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Preschool Science: Learning at the Playground! (page 2)

Preschool Science: Learning at the Playground!

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Updated on Jun 24, 2009

“When you’re introducing simple laws of physics to preschoolers, it’s important to talk to them to help them process their observations and raise their level of thinking,” says preschool program director Tammie Donald. But your goal is not to bore your child with long science lectures: it’s to plant seeds that will continuously nurture her natural desire to learn. Want more ways to introduce science learning at the playground? Here are more quick and easy ways to work science learning into any playground outing:

  • Increased Heart Beat. Have your child feel his heartbeat before he starts to play. Let him run around the playground a couple of times, and then let him feel his heartbeat again. Does he notice his heart beating faster? Why did this happen?
  • Resistance From Air. Give your child two pieces of paper (identical size and weight). Have him crumple one of the pieces of paper into a ball, and leave the other one flat. Let your child drop both pieces of paper from the top of the sliding board at the same time. Which piece of paper falls faster? Even though both pieces of paper are identical, the flat piece has more air resistance, so it takes longer to hit the ground.
  • Windy Day Sand Experiment. On a windy day, have your child hold a handful of dry sand in one hand (provide goggles to protect your child’s eyes), and a handful of wet sand in the other. Ask him to extend his arms and open both hands toward the direction of the wind. Why didn’t the wet sand blow away?
  • Direction of the Wind. On a slightly windy day, ask your child to use his senses to figure out which way the wind is blowing. Does he feel the wind on a certain part of his face? Is his shirt blowing in a particular direction? Which way are the leaves on the trees blowing?
  • Sink or Float. Fill a container with water (carry a bottle of water to the playground), and drop different items in it – rocks, leaves, grass, and twigs. Which items sink to the bottom? Which items stay afloat?
  • A Sand Examination. Have your child place a little sand on a piece of plain white paper and examine it with a magnifying glass. Are all the grains the same size and color? Do the grains of sand reflect light?
  • Wet and Dry Sand Footprints. Have your child leave his footprint in both wet and dry sand. Which type of sand made the best footprint? Why?
  • Rolling Balls Down the Slide. Let your child roll two different sized balls such as a tennis ball, and a basketball down the slide (don’t push the balls, let gravity do the work). Use a timer to determine which ball reaches the bottom of the slide the fastest.
  • Wet and Dry Sand Shapes. Have your child fill one bucket with dry sand, and another bucket with wet sand. Pack the sand in both buckets tightly. Ask your child to gently turn each bucket upside down to remove the sand. What happened to the wet sand when it was poured out of the bucket? What about the dry sand? 
  • Shadow Hunt. Have your child walk around the playground and look for shadows made by playground equipment and trees. Encourage your child to find his own shadow, and do a little dancing!

Want more ideas for preschool science learning? Check out more of our preschool science activities.

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