article submitted by Primrose Schools
Summer is a time to slow down, spend time outdoors and have some fun! While this change of pace is an opportunity for families to rest and relax, it’s important that children still engage in activities that encourage learning. Fortunately, the summer season provides plenty of ways for children to interact with nature and science, so there is no need to add “find learning opportunities” to your to-do list.
Whether it’s exploring the new neighborhood park or your own backyard, summer is the perfect setting for young children to experience physics, chemistry and biology in ways that they can relate to and understand. Swinging, sliding and swimming are great examples of activities that your little one is likely already doing that also introduce different scientific concepts.
- Swinging: Swinging back and forth on a swing set allows children to experience the effects of motion and gravity. Children realize that as the swing comes to a stop, they must push off the ground to set the swing back in motion.
- Sliding: Slides allow children to experience the effects of gravity and friction. Children realize they can slow down by pressing on the soles of their shoes, or go faster by lifting their feet.
- Swimming: Children experiment with the scientific principle of buoyancy while learning to swim, asking questions like, “Why do I float sometimes and other times I sink?”
It’s not necessary for you to explain the science behind each activity — the experiences alone build a foundation for learning and help children grasp scientific principles later in life. But you can extend your child’s learning and natural curiosity by asking questions such as “What happens when…” and “Why do you think…” Or, consider experimenting with science in a more hands-on way by setting up simple experiments like this interactive game to explore why some things sink and others float:
1. Help your child fill a bucket with water and gather items that will not be harmed if they get wet.
2. Ask your child to predict if each item will sink or float and ask for the reasoning behind each prediction.
3. Allow your child to place the items in the water, one at a time. As each item is tested, let her change her prediction — it shows she is thinking critically and refining her thoughts based on evidence. Listen to her observations each time.
4. After your child has tested each item, ask her how the items that float or sink are similar to one another.
Finding ways to play with science this summer doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow your children and listen to their questions — science is everywhere!
Primrose Schools in the metro Atlanta area offer year-round, full and part-time programs for children from 6 weeks old through pre-K, with select schools offering before and after-school programs as well as summer camps for school-age children. The Primrose Balanced Learning® approach nurtures children’s intellectual, creative, physical and social-emotional development through a balance of purposeful play and nurturing guidance from teachers. Nearly 5,500 children are currently enrolled at Primrose schools in Atlanta. To learn more about the 38 schools in the Atlanta metro area, visit PrimroseSchools.com/Atlanta.