A Lesson that Really Sticks! Explore Nature with Duct Tape

Photo by Tuned_In / iStock
Photo by Tuned_In / iStock

By Rachel Ward

Oh, to be a four-year-old in the springtime! Brimming with boundless energy and driven by a supercharged curiosity, preschoolers are running around all day, every day to grab a closer look at blossoming buds, unfurling leaves, and fuzzy caterpillars as the natural world begins to change.  

Preschoolers’ nonstop exploration is one of the hallmarks of childhood. (One of the great things about parenthood? Discovering the wonders of the world again through your child’s eyes.)  “Each new discovery is like a puzzle piece that adds to the bigger picture—but it also leads to more questions,” explains Meg Davis from KinderCare’s Education team. 

In other words, that thirst for answers is propelling preschoolers to seek, discover, experience, and ask about the world—sometimes with whys, whys, and more whys.

This week in our centers, we’re taking kids outside to satisfy their curiosity by investigating the changing landscape and exploring spring’s bounty—with a unique creative twist.

Exploring Nature Is a Great Opportunity for Preschoolers to Build Science Skills

A strip of duct tape wrapped around a wrist stick-side-up is all kids need for this project. Outside (and supervised of course!), kids go hunting for leaves, grass, or twigs that strike their fancy, which they then “stick” on their bracelets. Once they’ve gathered all their natural jewels, they’ll have a one-of-a-kind (and yes, kind of crazy) bracelet to bring home to their favorite person—you.

This activity is all about exploration—and self-expression. “Creating something out of what they find helps children learn how to express themselves in a new way,” explains Davis.

While you can be sure that we’ll nurture your child’s inner explorer at KinderCare, here are four easy ways you can encourage them to explore, discover, and experiment at home, too!

Build Science Skills at Home! 4 Ways to Help Your Child Keep the Investigation Going

1. Dig into the Science of Food 

From blending up a simple smoothie to making a spring pesto for cheesy pea toast, watching a handful of ingredients become something flavorful and delicious is nothing short of magical to preschoolers—so bring her into the kitchen with you and get cooking! Measuring ingredients or kneading dough lets her explore interesting textures, and the herbs and spices you add for flavor offer scents to light up her senses.

2. Splash Around with the Science of Water 

You probably know this, but water is fascinating to kids. Fill the tub with water, bubbles, plastic cups or bowls, and a few favorite toys, and let the water play commence. Pouring, filling, making a beard from suds: Exploring the movement of water and the texture of bubbles is a great brain builder! Safety first, of course: Make sure you’re supervising your child at all times.

Photo by Javier Diez / Stocksy / 1226648
Photo by Javier Diez / Stocksy

3.  Explore the Possibilities on a (Big!) Canvas 

Your mini Monet’s mind is full of bright and exciting new ideas just waiting to come to life. Place down a tarp, gather as many art supplies as you can, give your preschooler a huge piece of paper, and give him free reign to go for it—with brushes, fingers, sponges or anything else! You can even add salt to paint for a totally new texture, which helps kids learn through their senses. 

4. Investigate the Science of Nature in Your Backyard  

Who knows what’s actually out there? Go on a biology hunt! Easy science tools like a butterfly net, binoculars, or a magnifying glass inspire your future scientist to go exploring (even if it’s right outside your backdoor).  Peering at rough tree bark through a magnifying glass, noticing insects buzzing around a blooming bush, or collecting colorful petals and leaves all help power up kids’ observation skills.

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