Guiding Curiosity Activities

Do you have 5 minutes? Select from the following a topic your child has shown interest in. Here are ideas for starting conversations, extending purposeful play, capitalizing on curiosity, and having fun in day-to-day interactions. Don’t try everything in these lists at once. Follow your child’s lead, building on that inquisitiveness incrementally, revisiting a topic with new suggestions for an observation, a comparison, measurement, or experiment. Repetition and practice promote learning. These ideas should help you to stay one-step-ahead in helping to grow wonder and understanding. For more information, please also read the “What is Guiding Curiosity” page, or the our book for sale titled “Guiding Curiosity: Nurturing the Young Scientist.” We hope you enjoy sharing these activities with your child.

 
Aug/25/2016
Animal Relationships / Cooperation / Helpful Behaviors / Symbiosis

Symbiotic Relationships: Cooperative Relationships Among Animals

How come we can’t all get along? These days you may be asking that question a lot. If it is any consolation, in the animal and plant kingdom...

 
 
 
Jul/20/2016
Animals / Backyard Science / Mollusks / Seashore Science / Slugs / Snails

Backyard and Seashore Science, Mollusks II: Snails and Slugs

Snails and slugs in the garden are labeled as pests. Snails cooked in garlic and butter is labeled a delicacy (for some)! To inspire curiosity an...

 
 
 
Jun/14/2016
Forces / Gravity / Motion / Physics / Play / Push/Pull / Sports

Play, Physics and Sports: Children and Learning

The Guiding Curiosity activities assume that you as the person doing the guiding are building on or extending a child’s play. I am not sure I r...

 
 
 
Jun/03/2016
Animals / Domesticated / life science / Wild

Animal Activities for Children: Wild or Domesticated?

Science related activities and school curriculums for young children commonly cover life science topics related to animals. Most children tend to...

 
 
 
Apr/29/2016
Decision Making / Democracy / Elections / Voting

Election Year Activities: Voting as a Choice

Children are acutely aware of news about the presidential primaries. They hear the television coverage, campaign ads, and they listen to folks on...

 
 
 
Apr/26/2016
Animals / Ecosystems / Plants / Pollination

Exploring Ecosystems With Children: Pollinators

This spring and summer take some time to introduce a young child to two profound lessons in science.   Two themes are easy but critica...

 
 
 
Apr/20/2016
Constellations / Greek and Roman Mythology / Planetary Science

Classic Stories and Celestial Objects: Curious About Constellations

Children can go through phases where they are obsessed with something. Those were some of my favorite times parenting when that passion pulled us...

 
 
 
Apr/12/2016
Blossoms / Citrus / Fruit / Life Cycle of Plants / Seeds / Trees

Fruit Trees and Their Blossoms: Hands-On Activities for Spring

Has your child noticed the signs of spring? Have you heard comments about daffodils, new leaves, green grass, or even the smell of nature unfoldi...

 
 
 
Apr/03/2016
Animals / Insects / Spiders / Webs

Special Spiders: Give This Animal Activity a Spin

Spiders! I know, not everyone’s favorite subject. For children, spiders are the stuff of legend. Think of Charlotte’s Web, the it...

 
 
 
Mar/30/2016
Fabric / Insulation / Sheep / Water Resistant / Wool

What Things Are Made Of: Wool

I finished my last post on rabbits and realized that I failed to discuss Angora rabbits, or rabbits raised for their wool. So, let’s fix that o...

 
 
 
Mar/26/2016
Animals / Hares / Mammals / Rabbits

Rabbits and Hares: Activities About Animals for Children

Easter is around the corner. Like so many of our holidays, the symbols or images of Easter bare little relation to the original significance or m...

 
 
 
Mar/15/2016
Amphibians / Animals / Frogs / Habitats / Life Cycles / Toads

Amazing Amphibians: Frogs and Toads

Wrapping up an activity post on princesses, I began thinking about frogs. Princesses kissing frogs? It is fun to contemplate the message of that ...

 
 
 
Mar/06/2016
food / health / history / Medieval history / Princess

Princess Paragons: Enlightening Pretend Play

Based on many current depictions, in books and on screen, princesses seem to have it all. Money, jewels, good looks, and a staff of people dedica...

