Welcome to Part 2 of CCSWFL’s Topics for Early Learners series! Below you will find some great suggestions for interactive exercises concerning the sciences and art.
Biology (Arboriculture-Study of Trees)
Encourage your early learner to go outside and collect different leaves (or collect them yourself). Have your early learner sort them by size, shape, type, or color.
Biology (Entomology-Study of Insects)
With craft supplies, have your early learner recreate an insect they saw today, or the weirdest insect they have ever seen. Bonus: Create multiple insects and ask your child: How are they the same? How are they different?
Take two gummy bears of the same or different colors. (I prefer to use gummy bears whose wax ingredient comes from leaves as opposed to beeswax. This creates a more dramatic effect on the bears—but they all work!) Place one in a container with saltwater, place the other in freshwater, then wait five or more hours. Ask your early learner the following questions:
- This water looks the same, but it did different things to the gummy bears! How do the gummy bears still look alike?
- How do they look different?
- What made the water different?
- Can some things look the same, but be different?
Spread shaving cream on an easily cleanable flat surface outdoors or in the bath. Add a couple drops of food coloring to the surface, and let your early learners create with colors, patterns, texture, and shapes! Tell your early learner to watch how the colors combine.
The best thing about these activities is that they remind me, as an educator, that each child has a set of unique skills and interests. For instance, my guinea pigs Enzo andAaliya'h varied in their enthusiasm and participation for each activity. While they both loved creating art with the shaving cream, it took longer for Enzo to engage with the mixing of colors and drawing. Contrastingly, Enzo took the leadership role with mixing the saltwater for the gummy bears and dropping the gummy bears in the containers during the chemistry activity.
When selecting a high-quality early learning center for your child, it is important to find one that embraces interactive exercises like those above in partnership with a child-centered curriculum. For example, last week at CCSWFL, Ms. Sabrina's VPK class examined a tarantula exoskeleton in a specimen jar with a magnifying glass. The class talked about how tarantulas shed their skins like snakes as they grow, and likened the shedding to growing out of baby clothes. After the discussion, the children drew pictures of the specimen. Interactive exercises like these bring life to the classroom, and encourage students to explore and grow.
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