Recommended for educators and parents of preschoolers-age 8
I’m always on the lookout for books that have fun, easy activities for my younger patrons. Being a librarian in an urban, lower community made up largely of working class and working poor families, I’ve got a lot of parents concerned about their kids’ progress in math and science. One thing I’ve been working on putting together is a series of science workshops for my younger patrons. I’m a bit clueless in this area, so I’ve been getting some help from my colleague at our Children’s Library and Discovery Center in Jamaica (seriously, go to this library and prepare to be amazed); I also keep an eye out for blogs, websites, and books that offer some ideas. Hands-On Science and Math is one of those books.
Loaded with experiments and ideas for kids from preschool to roughly third grade (you can skew older or younger, with easy tweaks on these experiments), Hands-On Science and Math gets kids thinking and using their five senses to explore the world around them. Each experiment comes with an explanation of the scientific concepts behind the experiment, STEM lessons to be gained from the experiments, and ways to link to the math and literacy in each one. I’ve already created a few sessions for the kids in my library, including using a Matchbox car, cardboard, a pile of books, and a measuring stick to learn about simple machines; examining the world around them using a magnifying glass, and the almighty baking soda volcano (I’ll be doing that one solo, but I’ll give them instructions they can try at home). I’ll be trying these out over the winter break!
Parents and educators can recreate these experiments on a small budget: most of the ingredients and objects can be found at dollar stores or are already in your home. There’s an appendix on graphing topics, a popular math and literacy link here, including questions with concrete answers you can use to graph results. Further resources are available for anyone who wants to read more about STEM activities and young children.