Sunday, May 9, 2010

Teach Your Preschooler Science with Winnie the Pooh :)

Here in Timor Leste (or East Timor as others call it), books for children are by far hard to find. There are a few places we know that sell good quality children's books such as the little stand outside Landmark Supermarket, however they are quite expensive, especially for people like us who don't receive as big a salary as other foreigners here do.

However, hubby and I both believe that books are one of the best investments we could ever make for our family, especially good quality ones that our kids can learn from. Therefore, despite the costs, we try hard to put aside some extra money (our 3.5 son now understands what this term means, praise GOD!!! hehehe) so we can buy books that the kids can learn from.

Recently, hubby came home and surprised our little preschooler Tim with this set of books, "Winnie the Pooh's Thinking Spot."

At first I thought they were just a bunch of storybooks, but upon reading, both Tim and I discovered the wonderful world of preschool science concepts! The set that hubby got was probably brought over from Indonesia and contains 6 books. After discovering how useful the books are in introducing preschool science to Tim, I asked hubby to buy the second set (sets 1 and 2 altogether have 12 books then) the next time we had money to spare.

The books have become an integral part of Tim's (and Rysse's) expanding library and we have had lots of fun trying out a few of the suggested follow-up activities/experiments found on the last page of each book. Hubby and I are now taking turns at being Tim's science teacher, and enjoying too in the process!

I wanted to post pics of Tim's first science "experiment" but I was unable to take pictures. We did the experiment found on How Does Your Garden Grow Winnie the Pooh though modified a bit to make it easier. Sharing with you our first experiment with Tim:

"Growing Your Own Plants"
  • Teach your kids about non-living and living things (differences, what living things need to grow, etc etc)
  • Teach your kids how to care for nature
  • Teach your kids responsibility (they have to water their plants/garden or face the consequences)
  • Teach your kids basic Math concepts by encouraging them to measure their plants' growth
  • An alternative activity to watching TV/DVDs and/or playing computer games :)
  • Ensure a fun, educational way for parents and kids to bond 
What you will need:
  • Empty plastic container, preferably shallow
  • Cotton OR old newspaper/used paper
  • Water
  • Mongo beans/seeds
  • A sunlit place (where the container will be placed)
  • Time and patience (as Rabbit always says! :)
1. Get any empty small plastic container. In our case, we used an old yoghurt container. However, I highly recommend using a container that is shallow, so that your child can measure the plant's growth and chart it with your help.

2. Get some cotton and put it in the container. As a cheaper, more environmentally-friendly alternative, you may also use torn-up old newspaper/used paper.

3. Soak the cotton/paper by pouring a little water onto it. Make sure that the cotton/paper is damp.

4. Drop the mongo beans (we used about 7-10) onto the wet cotton/paper.

5. Place the container in a well-lit, preferably sun-lit place.

6. Wait, and water regularly.

We were surprised that the mongo beans sprouted the very same day we planted them. Needless to say, Tim was ecstatic! Hubby and I were so proud of him! :) Every day, he would go out on the veranda, look at his "plants" and ask "Can I please water them?"

Unfortunately, the mongo sprouts got too tall for the yoghurt container we chose, and ended up "flip-flopping" because of that. Hubby told me to get rid of them as Tim didn't seem to be interested in them anymore, after the initial excitement (about 1 week afterwards) had worn off. So I put the plants in our neighbor's "manure heap." We thought Tim had forgotten about them but were surprised that after about 2 days, he went out on the veranda and started looking for his "plants." Uh-oh! Believe me, having to come up with a story/excuse for a 3.5 year old is quite challenging, but I got off easily because I promised Tim that we'd do more planting soon! This got him even more excited! :) His Lolo Mon, an avid gardener and horticulturist/agriculturist, would be soooo proud!

Here's to Disney Enterprises, