Home Activities for Helping Your Child Learn Science: Preschool and Up

— U.S. Department of Education
Updated on Feb 4, 2010

Your home is a great place for you to begin to explore science with your child. Incorporating science activities and language into familiar routines will show your child how science works in his everyday life and provide him with a safe environment in which to explore and experiment.

A Science Walk


Observing closely is an important part of science, and tools such as a magnifying glass help scientists—even young ones—to observe, measure and do things that they otherwise could not do.

Even a walk around the yard can provide many opportunities to introduce children to scientific concepts and processes by helping them to gain the scientific habit of observing what's around them.

What You Need
  • A magnifying glass
  • Science journal
What to Do
  • Take a walk outside with your child—around the yard, to the end of the block, in the park—anywhere that's convenient. Invite her to bring along her science journal and show her how to use a magnifying glass. As you walk, stop and—depending on the season—ask her to use the lens to examine things such as the following:

    • dirt
    • leaves (from the same tree, one on the ground and one on the tree)
    • a flower
    • snowflakes
    • icicles
    • bugs
    • a mud puddle
    • a rock
  • Ask her to talk about what she observes. Ask, for example:

    • What's on each side of this leaf?
    • How is this leaf on the ground different from the one on the tree?
    • Are all the petals on this flower the same size and color?
    • Are these snowflakes exactly alike? How are they different?
    • How many legs does this bug have?
    • How many colors can you see in this mud puddle?
  • Other questions you might ask as she observes and examines things along the way include the following:

    • Is it smooth or rough?
    • Is it hard or soft?
    • Is it dry or wet?
    • Is it alive? How do you know?
    • What shape is it?
  • Give your child two different kinds of rocks or flowers and ask her to tell you how they are alike and different.

  • Make sure she records her observations, reactions, findings and opinions in her science journal. Drawing pictures and taking photos are good ways to record observations, and you can help her to write appropriate captions. Encourage her to share her journal with others and to talk about her experiences.

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