Science can be so exciting for children – discoveries to be made, amazing transformations to be witnessed and everyday things to be looked at in a completely new way. Getting science out of the classroom and exploring the world and all its wonders makes it so accessible and immediate. There is no need to buy expensive or sophisticated equipment. Most simple experiments make use of easy-to-find, everyday materials – just like our sun clock above.
Science can be made even more meaningful and real when part of a story which is why I have included two delightful picture books which tell the story of the lifecycle of frogs.
6 books about science for younger children: investigate, explore, witness and prepared to be amazed
Growing Frogs by Vivian French, illustrated by Alison Bartlett, published by Walker Books as part of their Nature Storybooks range What happens when you take an empty fish tank, add some pond water and pondweed, scoop in a little frogspawn… and wait? Told from the perspective of a little girl and her mum, this story describes how they carefully collected some “grey jelly stuff…yuck” (frogspawn) from a nearby pond and watched them magically grow into tiny commas, then tadpoles, then not-quite-frogs and finally baby frogs. The story is excellently supported by little nature notes along the way which describe exactly what is happening during the lifecycle and there is also very useful advice if you want to grow some frogs from your own garden pond. Age 3/4+
The Teeny Weeny Tadpole by Sheridan Cain and Jack Tickle Follow the treacherous journey teeny weeny tadpole makes as he swims in and out of the lily pads, splashing his way to the edge of the stream and further out to where the stream widens and the water becomes clear. Along the way he meets lots of other creatures, all of whom seem to be able to jump really high, higher than him! But what teeny weeny tadpole doesn’t seem to notice is that each day he is changing, little by little. And those strong back legs come in very handy when he meets the big bad fish who EATS LITTLE TADPOLES! Another delightful tale of the tadpole to frog lifecycle. Age 2+
The Usborne Pocket Scientist (The Blue Book and Internet Linked) This book may be pocket-sized but it is absolutely stuffed full of sciency facts and information. It explores the everyday, nature, the mysteries of science and the complexity of technology. But all in a text that is simple, easy to read and supported by clear, yet detailed illustrations. Each section includes pages of internet links about the subject area covered. The contents are:- How do animals talk? How do bees make honey? Why are people different? What makes you ill? Why is night dark? What’s the Earth made of? What’s out in space? What makes a car go? Science experiments with magnets; Science experiments with light and mirrors (which is where we got the idea for the sun clock above); science experiments with water; and science experiments with air. Age 6+
100 Science Experiments (Internet-Linked) by Usborne This book takes information about science a step further by testing out some theories with hands-on investigations. The book explains that most of the experiments make use of things we have lying around our homes – simple stationery, kitchen things and household items. There are experiments that look at light, shadow, colour and seeing things; vibration and sound; forces of pushing and pulling, friction, and gravity; energy; the stability of structures; flight; energy, electricity and electromagnets and so on and so on. What I particularly like are the very clear instructions and diagrams and the explanations of exactly what is going on with each experiment. Ideal for early scientists. Age 5+
How Cool Is This? An up-close, inside look at how things work A Dorling Kindersley Book What is the science behind a dynamo torch? What happens the instant a bubble bursts? How do you get the stripes in a toothpaste? And what are the aerodynamics that allow a frisbee to fly? These and many more questions are asked and answered in this fascinating book that reveals the science behind and inside ordinary and not-so-ordinary objects. Explore the magic of organic chemistry in a bubble gum bubble, wonder at the extraordinary geometric beauty of snowflakes and crystals and find out how radios transform digital radio code into sound. Age 6+
Why does light cast shadows? (Investigating Science series published by Franklin Watts) This book is one part of an excellent series of books that encourage investigation to find out more about the world of science. In this particular book, it starts by examining the subject of light by asking – what is it and what does it feel like when there is no light? It then moves on to how we see with our eyes, looking at natural daylight and then light sources at night. Other questions looked at are :- how light travels and bounces; how light is blocked and the making of shadows. Each chapter has a simple experiment to try with clear instructions and diagrams and there is a “Because…” section which explains the science behind the question. Other books in the series are What is a force? How do we use materials? How can solids be changed? How do we use electricity? And What does a magnet do? Age 5+