I spoke about having materials on offer last week, about letting the activity or experience emerge through experimentation. Along with this though I think we can help our children to engage more deeply in an activity by asking them some simple questions.
Whenever Jack (3.5 yrs) plays with shaving cream, he usually runs it through his hands and then washes it off into a bucket of water. He repeats this again and again. I wanted Jack to extend his play, delve a little deeper, find out what else you can do with shaving cream; it’s just another medium after all.
So I said, ‘We have this bubble wrap Jack, what do you think we could do with this?’ He had a bit of a think and then decided we could tape it to the windows.
‘I can’t see my drawing‘.
Now if you wanted to, that could be a cue to turn an observation into a question which will encourage further inquiry,
‘Why do you think you can’t see your drawing?’
I used to teach the scientific method or method of inquiry to my high school students, but little scientists can apply it too. The scientific method encourages curiosity, asking questions and finding answers.
- Firstly and very importantly, wait until you notice your child making an observation. This is them wanting to know more. Try to resist making the observation for them.
- Then, turn their observation into a question, a ‘why’ question. ‘Why do you think that happens?’
- Test their answer. ‘Let’s see what happens when we….’
- Draw conclusions. ‘What do you think that means?’
With the shaving cream, Jack noticed that even though it felt nice and made a good sound, he couldn’t see his drawings on the bubble wrap. When I asked him, he wasn’t sure why he couldn’t see them. ‘Let’s see what happens when you draw on the window?’, I said. ‘It works! I can draw Saturn’.
By the end, Jack was able to tell me that he couldn’t see his drawings because it was bumpy. But the window was smooth. This sounds rather simplistic but with a little help, Jack was able to ask a question and then find the answer. My little scientist, learning through playful experimentation.
If you’d like to leave a comment, please click the speech bubble up the top. Thanks xx.