Preschool and kindergarten science activities about tracking animals

A little girl studying an animal track - a canine paw print - left in dirt.

© 2009 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved These preschool and kindergarten science activities build on what most young children are already interested in — animals! And in addition to teaching lessons about biology, they also offer kids opportunities to practice analytical, spatial, and symbolic reasoning skills. Where to begin: Free exploration with Read More »

Preschool science experiment: Using ice to teach kids about scientific concepts (with crucial safety tips)

preschool boy carefully removing ice tray from freezer

© 2008 – 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved A preschool science experiment is an opportunity to introduce children to the concepts of observation, prediction, and testing (Gelman and Brenneman 2004). Exciting? Yes. But it’s also tricky. On the one hand, research suggests that young children don’t think as creatively or as critically when Read More »

Paleontology and dinosaurs for kids: Tips for getting children hooked on science

© 2009 – 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Dinosaurs for kids: A gateway for STEM learning Paleontology is a great opportunity to teach kids about biology, evolution, and scientific thinking. Most young children are fascinated by dinosaurs, and studies suggest that curiosity boosts learning. When kids are intrigued — when they have questions Read More »

Can preschool board games boost mathematics skills?

Studies suggest the answer is yes…if the game has these particular features. © 2008 – 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved You might not expect much from a preschool board game. Players roll dice, or spin a spinner, and move their game tokens around a board.  But when a young child plays a number-based Read More »

Paleontology for kids: Reviews of the best books and DVDs

© 2009 – 2015 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Looking for some books and DVDs about paleontology for kids? Here are some resources that I like — media that help children connect their interest in dinosaurs to big concepts in biology. Cartoon overviews of the history of life on earth For an introduction to Read More »

Preschool science activities: How to nurture your child’s interest in the natural world

© 2008 – 2012 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Can we design better preschool science activities? Activities that stimulate curiosity, teach science concepts, and avoid overwhelming or boring children with lessons that are developmentally inappropriate? In the article below, I review the advice of educational and cognitive psychologists about preschool science education. But if Read More »

Preschool science activities: Encouraging the use of science tools

© 2008 – 2011 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Some preschool science activities are designed to foster scientific thinking. They ask kids to consider how we can use observations to test our ideas about how things work. Other activities may address practical, hands-on skills. How do you use a magnifying glass? A pair of Read More »

Preschool science experiment: Making mud bricks

This preschool science experiment is designed for kids who have already had experience playing with mud — both mixing mud and drying out mud. For best results, try this experiment after your child has explored the properties of dirt and mud. Materials Multiple dirt samples (sand, topsoil, dirt-and-gravel, etc.) Dried leaves or grass Sticks Buckets Read More »

Prehistoric sea monsters: Educational resources for kids (and parents, too)

© 2009 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Prehistoric sea monsters of the Mesozoic For more than 180 million years, the Mesozoic oceans were dominated by large, predatory sea reptiles: the dolphin-shaped ichthyosaurs the plesiosaurs, which included the long-necked elasmosaurs and the shorter-necked pliosaurs the terrifying, snake-like mosasaurs Who isn’t intrigued by such creatures? Well, Read More »

Preschool science project: Floating and boating

© 2009 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved These activities allow kids to explore the concept of buoyancy. The first preschool project is that old standby — “floaters and sinkers.” The two that follow introduce children to the more complex activity of boat-building. To help kids develop a deeper understanding on the subject, tackle these activities in Read More »