 
 
 
Feb/29/2016
Gravity / Physics

Gravity: First Physics

In several posts, we have used the term “gravity” without explaining or exploring what it is. Children, even infants, have a sense of what gr...

 
 
 
Feb/24/2016
Foods / kitchen science / Plants

Kitchen Science: The Many Uses of Corn

When in the kitchen with your child, preparing a meal or snack, opportunities to initiate conversations about scientific topics are too numerous ...

 
 
 
Feb/18/2016
Moon / Planetary Science / Space Exploration

Magical, Mystery Moon

A man in the moon, cows jumping over the moon, the moon is made of cheese. Oh, the things children hear about the moon. The moon is the most...

 
 
 
Feb/10/2016
Earth Science / Evaporation / Water Cycle / Weather

Earth’s Water Cycle: A Guided Discovery

I watched, from the comfort of my Arizona home, as snow piled up on the East Coast this last month. Record levels in some areas. Once that melts ...

 
 
 
Feb/07/2016
Crystals / Water phase change / Winter Activities

Frozen Water Vapor = Snow Crystals

Consider exploring the world of frozen water. This time of year, your child can discover fascinating things about ice and snow (snowflakes) – e...

 
 
 
Feb/01/2016
health / Hearts / life science

I Heart Valentine’s Day

We often try to discuss science topics that are associated with the season or a holiday. This month there is no shortage of hearts as we approach...

 
 
 
Feb/01/2016
Crystals / Earth Science / kitchen science / Minerals

Curious About Crystals?

Crystals, crystals everywhere, even those you can eat! All year long you and your child can explore crystals in the kitchen including sugar and s...

 
 
 
Jan/17/2016
Materials / Properties of Objects / Wood

What are things made of? Exploring Wood and It’s Properties.

In previous posts, we invited you to explore with your child what things are made of. Exploring materials and their properties is fun, but also a...

 
 
 
Jan/09/2016
Acids and Bases / Chemical Reactions / kitchen science

Kitchen Science: Acids, Bases and Common Kitchen Chemical Reactions

Chemistry doesn’t have to wait until high school. You and your child can create impressive chemical reactions in your kitchen now, right before...

 
 
 
Dec/19/2015
Adaptation / Animals / Real vs fictional reindeer

Real Reindeer!

Tis the season! Lights, tinsel, ornaments, trees and oh those reindeer! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen…Vixen seems an interesting choice of a n...

 
 
 
Dec/16/2015
Adaptation / Animals / biological science / Hibernation / Migration

Animal Adaptation: Winter

As the temperature drops, I find myself wondering how the animals in my yard cope with the cold. I have heard children ask questions that suggest...

 
 
 
Nov/28/2015
Geography Lessons / Maps / Spatial Thinking

Make Room for Maps

Where am I? Where are we going? Where did the Pilgrims live? Where do penguins come from? Is your child likely to ask “where” questions? If t...

 
 
 
Nov/22/2015
Dinosaurs / Geologic Time Lines / Prehistoric Humans

Dinosaurs and Prehistoric People Did Not Coexist!

Why did Disney have to go there? Dinosaurs and humans co-existing? The new Disney/Pixar movie entitled “The Good Dinosaur“ opening this Thank...

 
 
 
Nov/17/2015
health / history / Kids and vegetables / kitchen science

The Unloved Spud

For many households, a potato dish will be included on the Thanksgiving menu. Before you start to mash, bake or roast those spuds, invite childre...

 
 
 
Oct/21/2015
Activities with Fruit / health / life science

Awesome Apples

Fall is here and that means a whole new crop of fruits and vegetables are available for consumption. One food item that used to be linked to cool...

 
 
 
Oct/19/2015
Activities About Motion / Energy and Force / Gravity

Kids and Things in Motion: Primary Physics

One of the most fascinating things for young children about the physical world is what happens when they act on something and there is a conseque...

 
 
 
Oct/06/2015
food science / health / kitchen science

Where Does Food Come From? The BLT

Does your child know where her food comes from? Why not ask? A fun set of questions asked regularly can help kick start thinking about the source...

 
 
 
Sep/28/2015
Animals / Bugs / health / Insects

Flying, Stinging Insects

Our last post on insects explored the world of flying, biting bugs, or specifically mosquitos and flies. This post delves into the world of flyin...

