Explore and Investigate

Kids love to explore the world around them. Encourage this exploration with activities and suggestions, or by taking them to new places to discover.

IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD

You don’t have to go far to find an amazing, exciting world. Check out these interesting activities (and websites that can help you get started) that can be done right around your home. Don’t worry about buying any equipment if you don’t have it already on hand. Encourage children to use their senses, and perhaps any items they find around your home.

Don’t be afraid to let your children take the lead. What is captivating their attention? What do they want to explore or learn more about? The library can be a great resource for investigating a new subject. You can also search the web for more information on any topic that strikes their fancy.

GO SOMEWHERE NEW

The “Summer at the Museum” program that was introduced this month is a great opportunity to check out local (and not-so-local) museums around the state. Heading to a new location can offer new ways to explore – and new topics that you and your children may have never otherwise discovered. Museums that cover animals, science, art, history, and more are included in the program. Try something new and see what sparks an interest in your child!

Parks, trails, and other natural areas can offer opportunities to explore and investigate, as well. Even a visit to the local splash pad can be educational, as children learn what happens when water comes shooting out of the ground! Bring a bucket or ball for the water to interact with, and see what your children discover.

KEEP IT OPEN-ENDED

Sometimes the biggest discoveries happen by accident, or simply by asking yourself “I wonder what would happen if…” Rather than preparing “lessons” or structured activities, encourage your children to be scientists and see what happens. Give them supplies and ask questions, or just suggest that they find new ways of doing things, or new purposes for items. Ask open-ended questions to get them thinking, such as:

  • How many uses can you find for a spoon, other than scooping up soup or ice cream?
  • What items would float in water? What items would dissolve?
  • What shape would make the best paper airplane?
  • Can you combine two things to make something new?

While many of these activities are more science-themed in nature, they can also lead to artistic creations. However your child chooses to explore the world around them, encourage them to keep thinking outside the box to investigate and discover. And don’t underestimate the power of lying on your back, staring at the sky, and making shapes with clouds. Looking at things in a new way can be a great way of opening your mind to new possibilities. Have fun exploring!

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