When your children are asking you a million questions, we can help you channel that curiosity!
Science is all around us, that’s our motto here at Mini Professors in Newbury and we just love nurturing a passion to explore the world that’s all around us in the youngest of learners. Did you know that the average 4-year old asks 437 questions every single day? That’s a lot of questions and a lot of answers to find!
Everything from baking a cake to going on a slide is an exploration of Science but you don’t need specialist equipment or a Science degree to get stuck in. Young children make the very best Scientists because they are always exploring, questioning, testing and seeing the results of their “experiments.”
I just love Chemistry and little ones do too because they can see the changes happening right in front of them. You’ll see their eyes light up as they shout “wow”! Everything from fireworks to making pancakes are chemical reactions at work.
Here are some simple experiments you can do at home (and you don’t need anything you wouldn’t already have in your store cupboard).
Challenge 1: Can you inflate a balloon without using your mouth?
Explore the reaction between bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a cup, explain that it’s a reaction between an acid (vinegar) and a base (bicarb), that when the two mix together it produces carbon dioxide, the same gas we breathe out. Ask them if we could use what we’ve seen to help us to inflate the balloon.
Pour 50 ml vinegar into the bottle, and tip 1tsp of bicarb into the balloon (your little ones can do this) then stretch the balloon over the bottle without tipping it up- it’s best if an adult does this. Tell your little one to tip up the balloon and watch the reaction.
Physics is super simple to explore with your little one, it’s everywhere! Forces, electricity, light, heat, magnets and more. Here are some simple Physics experiments that you can try this half term that’ll get you outside, even if it rains.
Challenge 2: Can we make our reflection disappear?
We’re set for rain this week so there should be plenty of opportunity to get outside and go puddle jumping. Not only is it great fun for our little ones but it’s also a great chance to talk about Science. Encourage your Professor to look into the puddle before they start jumping, talk about their reflection and where else we see reflections. You can share that we see reflections because the light bounces off us, onto the smooth surface of the puddle and into their eyes. When they jump in the puddle the surface isn’t smooth any more so the light bounces in too many different directions which makes our brains confused! You can also look at your reflections in a spoon, turn it around and you’ll end up upside down because of hoe the light is bending.
Challenge 3: What happens when I jump on a trampoline or go down a slide?
If we’re lucky enough to get the sun shining you can also explore Science while you’re out and about. Why not head to the park with some items made of different material (think bin bags/ cardboard box / a jumper) and explore how Friction works? Simply get your little one to make predictions about which material will make them go the fastest or slow them down most and then test those predictions.
While your little one is jumping on the trampoline talk to them about Gravity, how they can push up into the air but they always end up coming back down, all because of Gravity pulling them back to Earth.
Onto Biology, the study of living things, that’s plants and animals (including humans). It’s the time of year where things are growing all around us, caterpillars turning into butterflies and seeds turning into plants.
Challenge 4: What do Plants need to help them grow?
Why not pop to your local garden centre with your little one and choose some seeds to plant. It’s a long experiment as it takes time to see the results but you can talk about all the things a plant needs to grow, light, water, nutrients from the soil. If you’re really impatient Cress seeds grow quickly and you’ll see the results in days. For older children you can try to plant the seeds in different conditions (light/ no light, water/no water) to observe and compare the differences.
At Mini Professors we explore everything from dinosaurs to bubbles and chemical reactions to digestion (in fact 80 STEM topics) with our Mini Professors aged 2 to 5 years, either with their parents or in pre-school and nursery settings.
Due to maternity leave, classes will be restarting in January 2020.