Er Ya Qin used candy to teach her 3-year-old daughter about supersaturated solutions and our different feelings. Photo: copyright.
Working at home has proven to be very challenging if you have a toddler who needs to be entertained every 10 minutes. I often include her favorite cartoons when attending work and meetings. However, after a week of YouTube indulgence, I realized I couldn’t continue to increase her screen time.
As an employee of the Science Center, I wondered if I could interest my three-year-old daughter in studying science. So I started researching simple activities and collected household products to conduct simple scientific experiments with my child.
Scientific experiments using household materials
The first experiment we did together included lemon juice and baking soda, which we used to make a lot of foam! She practiced fine motor skills when pouring lemon juice into a bottle with a small hole. And then I taught her to count the number of tablespoons of baking soda that needed to be added to lemon juice to make a chemical reaction happen. She jumped for joy at seeing the bubbles formed during the reaction!
This was when I tried to incorporate more scientific experiments with everyday subjects.
One day she returned from preschool with a party bag filled with colorful candies. When she asked if I could have candy, I said, why don’t we try them?
Study science with candy
I got a white plate, and she carefully laid out the candy on the plate. Every time she put colored candy on a plate, I asked her to guess the taste of that candy.
“One day when she asked if she could have candy, I said,
why don’t we experiment with them? ”
The lesson in question was how our different senses work together when it comes to delicious food (or sweets). Our vision gives us the first clue about the food we are about to get into our mouths. In the case of candy our sense of smell gives a hint of the taste of candy. Finally, our sense of taste allows us to taste the sweet and sour taste.
Next, I prepared a measuring cup with water and ordered her to slowly pour water into a plate and see what happened to the candies. The coloring of the candies began to dissolve in the water, merging into a rainbow of colors. She turned to me and said that if she would consume candy, the paint would be on her tongue instead!
Now that the child is asking me questions, I try to introduce scientific concepts or simple explanations of how things work. She may or may not understand what I’m talking about, but this interaction can help her develop an inquisitive mind to learn more about the world around her.
As adults, we have become accustomed to daily routines and take for granted much of our prior knowledge of how certain things work so that we may forget the science around us. For parents looking to incorporate science into their activities, start with homework and study it with their children. You will be amazed by their endless curiosity.
How to make children love science? You will not do that, says Archana Chaula, a microbiologist and graduate student at the Singapore Science Center. Read her tips for children 3 to 10 years old.
You can also visit the “experimental arcades” at Yusaf Ishak High School and learn how to be a teacher let the curiosity of the students warm up their learning.