Curious Kids Science

10 ways to incorporate science into your play routine

10 ways to incorporate science into your play routine

I'm so excited to introduce our very first guest blogger!

Meet Erin. Erin is a mum, wife, early childhood and primary school teacher. She is also the Founder of Celebrateplay - a digital learning space supporting and empowering mums of early learners in play and organisation.

To learn more about play and to be inspired, join the celebration with Erin at:
Website - www.celebrateplay.com.au
Facebook Page - www.facebook.com/celebrateplay
Facebook Online Support Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/celebrateplay/?ref=group_header
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/celebrate_play/
And now, without further ado, here are Erin's tips on the 10 ways you can incorporate science into your play routine with early learners!

Science is not every parent’s cup of tea. It can be messy, difficult to understand, not interesting, require specific resources, be challenging to fit in the schedule, too much with littler ones under foot and can be costly. 

...so today, I am sharing 10 ways you can undertake simple, play-based science activities and incorporate them into the everyday play routine. Eeek-sounds impossible doesn’t it? Let's give it a go. 

'Our early learners are born researchers'. 

1. SCIENCE DRAMATIC PLAY LEARNING CENTRE - create a space in your home for a temporary science hub, where you can immerse your learners with science sight-words, posters, containers, lab coats, plants, life cycles, experiment ideas etc. We know, how busy parenthood is, so we have done the hard work for you and sourced some great places for printable resources at Little Lifelong Learners, Experiment ideas and kits and Frog Lifecycle Animal Kits at and your local dollar/discount stores are sure to have a few gems e.g. dress up lab coats, pot plants, containers etc.

However, when assembling resources for any play experience, search your home first. You will be amazed what can be found and used, for example, an old white work shirt transforms easily to a lab coat!

2. SORT ROCKS - Geology at its best for our early learners can begin with a rock/gem collection. We recently sourced ours from Scholastic Book Club along with a poster of information (the ideal tool to have because if you’re are like me with limited knowledge on the geology front-posters like these are an asset). Rocks/gems can be sorted by our little ones by colour, shape, texture and size and the older learners may be able to go a step further with hypothesising where in the world it is found and how it is formed. 

'Excuse the mess, we are busy making memories' 

3. SENSORY PLAY - is all about exploring the environment and the discovering how things work. Some simple sensory play ideas involve common household ingredients such as vinegar, bi-carb soda, flour, rice, split peas, cocoa, water, milk, jelly, food colouring, glue, pasta and relate to science through chemical reactions, change of texture or colour, the use of the five senses and play. Three of our favourite sensory experiments are:

4. OBSERVE BUGS - Living in Australia, where wildlife is all around us, lends itself to opportunities to observe bugs (entomologists study insects). All you need for this one, is a magnifying glass, an outdoor space and you are ready to go. You may like to record your findings by drawing the bugs seen or taking photos just as a scientist would. These recordings are an excellent way to extend the play eg. describe the bug, create an insect invitation to play (younger children), classify the bug (older children).
Toy bugs and a magnifying glass for science discovery
5. SHADOW PLAY - this one is simple physics. Head outdoors, observe your shadows and how they change at different times of the day. You can talk about how the position of the sun affects the length of the shadow and trace the shadows (chalk is perfect) so you can see the changes in length. 
6. EXPERIMENTS WITH LIQUIDS - Let's try some chemistry and physical changes! Measure and mix liquids such as lemonade, juice, cordial, water, food colour and observe the changes in colour, texture and quantity. Discuss these changes and if your little learners are up to making predictions (hypothesis/hypothesising) take them on that journey. Here are three liquid experiments to get you started: 

Layered Liquids

Dancing Sultanas

Walking Water

Coloured water moving between jars through paper towel 
'Everyone loves jumping in muddy puddles'. Peppa Pig

7. WATCH THE WEATHER - your little ones will love being weather watchers (meteorologists). Discuss and record the daily weather on paper/ by heading outdoors (nothing beats a hands on play experience) or looking through the window. Words you may use with little learners include: rain/y, snow/y, storm/y, hail, hot, sun/ny, cloud/y, humid, rainbow, wind/y, puddles and with the older ones: humidity, precipitation, names of the different types of clouds, atmosphere, water vapour to name a few. 

8. GARDENING - whether it be a vegetable garden, herb garden, flower pot or grass head, working with plants like a botanist is sure to grab your little learners attention and can be as easy or elaborate as you see fit. Like many of our suggested play experiences, conversation and expanding vocabulary are a prime focus. Discuss the plant terminology your little one already knows, introduce new words, name and look after (haircuts) the grass head, classify and identify vegetables/fruits/plants eg. is a tomato a fruit or vegetable? is a potato a root vegetable? and then move on with the creation of a meal using the fruit/vegetable/herb or press a flower using thick heavy books or a modern day flower press. Gardening might also lead to composting and/or worm farms.

A small potted cactus garden

'Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star'. W Clement Stone

9. STAR GAZING - Star gazing (a form of astronomy) is an incredible activity for our budding scientists to enjoy. Set up a blanket and bring out a thermos to make hot chocolates along with some sleeping bags. Lie down and talk about the stars and constellations. 

10. BUBBLE FUN - Bubbles are fascinating, awe inspiring and provide the opportunity to explore and investigate science concepts such as elasticity, surface tension and chemistry with our little learners. Bubbles are pockets of air coated in a soapy film. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and quantity pending on what type of bubble blower is used eg. shape blowers, teeny tiny blowers, hand mitts, bubble wands, handheld bubble blowers etc. studying bubbles lend themselves to our learners practising the skills of observation, experimentation and investigation. Some questions you can ponder with your early learners are: why are bubbles round and why do they pop?
Detergent bubbles
Remember to ensure your little learners are supervised during all play experiences. 

...so what do you think? Did we just conquer what we thought was near impossible? Have a play based Science experiment that is not included, pop it below in the comments, so we can all benefit from your wisdom.

Leave a comment: