Preschoolers are curious about the world around them. They use their senses to discover how everything around them works. Let them play with their senses -- see, taste, touch, hear and smell -- when teaching about math and science.
Life Science and Math
Preschoolers are eager to learn about nature. Let them experience life science and math by observing plants and animals. As you take hikes, talk about how animals, birds and plants make their homes and find food. Pointing out a robust ant hill or a woodpecker busily drilling holes in a tree can open children's eyes to nature. Bring in the math by asking preschoolers to help count the holes the woodpecker has made. Ask how long they think the woodpecker takes to make each hole. Soak a bag of mixed, dry beans overnight, then let children plant one of each type to see which one sprouts quickest. Sorting dry beans by type is another math skill.
Physics and Math
Preschoolers learn by doing. Introduce them to the wonder of physics by blowing up a balloon. Rub the inflated balloon on a child's hair and then stick it to a wall to show how the process produces static electricity. Keep rubbing more balloons on hair and attaching them to the wall. Count how many balloons stay on the wall for a math lesson. Make bubbles with glycerin, detergent and water. Create bubble wands of various geometric shapes using wire coat hangers or pipe cleaners. Let preschoolers see what shape of bubbles the different wands produce.
Earth Science and Math
Jumping in puddles, collecting rocks or gathering fall leaves might seem like play to a preschooler, but these activities involve math and science. Watch how a puddle grows as the rain falls and then measure how big the puddle is each day until it disappears. Collect and sort rocks or leaves. Place them in order from biggest to smallest. Ask a preschooler to close her eyes and then place a rock in her hand. She should examine it -- without looking. Put it in a group of rocks, then tell her to open her eyes and identify the rock by its weight and texture.
Chemistry and Math
Cooking with your preschooler is doing chemistry and math with him. You are changing and combining the properties of substances and making a new substance -- chemical change. Making gelatin dessert or muffins gives opportunities to change properties and to make a new and yummy substance. There are opportunities to measure with your help using measuring cups and spoons. A big batch of homemade modeling clay or elephant toothpaste -- hydrogen peroxide, active yeast, detergent -- is another way to share the magic of chemistry with your preschooler.
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