How to help your child with science

How to help your child with science

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Teaching: Science

Children need to be allowed to experiment as this helps them make decisions. Some of the ideas below will help your child learn more about everyday life. It is important to encourage them to think and to understand for themselves. Here is a snapshot to give you a feel for the ideas we have to support science teaching and learning.

1. Try having fun baking a cake

Ingredients for cake:

5 tablespoons self-raising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 or 3 pinches baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Part of an egg (Break egg into a cup, beat until mixed).

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ones. Stir until smooth and all the same colour. Pour mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 15 minutes.

Now by mixing these ingredients together you can see the chemical reactions once they are baked:

  • Baking powder helps produce tiny bubbles of gas which help to make the cake light and fluffy.
  • The egg's protein is used to make the cake firm.
  • The oil keeps the heat from drying out the cake.  

2. Making bubbles

All children enjoy making bubbles - this is how to make your own.bubbles

  • 4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid
  • 1/2 litre of water
  • A drinking straw each

Mix the dishwashing liquid with the water. Pour into a shallow tray.

Use your straw to:

  • Blow and move it slowly across the surface of the solution. How big are the bubbles you get?
  • See how big you can make your bubbles.

bubblesBubbles contain air or gas trapped inside a liquid ball. A bubble has a surface which is very thin. A soap bubble is a very thin film of soapy water that forms a sphere with an iridescent surface. Soap bubbles usually last for only a few moments before bursting, either on their own or on contact with another object.


3. Teach children to make decisions by:


  • What animal made this footprint?
  • Which bird is this?
  • Who made this hole?

footprint  bird  hole


Put things in groups based on their characteristics

  • Birds have feathers
  • Birds have a beak
  • Birds can fly


Put ideas about how the world works into words and test them.

  • How long will it take my ice cream to melt?
  • Will it last longer on another surface? birds


Encourage children to quantify the world around them.

  • Who is the oldest person in your family?
  • How many steps are there to your upstairs?
  • How many species of dogs might there be?
  • What is a planet?
  • Where do birds go in winter?

4. Seed dispersal

  • Wind. Plants such as dandelion and sycamore use wind dispersal.
  • Water. Plants such as water lily and coconut are dispersed by  water.
  • Animals. Animals spread seed by their coats or in their droppings.
  • Propulsion or explosion. Some seeds explode!

dandelion  seed  plant

5. What are the parts of the human body?


6. Electricity

REMEMBER NEVER experiment with mains electricity ONLY use batteries for this experiment.


You can make an electric circuit with the following components. Try it. It is fun.

Make a simple circuit with a bulb. Ask your child to describe the circuit in words. You can repeat with different combinations in the circuit so children experience using each of the different symbols. Again, ask the children to carefully describe the circuit in words.

  • Battery - essential!
  • Light bulb - lights up if the current is flowing. Less current means they get dimmer, yellow to orange to red to off
  • Motor - If the current is flowing, the motor goes round and round. Less current makes it go round slower
  • Resistors A resistor changes the amount of current flowing in the circuit, which affects other components.
  • Switch - starts as open (off). Click on a switch to switch it on or off. Switches need to be on to test the circuit

How does electricity get to your house?

7. Sinking and Floating This can be done in many play situations. In the bath children love to pour water from one container into another.

Your children may enjoy this poem.

I flattened out my plasticine
And set it in the tank
And do you know the cheeky thing
Turned round and slowly sank.
But when I took it out again
And shaped it like a boat
It wasn't cheeky any more
For it began to float.

Why did this happen?

Encourage children to experiment with different objects and find out whether they float or sink. a sponge, a plastic mug, a pencil, a paperclip, a hair brush and a stone.

Float a paper boat. How many marbles do you need to put in it before it sinks?

Try and see if an orange floats. Then peel it and try again!
Now try these objects either in the bath or in the paddling pool.

Objects that float: Cork, Pine cones, Wood, Apples
Objects that sink: Stone, Metal objects, Pennies, Keys, Nails

8. Growing plantsplant

Use herbs in your cooking.

Mint Mint grows well in a container using potting compost. The pot should be watered frequently and fed once a month.  Mint is a very useful herb especially for mint sauce which is delightful with lamb.

Growing parsley Parsley can be used in mparsleyany sauces and most people like it. It can be grown in a pot with good potting compost. 

Growing cress Cress can be grown in egg shells. The inside of the shells should be filled with tissue.Cut the tissue up into small squares. Fill the egg shell up to about 1cm below the rim. Moisten the tissue or cotton wool thoroughly. Watch it grow and then eat the cress.

9. Playing with cars

Ask your children to place cars on a suitable table or on the floor. Let them use their fingers to gently push the car. Your finger is a force which will help the car move. Let children race their cars against each other or time them. Ask the children why one car went further than another ... the force pushing it was greater!

Explain to children that a force called friction is used as resistance; it results when two surfaces rub against each other.

Children can try this test:

  • They will need 4 different surfaces-smooth surface, carpet strip, felt strip, sandpaper strip child
  • Matchbox cars
  • books or other objects to use to prop up the ramp.

Let children feel the four different surfaces. Which will help the car go fastest? On which surface do they think the car will travel the shortest distance? Give children a ramp and something to raise it up a few inches off the ground.

  • Each child should take turns being the driver in this activity.
  • The children should first measure the height of the ramp.
  • Let child start with the strip of smooth surface and place it on the ramp.
  • Let the child place their car on the ramp but tell them not to push it let gravity be the external force that causes the car to go.
  • Mark the distance the car travelled. Now let the children see how far the car moves on the other surfaces.

Children love racing cars and they can still learn which surface makes the cars go

10. Food we eat At home it is good to ensure that the children appreciate their food and know that it;

  • Makes them grow.
  • Keeps them healthy.
  • Forms strong bones and teeth. Children should know that they should drink milk and water to keep them healthy. They need at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Meat and fish are good for us.

Try these worksheets to help your child with science.

Ourselves topic
Seasons winter topic
A fun game about teeth
Foundation Stage maths fun
Growing seeds
Nature quiz for children
Planning a meal
A Spring holiday project

 Have fun with these ideas at home! 

Fun science experiments chemistry
Fun science experiments
Fun science experiments with food
Helping plants grow well - activities


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