Science in Play: A Guest Post by Emma from Science Sparks

Children are full of questions about the world around them and are like little sponges in the early years. It’s the perfect time to add science to play and learning activities, which will hopefully inspire a love of science throughout childhood. Science activities don’t need to be complicated or heavily planned, the best ideas are often those that use only a few simple materials you probably already have at home.

For example a tray of colourful, glittery ice, warm water and a pipette, can lead to hours of making the ice melt, talking about how it feels and how to make it melt faster ( or more slowly ). Just a few bits of ice provide the opportunity to learn about melting, freezing, temperature, team work, problem solving and so much more. My biggest piece of advice for encouraging an interest in science is to let children explore, ask questions and design their own investigations. If they have the time and space to play, the questions will come. You just need to set up a starting point and that can be something as simple as a bug hunt in the garden, or going on a nature walk to collect treasures.

The Primary Science Lab Set from Learning Resources is perfect for inspiring scientific play. Use the magnifying glass on a bug hunt, the pipette for dropping water on ice or trying a bit of chromatography and the beakers and test tubes for making fizzy potions.

Magnet wands are also great for all kinds of investigations. We used them to test objects around the house, for making magnet mazes and even painting with magnets.

I find STEM challenges are a fantastic way for children to learn using their natural problem solving skills, if the first attempt to solve the challenge doesn’t work, they can try again, changing the solution a little each time.

Coding activities are also wonderful for inspiring children and Botley the Coding Robot from Learning Resources is a brilliant starting point. Botley is a coding robot that helps children develop critical thinking and problem solving skills which is so important in later years.

Science gives you an invaluable opportunity to learn alongside your children and make the ordinary, extraordinary together. There really is nothing better.