As any scientist knows, the best way to learn science is to do science. This is the only way to get to the real business of asking questions, conducting investigations, collecting data, and looking for answers. With young children, this strategy can best be accomplished by examining natural phenomena that can be studied over time. Children need to have a chance to ask and answer questions, do investigations, and learn to apply problem-solving skills. Active, hands-on, student-centered inquiry is at the core of good science education.
Math and science concepts and skills can be acquired as children engage in traditional early childhood activities such as playing with balls, blocks, water, sand, and manipulative materials, as well as during dramatic play, cooking, and outdoor activities. Providing young children with opportunities to see the math and science in their everyday activities helps them to build the basic understandings and interest for future learning.
For example, in this activity, each object that you use will require a different kind of motor skill to 'throw' into the basket - helping your child understand the interplay of weight, speed and angles!
Experiment with throwing different objects like balls, wadded paper, and scarves into the basket
Once the free exploration defines the ideas of the game, you can ask some questions such as, “What would happen if you changed the height of the basket (by propping it up on a small table)? Or had two balls of different materials? Of different sizes? or which object is the lightest/ heaviest?”
Encourage your child to guess, explore what happens when they vary the height of the basket or use different balls, observe what happens, communicate their observations, and describe similarities and differences in each of their 'experiments'. They might observe differences in speed and distance contingent on the size or weight of the ball, the height of the basket, or other variables
Explain the use of basic mathematical concepts of speed, distance, height, and counting (how many balls/ things can the basket hold?) while engaged in scientific observations
You can increase the complexity by adding commands like 'throw only the yellow objects now' or 'alternate 'red', 'blue' and 'green' balls
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.