There are many toy companies such as Learning Resources who create brilliant toys that encourage learning in these areas. These are great, and I use them with Lily when it comes to me wanting her to get thinking a little more when enjoying play. As much as I love and support toys such as these I wanted to create blog posts for you this month which are simple ideas that you can do yourself at home without spending too much money. These ideas are all perfect activities for children aged 18 months onwards.
The first learning area of S.T.E.M is Science. Science is happening all around us and your child will have already naturally learnt things in this area. Simple things like learning about the body, knowing where their nose is, their eyes are. Knowing that they use their eyes to see and nose to smell. They will have learnt about gravity, that when they throw a ball in the air it falls back down. They have learnt that it goes dark at night, and light in the morning. These simple things are all building the foundations to learn and understand more about science.
So I decided to set up a little experiment for Lily that will help with learning about science. The experiment is really simple and while it seems like you don't learn too much from it as an adult. As a child it has great learning potential and is also really fun for them to do. The experiment we did was mixing water with colours.
For this activity I would recommend and adult is present. You will need some type of see through container, or multiple. Your choice. I picked up this plastic fish bowl which is meant to be for drinking cocktails. Then you need some food colouring. I chose the nice primary colours of Blue, Red and Green but you can choose which ever you like. Last but not least a spoon to do the mixing.
I then filled up the bowl with water. I don't think Lily has much of a clue what we were going to be doing but she was eager to get mixing the water in the bowl. I let Lily choose which colour she wanted to do first. She chose red. So now all you need to do is pour a little bit of red food colouring into the bowl and let the magic of science begin.
As you pour the food colouring in you will be able to see where the two liquids meet but aren't yet mixed. This is called diffusion. Although your child won't need to learn this word yet or understand the concept of it, this will teach your child that there are two liquids in the bowl and will show what happens when they meet. It is quite cool to watch as the red dances and moves about in the water. The colouring will eventually start to mix itself and the water will turn red but by giving it a good stir this suddenly will turn your water fully red a lot quicker. This is teaching your child about process and also about how mixing is speeding up the process.
The next colour we used was green. Lily was amazed when she saw the colour go into the water and form almost what looked like clouds of colour. It also showed the colour starting to mix from the bottom first which looked really interesting. It's a great experiment for children to watch and experience something change colour. This is also a great experiment to help learn colour. Lily is already great with her colours and so knew what colours the water had changed into when I asked her.
The experiment is also a really good one to be able to discuss and record what is happening. During it I would ask Lily what was happening and she would tell me that it was turning green/red/blue. It's also great to ask them if they want to put more colour in as usually the colour then changes again as it gets darker. At the end of doing all three colours I asked Lily which was her favourite colour out of the 3 bowls we did and she said green.
The last thing we did with our experiment was mix two colours in with the water. We decided to put blue in first and then add some red. One little tip for you is to not put too much of each colour in or it goes too dark and you can't really make out what colour it comes out as. Lily thought it was amazing when we added the red to the blue and she could see both colours as the red slowly started to mix into it. As soon as Lily started to mix it, the colour of the blue changed. Lily knew straight away what colour it was. It was one of her favourites. Purple. This part of the experiment was great for teaching about how colours can change when you mix two of them together.
So overall this was a really great activity that not only captured Lily's attention and excited her but also taught her some really great things about science.
To sum up it taught her.
- About Mixing
- About Mixing
- A Basic Understanding of Liquids
- A Basic Understanding of Diffusion
- About Process
- About Colour Changing
If you haven't done this activity with your child I highly recommend doing it. I plan to do it again with Lily especially when she is a little bit older and I can teach her a little bit more about what happens and why and she will have a better understanding of it. For our first S.T.E.M activity I think it went very well and Im hoping Lily will be excited for our Technology activity next week. Head back next week to see what we did.
Have you ever done something similar with your child? Is this something you may plan to do now?