 
 
 
Aug/27/2015
Animals / health / kitchen science

Kitchen Science: Milk and Dairy Products

Here are suggestions for turning an everyday experience into an amazing learning opportunity! There is a method to this madness. Click on <...

 
 
 
Aug/16/2015
Chemistry / health / kitchen science

Everyday Science: Soap

Who doesn’t love a hot bath? Well, lots of kids aren’t so happy about their encounters with soap and water, preferring to avoid cleaning behi...

 
 
 
Jul/14/2015
Animals / health / Insect Science Activities

Activities for Summer: Biting Bugs

Summer is here and we’re all enjoying the warmth of the sun, longer days, and perhaps a vacation to somewhere exciting or relaxing. We are also...

 
 
 
Jul/06/2015
history / navigation / Pirates in Play / Ships

Pirate Play: Activities for Exploring Their Life and Times

Do you have a young pirate on board? Aaarrgh (I know, cliché, but fun to type)! Want to extend her play with some tips about pirate life? If you...

 
 
 
Jun/18/2015
Animal / health / life science

Fun Life Science Activities: Exploring Feet

My last post described a concept that is the foundation of the physical sciences, or materials and their properties. Similar core concepts are ad...

 
 
 
Jun/09/2015
Earth Science / Materials / Physical Science

Magnificent Metals

Standards that are meant to inform teachers about what to focus on in classroom science classes include references to materials ...

 
 
 
May/13/2015
Backyard Animals / life science

Learning about Wild Things: Squirrels and Chipmunks

You have probably noticed us all winter, as we scampered over the snow. We did our best to survive the cold. But now that it is spring and warmer...

 
 
 
May/08/2015
Earth Science / Geology / Soil Science

Mud Season

For many folks around the country, it is spring, which means mud season. If you have young children in your home you are are probably dreading th...

 
 
 
Apr/16/2015
Insects / life science / Nature Education

Flying Insects I: Butterflies and Moths

I saved many of my children’s drawings and artwork from when they were little. Among these, the family, our house and pets are well represented...

 
 
 
Apr/09/2015
health / kitchen science / life science

Fun Fundamentals of Fish

Nutritionists and health care providers are encouraging all of us to eat more fish. Fish is good for you, they tell us. It is especially rich in ...

 
 
 
Feb/11/2015
Earth Science / health / Weather

Weather Wow

Weather is a topic of conversation we have with our friends, relatives, co-workers and even strangers. Your child is both aware of these conversa...

 
 
 
Jan/14/2015
Earth Science / health / kitchen science

Start with Salt

Being stuck indoors because of cold or wet weather is not an excuse for ignoring topics in earth or physical sciences. In your kitchen, there are...

 
 
 
Jan/09/2015
Animals / Birds / life science

Backyard Birds

As I write this, a hummingbird flits outside the window of my office. She pauses, seemingly peering in, checking me out. I am lucky to live in Ar...

 
 
 
Dec/18/2014
food / life science / Plants / Traditions

Holiday Plants II

In a previous post you and your child were invited to search for, identify and explore evergreen plants included in holiday decorations. Many hol...

 
 
 
Dec/08/2014
Holiday Plants / life science / Plant Science / Traditions

Amidst the Clutter: Identify Holiday Plants

The holidays are upon us and with them the garish decorations, obnoxious music, and enticements to spend money. Don’t get me wrong. I love many...

 
 
 
Nov/27/2014
food / kitchen science / life science / poultry / turkey

Thinking Turkeys

It's turkey time! As you prepare to enjoy holiday meals with your family, consider including your child in the preparation of various dishes. You...

 
 
 
Oct/21/2014
activities / Fruits / life science / Pumpkins

Mounds and Pounds of Pumpkins

The mounds of orange in front of roadside farm stands or the grocery store are hard to miss this time of year. It’s Fall and pumpkins are in se...

 
 
 
Sep/30/2014
health / life science / mouth / teeth

Sink Your Teeth Into Learning

Is brushing teeth in your household a fun and routine activity or is it a struggle? Either way, teeth brushing is an essential habit to develop a...

 
 
 
Aug/06/2014
eggs / food / fun / health / kitchen science / life science / phase changes

Egg-Spolartion for Breakfast

Breakfast + Science: Learning Starts Early

Science lessons during breakfast? Absolutely! These are all suggestions for how you can “spin” a simple egg preparation into a playful learni...