Illinois Early Learning has created a bank of slides based on Standards Start at Home: A Guide to Early Learning for Parents/Families. These slides contain simple suggestions for parents of young children. The Standards Start at Home slides are available in PDF format (31MB). Feel free to share the full document.
Tips for Helping Your Child Learn Science Outdoors (slide 1)
- Discuss the effects of the elements (“What did the wind do to our leaf pile?”)
- Trace your child’s shadow on the sidewalk with chalk, then do it again a few hours later. Why is it different? Notice shadows of other objects.
- Let your child have a small area to dig in and see what they can find living in the dirt. Look together at the roots of the grass they dig up.
Tips for Helping Your Child Learn Science Outdoors (slide 2)
- Plant flower seeds together in a pot or in the yard and watch them grow. Discuss what the plant needs to survive; observe the plant’s parts and how they change.
- “Paint” with water outside, in sun and shade. Which dries faster? What happens to the color of whatever object they “paint”?
Tips for Developing Your Child’s Science Skills (slide 1)
- Ask your child questions based on the five senses. What do you smell? Taste? Hear? See? What does it feel like when you touch it?
- Discuss the weather with your child; ask “What is it like outside today?”
- Practice recycling; talk about how it helps our environment. Many local agencies offer free information and activities to help children learn about recycling.
Tips for Developing Your Child’s Science Skills (slide 2)
- Learn about the seasons through family traditions, books, songs, and community activities
- Encourage children to classify different living things. How are dogs and cats similar? How are they different? What animals live in the jungle? What lives in the water?
Tips for Developing Your Child’s Science Skills (slide 3)
- Discuss technology and what it does for us. Use a thermometer to check your temperature. Use a scale to weigh different items.
- Chart your child’s growth over time, writing down their height, weight, and the date. Take advantage of the many hands-on children’s museums; most offer free days
Tips for Learning Science Through Water Play
Offer items to use in water play, such as strainers, scoopers, measuring cups, corks. (Use whatever you have. For example, if you don’t have a strainer, poke holes in a plastic cup. If you don’t have a cork, use a ping-pong ball or anything that floats.)
- Make comparisons. What floats and what sinks?
- Observe which drains faster, a cup with a hole in the bottom or on the side?
- Experiment with different objects!
Science Activities: Colored Celery
What your child will learn: How to describe information; how to describe observations; how to make comparisons
Materials: Celery stalk; one glass; water; red or blue food coloring; scissors or a knife (for adult use only)
- Fill a glass half full with water
- Add 15 drops of food coloring and stir
- The adult should snip off the end of the large celery stalk
- Put the stalk in the water
- Leave the stalk in the water for 48 hours and observe the celery occasionally
Science Activities: Freezer Fun
What your child will learn: How to collect, describe and record data; become aware of changes in the environment
Materials: Paper cups; water; a pen; a freezer
- Fill three or four paper cups with different amounts of water, marking the water level on the outside of each cup
- Put the cups in the freezer
- Check the cups every 15 minutes for an hour. Observe changes. Ask questions such as “Which freezes faster?” “Where is the water compared with the mark on the cup?”
Science Activities: Nature Treasure Hunt
What your child will learn: To collect and describe information; to use senses to observe; to make comparisons
Materials: Sack or masking tape (Optional: paper and glue)
- Go on an outdoor treasure hunt, collecting nature items in a bag
- When you are done, take each item and ask the child to describe it
- Sort and classify the items!
Science Activities: Taste Testing
What your child will learn: How to use their senses to explore tastes
- Paper and pencil
- A variety of foods: salty, sweet, bitter, crispy, hard
- Put the variety of foods in a bowl or on a tray
- As the child tastes each food, ask her to describe it
- Divide a paper in half; label one side “Likes” and the other side “Dislikes”
- As the child determines likes and dislikes, record the food in the appropriate column, then review the lists together
About this resource
- Family Child Care
- Teachers / Service providers
Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
- Preschoolers (Age 3 Through Age 5)
Related Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards: