

Check out The Early Years columns in the NSTA journal Science and Children. Every month Peggy Ashbrook has suggestions for investigations that are appropriate for our youngest scientists. These use simple materials and can be adjusted to the time you have. I would recommend this resource!

Mary Gonzalez Mary Gonzalez 555 Points

I do not teach preschool, but I do have a four year old and would love to do science activities with him over summer. I will definitely read the journal article to get some ideas. Thanks for sharing!:]

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10255 Points

And for more long-term investigations over the summer, check out the citizen science projects at SciStarter Some of these involve observing insects.

Michael Reed Michael Reed 2065 Points

I loved that you attached this website. thank you!

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10433 Points

A 20-30 minute science activity that cleans up quickly...depending on what they were doing before and what will happen next, a read aloud with discussion and follow-up drawing and writing might be useful. Matthew, think about activities that will connect with other parts of the day so children can make connections between the science concepts explored and what they do during the sports activities, playground play, and art activities. Maybe some water explorations--see the Young Scientist Series "Exploring Water with Young Children," for ideas. One of the authors, Karen Worth, is also the science adviser for the science curriculum on the website Peep and the Big Wide World, including the water exploration curriculum. Bring towels from home and clean up will be easier! (Thanks for the Early Years shout out Mary!)

Jill Dimitriou Jill Dimitriou 445 Points

No mess and preschool-age don't really work well together. Good luck on that! You could do experiments that have to do with plants. You can do the Ziploc bag experiment where you grow seeds in a bag and track it's progress. You could teach them basic animal classification. I can't imagine a bunch of 5 year olds not enjoy learning about animals. Grow a seed in plastic bag experiment:

Michael Reed Michael Reed 2065 Points

thanks for posting that website. it works well together!

Kristen Wright Kristen Wright 1165 Points

One science activity I did with my preschool class involved learning about the five senses. I had 5 brown bags. Each bag had a picture of the body part they were to use to find out what was in the bag. In each bag there were items such as a scented card (smell), a fur tail key chain (touch), a sour piece of candy (taste), keys (hear), and a mini-flashlight (sight). I did this as a whole group activity where I instructed the students to use that one sense to figure out what was in the bag. The students loved it and I extended the activity throughout the week with different objects since young children need multiple experiences. I hope this helps.

Melissa Cuza Melissa Cuza 710 Points

I would recommend if you have an outdoor area to find old tires or pots and do some planting. Organize the plants by vegetables or types of flowers and have them labeled. Make it the students' responsibility to water the plants and pick the vegetables when they are ready. Kids really have fun with this. Also, since it is summer any water play activities will be fun. Try getting small bins and fill them with water and put little surprises in them, take the bins outside with the kids and have the ice melt so they can find the surprises inside. You could use a toy hammer to break them, but I would only recommend this if it is a small group type of thing.

Rae Melinder Rae Melinder 1265 Points

Planting a garden is always a fun idea.

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