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Enroll your child for the Atlas Mission – the ultimate learning companion for kids.
Last week I shared the shining moment of clarity I had when I was chasing down a school bus dressed in my bathrobe with a desperately sad preschooler padding behind me.
It was at that moment that I realized no matter how quick my slippers scuffled along, there was no way I could stop the bus when it was speeding along at a whizzing school zone pace oblivious to my fanatical arm waving.
It wasn’t that I was crazy, it was just science.
On the dejected walk home, I ignored the neighbors who were not oblivious to my display and jokingly explained to my daughter the first law of motion: an object in motion will stay in motion until something stops it.
Since then I have thought of six other awkward times when I could have used these genuine motherhood moments to teach my children science. No mother is immune from preschool follies, so the least we can do is use them to our advantage, right?
If you missed the first 3 embarrassing moments, you can check out part 1 of this post. I’ve also added a fiasco free activity to go along with each moment on the list to practice science with your preschooler!
Here’s Part 2:
I had to have all four of my children up, ready, and at the school for a parent-teacher meeting at 7:00 a.m. That meant it was a grab-a-hat-off-the-kitchen-counter-on-the-way-out-the-door kind of day.
I get to the meeting and chat with the teacher between the bobbing heads of my two youngest who were
fighting playing on my lap. Suddenly, to the amazement of the teacher, one of my well-behaved children interrupted me mid-sentence by punching my hat up into the air.
This action released an unknown stowaway milk cap that toppled off the top of my head and spun to a stop in the middle of the teacher’s desk.
Teacher blinked at me.
I blinked at her.
In my stunned silence I am imagining all kinds of thoughts this well dressed professional must be thinking about the bed-head mom who apparently squirrels away milk caps under her hat. I open my mouth to say something, but for some reason nothing came out.
Teacher starts to snort, but hides it really well throwing back her head and full-on laughing at my befuddlement. When she calms down she offers, “Well, at least we know they had a healthy breakfast this morning!”
Indeed! This is no time to melt into the floor; it’s just an opportunity to explore nutrition science with my children!
Besides, I’m sure lots of moms lose their hats on her desk only to discover wayward breakfast stuffs.
She probably sees it all the time.
Before you decide if that’s true or not, let’s move on to teaching our children the science of good nutrition!
Because rainbows make everybody happy, I like to teach my preschoolers about nutrition by laying out a rainbow of fruit and veggies.
Start by coloring a poster board with a large rainbow. Allow your kids to sort the fruits and vegetables according to their coordinating color on top of the rainbow (apples go in the red arc, broccoli goes in green for example).
If you’re low on fresh vegetables, pictures of fruits and veggies from magazines or printed from the Internet would also work well (and may even be better if you want to display the board when you’re done).
As they sort the food, talk to them about why each color is so important to our bodies. Here is a quick preschool breakdown of the benefits of each color:
End the activity by horrifying your children when you throw something of each color into a smoothie with orange juice and ice. They’ll probably be just curious enough to taste it, likely will love it, and you will earn mom-of-the-year for introducing a delicious healthy breakfast.
Just make sure to return the cap to the OJ.
Enroll your child for the Atlas Mission and let your child play with this award-winning educational program. Your child will become better at science without even realizing it!
I was at the grocery store one bitter but sunny January day. I had one kid in the cart and two following behind like good little ducklings. When I get to the car, I start unloading as a truck pulls up wanting to park in the spot next to me.
With someone waiting, I try to be quick, but I made the mistake of asking my preschoolers to hurry, which we all know is guaranteed to slow you down by several minutes. The waiting ladies are getting annoyed so I shove the kids (lightly) in the door.
I place the baby inside just as my empty shopping cart starts to roll into the waiting ladies’ car so I crack a wicked spin-move to grab the cart with both hands and step right onto a patch of black ice.
My face-plant wasn’t so much a belly flop as it was a painfully slow belly-meander. My feet gradually slipped further and further away from my hands and the weight of my body tipped the cart lifting the front wheels off the ground as I fought (and failed) to stay upright.
