Nursery Case Studies
In the Early Years playful 'science' activities allow children to develop fine motor skills, as well as developing their knowledge and understanding of the world. Children can explore using their senses by pouring, mixing, squeezing and squelching materials that might not normally be available to them. Here are some playful science topic ideas:
During their messy play, pupils are busy measuring, pouring, stirring, concocting and creating. Their communication skills increase as they chat freely whilst 'cooking and serving' their rose petal soup and other dishes they have produced.
Children can spend countless hours playing with water: pouring it, watching it spill, attempting to change the path of a stream, splashing, and if possible making waves. Children learn important social interactions such as collaboration, turn taking, and problem solving as well as gaining physical learning such as precision in pouring and eye-hand coordination. These nursery children were so eager to try out their new water channelling set, they wrapped up warm and practised their pouring pebbles into the gutters, but they got stuck. The pupils can't wait until the warmer months to see how the water reacts!
Light and Colour
Light and colour is another great topic for Early Years playful science. Children can explore a variety of themes including, opacity, transparency, colour, shape and pattern. Light boxes or panels can be a useful tool to help highlight any unique features that would be difficult to see, especially with objects found in nature. Or you can take advantage of a sunny day with colour mixing goggles or paddles like these nursery pupils. Don't forget the lack of light could also be an interesting topic for example creating shapes with shadows or engaging the other senses with blindfolds.