Friday, September 30, 2011

What is preschool science?

Outside time and Nature Study are a primary focus at this age.  To me, nature study is a time to use our senses to discover and marvel at God's creations, like the kid's experiences at the ocean.  I generally let the kids play and discover on their own, however I do look for genuine opportunities to incorporate nature study.  They love to run through the open fields, jump in puddles, throw rocks in those same puddles, listen for birds, and can spend hours observing the farm animals. (See here)  Sometimes I point out the spiderweb.  Sometimes dad finds the bird nest.

But most of the time it is one of the boys that discovers the newest nature find.  Emory found this "bug" under the trampoline...

...and Elliott found these wildflowers growing over the hill ...

...and picked one for Emory.

Some days it's about climbing trees...

...and other days it is about hiding underneath the tree.

Right now we don't have expensive or fancy equipment for nature study, but I do plan on investing in some quality equipment as Elliott is becoming more careful in handling them.  Then his Dollar Tree specials can be passed down to the toddler.

Even though there is nothing more interesting to a preschooler than seeing and experiencing science first hand, I did buy a couple of inexpensive nature activity guides and a preschool science experiment book for inspiration to get us through the long winter months.

The Kid's Nature Book 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities & Experiences by Susan Milord

Fun With Nature Take-Along Guide

Nature for the Very Young:  A Handbook of Indoor & Outdoor Activities by Marcia Bowden. 

Science Play! by Jill Frankel Hauser is a science experiment/activity book geared for 2-6 year olds.  This should actually take us through Pre-K and Kindergarten, and at the same time, Emory can follow along too.

I also managed to snag a half price subscription to Your Big Backyard, which is a nature magazine geared towards 4-7 year old children issued by the National Wildlife Federation.  It has colorful pictures, age-appropriate information, games and activities, and even extension activities such as recipes, book recommendations and craft suggestions.  We've received our first couple of issues, and so far they look like promising rainy day reads.

I don't want the books and magazines to be our science, just to supplement.  For the next several years, I want focused, hands-on nature study to be the groundwork of our science curriculum.  My hope, though, is that they might give me inspiration in guiding the boys to learn and discover, and again, provide opportunities for us to enjoy other aspects of nature when the weather doesn't allow outdoor play.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I'm struggling with what to do for Nature Study with my 4 & 6 yr old. I think I've been trying to make it too complicated... I look forward to reading your other Nature Study posts!