The grand finale was when I arrived at the ground with the cart sticking up in the air. I landed on my key fob which then opened the back hatch dropping my warehouse sized purchase of toilet paper onto the ground next to me.
As it turns out, there is no precedent for the next step to take when you, as a grown woman, suddenly morph into a belly-sliding macaroni penguin in the parking lot. Somehow standing up and shouting “ta-da” didn’t seem right.
As the frustrated waiting ladies moved on to a parking stall with less pizazz, all I could think of was how this was a great opportunity to teach my children the importance of salting icy pavement!
Well, it’s possible that thought came much later, but this experiment is slippery fun just the same.
For this Sticky Ice experiment you will need:
Fill a glass of water until it almost reaches the top. Toss in an ice cube and ask your preschooler to pick up the ice cube from the water using only the piece of string. Let them try lassoing, poking, or dipping the string around for a while.
When they’ve given up (or before they get frustrated and toss the glass across the room), set the piece of string on top of the ice cube and salt over both. Spend one full minute just observing the ice to see if anything changes.
When the minute is up, have your preschooler grab both ends of the string and lift up. It should have grabbed the ice and pulled it out of the glass.
Introducing the mineral salt to the ice cube lowered the freezing temperature of the water (ice) to below the normal 32 degrees Farenheit (0 degrees Celsius). Because of that, the salt melts the thin layer of ice briefly before the rest of the salty water cooled down to the non-salted frozen water temperature around it.
When the salted water cooled completely and froze again, the string was inside allowing your preschooler to pick it up!
We had been at the campground approximately 45 seconds and I had already stopped my toddler from eating a spoonful of ants, grabbing a handful of thistle, and discarding his own pants in the mud puddle.
I asked the 4&6 year olds to keep him entertained at the picnic table for a minute while I dug some things out of the car. I come back around to find my toddler covered head to toe in tiny pieces of toilet paper. He looked like a tissued chicken.
“Mom, he grabbed the sticky stuff on the tree and was playing in it and we tried to clean him up. . . “
Ah. Tree sap. Fan-didilly-tastic.
Since baby wipes were pretty ineffective, I just kept my red face forward as I walked my 30 lb. chicken through several crowded campsites to get to the showers.
My husband didn’t like the idea of packing up the kids and only returning when they were 18, so I was going to have to buck-up-buttercup and teach the kids some science.
Truly though, I didn’t mind because nature study or the “science of nature” is my absolute favorite branch of science to learn about with my preschoolers. It’s my favorite because children learn the most from nature when they follow their own curiosity!
The best way to teach nature science is by providing your children a handful of tools, such as:
Then set them loose outside. When your preschoolers find something interesting, ask them some leading questions:
What do you think made that footprint? Where do you think it was going? Do you see more of them? How big is the print? Is it bigger than your fist? Want to draw a picture for your records in your notebook?
When they find a particular plant fascinating, have them look at it closely. Ask them what it looks like under the eye loupe:
Does looking at the flower this closely make it look like something else? Is it mostly sunny or shady where it grows? Why do you think the stem and flower are different colors? Are there similar colored plants nearby?
When they spot an animal:
What do you think it was doing? Where did it look like it was going? What do you think it eats? Where do you think it lives?
If they ask a question you don’t know, don’t freak out! Just look it up in the field guide or tell them you can find out together using the Internet when you get home.
There’s really no right or wrong way to study nature science – children will learn an amazing amount just by being immersed in it. Just maybe steer clear of the sap 🙂
P.S. Did you know that the Atlas Mission is the only educational program that teaches your child ALL the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century?
It covers both core skills like reading, writing & STEM, as well as 21st century skills like creativity, critical thinking, problem solving & coding.
Atlas Mission – the new educational program for 3-7 year old children that increases their awareness of other countries and cultures.
Jodi Burnett creates educational content for the Atlas Mission. In an earlier life, she used to write the parenting column for a leading regional newspaper, the Tremonton Leader. She now spends her days researching educational methods, playing with microscopes, homeschooling her 4 children, and having a crazy time learning out in the world alongside her kids. She lives near the gorgeous Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City with her husband, 4 children, and a chubby snorting pug.