Last weekend our local library was having a book sale. I gave my husband 10 coins with the directive of entertaining the kids with the coin gravity well spinner thing they have in the hall, and I ran inside to browse through the sale as quickly as possible.
I hardly use facebook, except to ask questions of the homeschool group. I asked them the other day what they use to explore science with their little people. I received a lot of recommendations but I was specifically looking for books. These are my thoughts on the recommendations I received.
101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments by Miller, Homer, and Harrington
This book is tied for first place in my mind. It has everything I want! It has scientific explanations, exciting experiments, and beautiful pictures to guide the way.
The Everything Kids EASY Science Experiments Book – by Mills
This was not actually recommended but I found it while I was looking for the others at the library. I am so glad I found it because I love the way it is organized to answer your little kids questions about the world and themselves. It is split into 5 sections: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Human Body, Planet Earth. It is also written like a workbook, that the children can make their notes in and also includes a few puzzles and games like an activity book.
It doesn’t have the colorful pictures of the first book, but it does have more detailed explanations.
The Everything Kids Science Experiments Book – Robinson
This one had multiple endorsements from the mama’s in the group, but it feels more suited to slightly older children. It is split into the same 5 categories as the EASY book and written in the same workbook/activity book manner. Instead of lots of colorful pictures there are excellent scientific explanations. This looks like a great book and I will probably buy it as soon as we master the “EASY” experiments first.
Curious Kids Science Book by Citra
This one has interesting experiments and seem to answer a lot of detailed questions: Do seeds grow best when its warm or cold, how deep do seeds need to be planted to grow best, how much water, how much light, can a plant go through a maze to reach the light, etc.
The book also has beautiful pictures of all of the experiments.
The biggest drawback for me is the lack of scientific explanations. I don’t trust myself to be able to explain these things to my kids, and I want a back up resource.
What do you use to expand your curious kids knowledge about science?
When I think of “Quark” I think of the creamy sauce my mother makes using (I only guess here) sour cream, dill, chives, garlic, and parsley. She used to serve it with boiled potatoes. I would consider doing the same myself, as I remember it being delicious, but my husband has put his foot down about serving potatoes too many times a week, and therefore I don’t have enough of an excuse to dress them up. He wouldn’t eat it anyways. *grumbles about picky eaters*
If you were thinking the answer to the question “What is nature’s basic building block?” was ATOMS, you, my friend, are sadly outdated. Apparently, nature now builds with Quarks which stick together to form Atoms. Actually, I think nature has always built with Quarks, but we just didn’t have the knowledge or a cute little name to call them. Now we know!
This book, Baby Loves Quarks!, has explained the concept to me in a way I can understand. It has super cute and colorful pictures and simple sentences that even I can understand the concept. It also expands outward and explains protons, neutrons, atoms, and elements. I highly recommend this as a fun read for both parents and baby geniuses. (My normal children seemed to enjoy it too.)
My FAVORITE science joke EVER is:
Two atoms are sitting in a bar. The first turns to the second and says, “I think I lost an electron!”
The second atom asks, “are you sure?”
The first atom replies, “I’m positive!!”
Teeheheeehahahahaha. I love that.
I was trying to write my own joke for this post, but the best I could come up with is:
What are ducks made out of? Quarks! (….because it sounds like Quack. I’ll show myself out now.)
What did we do?
We tried to spend a significant amount of time outside, since the weather was so beautiful. We took the stroller to the library (over 1.5 miles both ways) and stopped at the playground on the way home. We played on the trampoline and fertilized my garden. We harvested some green beans and one beautiful carrot. [My favorite is the thyme plant, there isn’t much of it but one tiny leaf has such an amazing smell and flavor.]
Mostly the kids played in the sandbox. The picture above shows my two minutes in paradise; getting to read while the children play together.
All of these things help the kids practice their gross motor skills such as walking, running, and jumping. Their fine motor skills were active in learning how to pick the green beans without pulling the entire plant out of the earth. Their senses were engaged in sand box play, making goop, painting [on] the patio.
