Wondering what preschoolers should know when it comes to scientific concepts, and how best to help them? Here's our essential guide to all things preschool science, plus expert book picks to make learning fun!
As preschoolers ask questions and seek answers to their "how" and "why" questions, they are beginning to practice scientific investigation. Preschoolers' natural curiosity makes exploring science together a blast. Learn how parents can help their preschooler develop science skills.
There's no better place to start implementing lessons about science into a child’s everyday experiences than at your kid’s favorite outdoor hotspot: the playground! Learn how to turn your child’s romp at the playground into a fun-filled adventure in science.
Integrating science into familiar settings can bring the magic of science to life, and encourage preschoolers to flex their scientific thinking skills. Here are some fun ways to introduce your preschooler to science while playing at the park.
Delve deep into the specific developmental stages of the three- to four-year-old's scientific thinking, from knowledge of Earth and space to life sciences and inquiry skills. From weather to the roles of human body parts, a three-year-old's scientific understanding is already developing.
Get the specifics about the developmental stages of the four- to five-year-old's scientific thinking, from understanding the needs of living plants and animals, to astronomical observations and scientific inquiry skills.
Preschool Books for Learning to Love Science
There are lots of amazing books to thrill preschoolers about the wonders of science and nature. Pam Allyn, author of What to Read When and Executive Director of Litlife, a national organization dedicated to literacy education, picked these 6 as some of her absolute favorites:
- Move! By Robin Page, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Company: 2006) For children who love nature, this funny book asks them to guess how animals move. Great illustrations then show them the many unusual ways animals move in their natural habitats, from swinging gibbons to slithering snakes.
- Whose Tracks are These? A Clue Book of Familiar Forest Animals by Jim Nail, illustrated by Hyla Skudder (Rinehart Publishers: 1994) In this book, children will learn how to identify the tracks of many different forest animals. The intricate illustrations and descriptions of each paw print will help them distinguish the trails and paths they find.
- Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming (Harcourt Children’s Books: 2007) This book uses beautiful rhymes to celebrate the natural world children see around them. The author shows her young audience the lives of the beetles and bugs they search for on summer afternoons in their own backyards.
- An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long (Chronicle Books: 2006) Eggs nurture so many baby animals before they are born, and this book is a beautiful tribute to that unique part of the natural world. For children who wonder how it all happens, this book uncovers the countless varieties of eggs, and the animals that are born from them. They see that no egg is alike, as well as the similarities and differences between the many types of eggs, and the deliberateness of nature in making sure they protect the young growing inside.
- The Sun is So Quiet by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Ashley Bryan (Henry Holt and Company: 1996) This collection of poems and its accompanying illustrations will make you smile as you feel winter’s chill, a rainbow, and the sun upon your face. Ashley Bryan brings a reverberating energy to these poems with his magnificent illustrations.
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing: 2001) Seeds journey far and long, facing danger from birds that eat them, sunshine that burns them, and the ocean that drowns them. Carried by the wind, the survivors of this amazing migration settle in the ground, where they become plants that send off their seeds the following autumn. Children curious about how seeds become plants and how plants flourish and multiply will find the answers to all their questions here.