Practice your science skills of making predictions, observing and finding patterns and learn more about the Sun by trying this activity together: In the morning, use some chalk to trace your child's shadow on your driveway or a sidewalk (or your child can trace your shadow). Write the time down inside the shadow. Come back an hour later, stand on the same spot and trace the shadow again. Do this a few more times - what do you notice? Try this activity again 6 months later. How have the shadows changed?
Learn more about the phases of the Moon, and practice your science skills of making predictions, observing and finding patterns by trying this activity: on a sunny day when you see the Moon high in the sky (yes, this does happen!), have your child hold a tennis or golf ball at arm's length so that it appears right next to the Moon. The ball will appear to have the same "phase" as the Moon!
Have you ever looked up at a cloud and imagined that it looks like a rabbit, or a bicycle, or a bowl of guacamole? Try that with your child once in a while - look up and tell each other what objects you see. And try the same thing with constellations - look for a group of stars, and challenge each other to come up with some new constellations. Then try to find them on another night! Just by doing that you will be helping your child practice science skills like finding patterns, observing, communicating, imagining and thinking creatively.
There is little more peaceful or rewarding experience than lying down on the ground with your child, looking up at the Moon, the stars or the clouds and just wondering, aloud or in silence, it doesn't matter. Just by doing that, you are helping your child to practice his science skills of observing, communicating, finding patterns, testing ideas and imagining.
Observing the Moon
The Moon has lots of details that you and your child can observe just by looking up. The Moon looks different every night and depending on where it is in the sky, it looks bigger or smaller. You can even see the Moon during the day - that's unexpected! Ask your child about her Moon observations, and build her science skills of observing, communicating and finding patterns in the process!
Want to engage your child in science? The best thing you can do is share his enthusiasm. Help him find books, websites and other resources that feed his interest. Challenge him with interesting questions, which will help him practice those science skills like observing, communicating, estimating and finding patterns. And most importantly, get outside and look up! The view of your sky is much better out there!
Patterns at Night
Look for constellations, the Moon, and planets on a series of nights. What does your child notice? She will begin to recognize that the same constellations appear in the same order. She'll also notice that the Moon looks a little different every night, but looks the same again about every four weeks. Look for these repeated relationships and you will be helping your child to develop her science skills of observing, communicating, predicting and finding patterns.
The best indicator of your child's future interest in science is not how much they know, it's whether they LIKE science. Encourage your child to invent stories about the universe. Ask him to write them down, create drawings, or act out his imaginings. Fuel your child's imagination about the universe and you will be helping him to develop her interest in science!
Find Your Favorites
You don't need to know the name of every star and constellation. Actually, no one can name them all! But if you find a few favorites, and learn how to spot them, you and your child can search the skies for them together. By doing that, you will be helping your child to develop her science skills of observing, communicating, predicting and finding patterns.