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Books that Answer “Why” Questions
Every child is a scientist who has innumerable why and what if questions. It’s rather common for parents of today’s world to look up answers on computers and mobile devices, but I still believe in good old fact books that children can browse whenever they can. We have a lot of books in our home library that are great for this purpose. I Wonder Why series is a lot of fun – it is built in Q&A format and answers in a concise form to typical questions kids might ask. Sometimes there are also suggestions of activities that kids can do to get a hands-on experience with the topic of their interest. Other great books for kids age 5+ that allow to dig deeper into particular topics are older A Child’s First Learning Library series, Usborne First Encyclopedia series, and, of course, DK Eyewitness series.
Books with Science Experiments
Again, nowadays, there is no problem to find great science experiments online. In fact, I also diligently collect them on my Science Pinterest board. But I still cannot pass up a well written book of science experiments. I wrote about our favorites in the post about Science Experiments and Science Books, but What Is It Made Of? by Dan Glover remains Smarty’s absolute favorite and has been “read to death” by now. Of course, we also did a fair number of suggested experiments from that book.
Books That Take Science on the Next Level
Let’s be honest – when kids experiment with soda and vinegar, mix colors, or make frozen bubbles – it’s spectacular and absorbing science play, but it’s not “real science”. Scientific method requires a lot more rigor and, sadly, more “boring” for kids than spectacular science that they cannot explain but can still enjoy. I am not in favor of introducing full scientific method too early except its vocabulary, but older children need to be able to formulate a hypothesis, design the ways to test it and record their results. This is something that is usually taught to kids in US when they are in the fourth and fifth grades (9-11 year old), and I think it’s a good age to really comprehend this method. Younger kids in our school are taught some of these skills when they are making class projects for their annual science fair. Participation in science fair is open to all kids from K and up, and My Science Project Is Due Tomorrow offers some fun experiments for younger scientists. I like that many of the experiments do require kids to record their results and the book also teaches them “why”s of each experiment. I am still trying to get Smarty to wrap her head around all the “ingredients” of a real science project that she wants to do for her science fair this year as an individual participant.
Activities for Science PlayThe best way to encourage science play is to introduce kids to the basics and to safety techniques, and then let them try things out on their own. We put together Lab in a Box for exactly this purpose and my daughter had a lot of fun making potions.
Activities to Introduce Scientific Method
Science Classes and Camps for Kids
You TurnDo you have a favorite book for little scientists?
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