By Kimberly Wise
The Science of a Busy Summer at Home
ummers are long and hot and can be boring.And then you throw some active children into the mix and you’ve got a disaster on your hands if you’re not prepared. I speak from experience here. Last year I thought we wouldn’t need summer camps. I thought that a 5year-old would naturally find things to do without me. I was wrong. So very wrong. Pool memberships and outdoor nature hikes are always a nice go-to, but what I wanted to do was look at more handson scientific learning for this summer. Maybe not prevent the “summer slide,” but maybe keep my child from becoming a vegetable. Now, full disclosure: I’m not what you would call a very scientific person. I mean, I like science and I acknowledge its benefits, but I don’t really understand some of the finer points and about how to go about teaching it. But that is why we have books. Books have never steered me wrong and they continue to provide me with joy and knowledge to this day.What I did find were a couple of books at local stores (Avid and TREEHOUSE. kid and craft), some educational online resources, and a couple of children in the same age group.Then we explored science!
The porch is set up as a 24/7 art station
The Animalian Activity Book
he first thing we did was make a food chain. I chose this activity because it is a common core item for kindergartners, and seeing how my test subjects were kindergartners, I thought it would be an easy activity to start with. One would assume they remembered something from a week earlier and I also have a pretty good idea of where I am on the food chain in regards to most animals. So we looked at the book and we saw what food chains were and then, on a piece of paper, we drew 3 circles with arrows. I encouraged them to make their own food chain.This went over very well. Both children started talking about various foods that animals like to eat and what foods they like to eat.They then asked to paint their food chains. Since I have an art station set up for kids 24/7 on the porch, it was easy to turn science into art. I totally recommend having something similar set up if you have space and don’t mind mess because exploration and creativity not only boost other skills, but it also buys you a great 10 minutes of quiet time.
rom the gardening book, we decided to paint flower pots and then plant plants in them to make it look like heads sprouting hair. It is a little bit high on the motor skills set for both of them and neither wanted to paint anything resembling something with hair, so the pots became just decorated pots with plants. But that’s ok. It allowed us to plant our own plants, talk about the various parts of a plant, and get the responsibility of watering it and making sure it gets enough sun. Just remember that when you have two or more children, get the same starter plants so there isn’t fighting and tears. Next we made seed bombs. Now the book recommended that we make bird seed bombs.This would have been fine, but I didn’t have a lot of extra lard just lying around the