The world is a fascinating place for 2-year olds to explore. Everything they see, touch, smell, hear and taste is an exciting new discovery. Coming up with easy science activities for your budding scientist to take part in is not difficult if you let your child lead the way.
From blowing bubbles to chasing rainbows, these ideas will have you experimenting and having fun while you learn together. Leave the boring, technical terms to textbooks.
Remember how much fun you had blowing bubbles as a kid? Secretly, don't you wish you still could? Not only is blowing bubbles in the backyard a lot of fun for a toddler, it is an activity that teaches physical science. You can perform this activity outside on a sunny day. You and your tot will have more fun knowing that it's okay to make a mess. Make a bubble solution by mixing 2 parts water with 1 part liquid dish detergent and a splash of liquid glycerin or corn syrup. You can buy some plastic bubble wands or use straws and funnels. Be creative with your little one and make your own wands by bending pipe cleaners into fun shapes.
This activity falls into the category of life science as your toddler learns about good hygiene habits and interacting with people. Pour some glitter onto your 2-year-old's hand. Make sure he does not get the glitter in his mouth. Or, use edible glitter as a safer option. Talk to your child about good germs and bad germs. Explain how good germs keep us healthy but bad germs can hurt us. Use simple, fun language that is easy to understand and keeps his attention. For example, "Bad germs are icky because they can make us sick." Shake hands with him so the glitter rubs onto your hand.
Talk about how he can avoid bad germs by washing his hands often with warm water and soap. Show him how to do this as you both wash all of the glitter off your hands.
Nature walks are a relaxing way to show your toddler all the wonderful things nature has to offer us. In this activity, you and your child will learn about plants as part of life science. You can take her down a local trail, through the park, around the block, or stay in your own yard. Bring a bag or a container along with your so she can collect her favorite leaves to bring home and experiment with. She'll enjoy talking about the different types of trees and the leaves that grow on them. Be prepared to answer his questions and ask your own about your observations. Are all leaves the same? What makes them different? What color are they? How do they feel?
What do trees need to grow healthy leaves? When you get home, your child can dip the leaves in paint and use them to print pictures, place a piece of paper over them and shade over it with crayons to create leaf pictures, or attach them to poster board and label each one with the tree's name for display.
Kids have been questioning the beauty and mystery of rainbows since the beginning of time. Your little tyke will be no exception in this activity. Nature leaves us all in awe, as we gawk at a gorgeous sunset or gaze out over the vast ocean. Discovering a rainbow is part of earth and sky science. If you are not lucky enough to catch a rainbow on a rainy day, you can make your own by holding a magnifying glass up to a window so that sunlight passes through it. Use a mirror to reflect the sunshine and ask your child to catch the rainbow as you turn it around the room. Choose crayons in rainbow colors and talk about them them as you draw pictures together. Explain that the colors of the rainbow make the shade white -- and that white is the actual color of sunlight. The concept of the light spectrum is a tad tricky for this age group, but it is good to discuss it anyway. Chances are your toddler might say, "No, sunlight is yellow." You can smile, and know that another time he'll understand this better.
You can also look for the colors of the rainbow in the bubbles you blow together. Follow up this activity by reading a book about rainbows.
- Teach Preschool Science: Physical Science: Blowing Bubbles
- Peep and the Big Wide World: Anywhere Activities; WGBH Educational Foundation; 2010
- Teach Preschool Science: Life Science- People: Stop that Germ!
- Teach Preschool Science: Life Science- Plants and Animals: Comparing Leaves
- Teach Preschool Science: Earth and Sky Science: Colors of the Rainbow
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