When we went to the aquarium this weekend, our one big excursion, they spent most of their time at the outdoor harbor seal enclosure. It is surrounded by large stadium style benches and both boys enjoyed walking along the benches and practicing going up and down the stairs. The 3-year-old practiced jumping down and up the stairs, and jumping off of the benches. Then the show started and we watched the trainers work with the seals. (Fact: Harbor seals can hold their breath for 30 minutes!)
What did we learn?
It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what the children are learning at any given moment, but they are always learning. Whether it is practicing a skill that is new to them or expanding one they already have. Here are some things that really stood out to me for my kids:
Mr 3: Jumping. He’s been jumping off and on to everything. Today he was seeing how far he could jump on his racetrack carpet. If he isn’t jumping, he’s galloping.
Mr. 3 is also improving his tolerance for his brother. We are seeing more moments where they get along and can play together. Mr.3 is also saying things like, “What’s wrong, my friend M—?” when his little brother is crying. There is still some pushing and crying when 3 gets tired, but I do think it is getting better.
Mr. 1 – He is into everything. He spends a lot of time opening and closing the screen door. He also spent nearly an hour with a bottle of bubbles, putting the plunger in and trying to blow the bubbles. He wasn’t successful with the blowing, but he was very interested until he accidentally spilled the whole bottle on the patio.
Mr. 1 is also starting to combine words. He was saying “Hi Dada” when they went on a dog walk together.
Me: I’m learning that if I go too far out of my comfort zone, then I get easily stressed out and start feeling bad about myself again. It’s all well and good to try to be a perfect parent, but if I don’t make small changes then I am setting myself up for failure. We briefly tried no screen time limits and no bed time and it was a nightmare.
I want my kids to be respected and listen to their bodies and tell me what they need, but it’s not a skill that can be learned in two days, but I can’t stay up until 10:30 every night with the 3-year-old.
I have a theory that Mr. 3 most likely doesn’t like going to bed because he doesn’t want to be alone. So we are getting him a big bed so that someone can lay down with him. Usually if say, “I’m tired, will you lay down with me?” he will join us very eagerly.
What did we read?
We have some really AMAZING library books this time! I’m going to limit myself to telling you about 5.
Cars Go by Steve Light – Just simple pictures of cars and onomatopoeia of the sounds they make. Mr. 1 will follow you around the house with this one until you read it at least 3 times. (Amazon – for more info)
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin – I’ve seen a lot of reviews for this book lately because the sequel just came out, but I’m honestly not that big of a fan of it. Unfortunately, my 3 old always wants to read it when he goes potty. It’s an okay story about how dragons love tacos, and parties, and taco parties. (Amazon – for more info)
Hooray for Birds by Lucy Cousins – from the creator of Maisy Mouse.. this beautiful and bright book asks you to pretend to be a bird for one day and then takes you through different bird actions from sunrise to sunset. I think it’s adorable, and my 1-year-old really loves the pictures. (Amazon – for more info)
Doctor Ted by Andrea Beaty – This is a cute story about a little bear who pretends to be a doctor. This inspired my 3-year-old to play paramedic with me for a long time. I would fall down and cry for help and he would race over in his truck and then try to tie a ribbon “bandage” around my hurt area. We got to practice body parts, work our imaginations, and try tying knots. Plus, we practiced “calling” 911. (Amazon – for more info)
Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood – This is a book about an owl who stays up all day and discovers all the colors around her that she normally doesn’t get to see. It’s a really pretty book and is fun to read. Both of the kids enjoyed this one and have asked for it repeatedly. (Amazon – for more info)
In Conclusion –
We had a great week and hope you did too!
(My week was extra awesome because we had two date nights! For our 4 year aniversary we went indoor sky-diving which was awesome! And then on the weekend we played tennis for two hours and then had lunch after. I’m so happy I could burst. Last night Mr. 3 was being super silly. He keps saying “I’m the babysitter” and then laughing maniacally.)