Today marks my first official day out for the summer. I generally have this rule where the first day out is declared “stay in your PJ’s day”. That didn’t happen today and I am completely ok with it. Because the weather is so beautiful I decided that today would be a perfect day to take care of the weeds in the garden. The boys, of course, were outside with me the entire time. They are such great helpers and tend to ask tons of questions. I believe in teachable moments and I also believe in hands on learning. Today was a great example of that and inspired me to share with you all the top 5 ways we keep our kids exploring science throughout the summer.
1. Start a Garden. You may not have all of the space in the world, and you may even be thinking that it is too late to start a garden. I am here to tell you that it is not too late and you DO have space. Even if you are in an apartment you could create a small container garden using an empty plastic storage container. Because we are so far into the summer you will need to purchase plants that are all ready started. A garden opens up the doors for so much discussion and hands on learning about science. Davis was asking me about the worms in our garden this morning. I was able to explain to him their importance as well as how the plants grow. I call that a two for one!
2. Catch Lightning Bugs (Fireflies). Even if you are not close enough to an open space, try to find a park or field one night for this. I promise you that not only your kids will have a blast, but you will have a blast! This is our nightly ritual. The boys stay out catching and releasing until I an barely see their faces. This is something I remember doing when I was little. Again, the door for discussion will be opened on how these little fellas light up. Graham explained to his brother what bioluminescence meant (I had to google it).
3. Pick Strawberries. Depending upon where you are from, now until August is the best time for picking strawberries. Gather a basket and head to a farm. Not only does this open the door to talk about where our food comes from, but the kids get to see the hard work that goes into it. Come prepared with your facts on how long it takes a strawberry to grow, how many seeds and maybe even how long it takes a strawberry to decay (I have boys… they think about those things).
4. Find or Create Cool Bug Books. Some of our favorite books feature diagrams of what each bug looks like from the inside out. Graham is a total facts guy and really gets into these. They also list some important ways these bugs operate. Check out the Bouncing Bugs books. If you are feeling particularly crafty why not make your own bug book? Have your kids go on an adventure outside to find cool insects. Once they are done they can draw and diagram them.
5. The Magic School Bus on Netflix. I can remember reading these books, but the shows must have come out a bit later. The boys have found these and absolutely love them. I just pull up Netflix Kids and there is Ms. Frizzel. They would probably watch an entire season in one sitting if I let them. The Magic School Bus teaches kids everything from technology, to animals and insects to the human body.
What are your ideas for keeping your kids minds engaged and focused on science and the world around them?