Children are born with a sense of wonder and a passion to understand the world around them. They naturally ask questions, observe, and try out solutions - all important parts of thinking scientifically. As young children explore through play, they learn many science concepts. And even more learning occurs when a child is offered a variety of learning opportunities.
A Child May
0 to 2
- use her senses to identify objects and people around her.
- begin to predict and anticipate sequences of events and notice cause and effect.
- begin to classify objects in a simple but intelligent way.
- use language to classify objects according to basic characteristics (toy animals, blocks, books).
2 to 3
- ask many questions about why things are the way they are and how things work.
- observe similarities and differences between objects.
- conduct his own experiments, such as stacking the blocks in a new way.
- be able to predict cause and effect.
3 to 4
- enjoy sorting and classifying objects.
- begin to classify things by their functions.
- notice and compare similarities and differences between objects.
- use words to describe the things she observes.
- become interested in complex experiments and using new materials in a variety of ways.
4 to 5
- enjoy exploring and using new materials and objects.
- use concepts such as height, size, and length to compare objects.
- enjoy learning about real-life places and things and how they work.
5 to 6
- engage in long-term science projects such as growing plants, recording the weather, and collecting and comparing shells.
- classify items by a variety of similarities and differences.
- have a long attention span for activities that interest him.
This article originally appeared in the March, 2001 issue of Early Childhood Today.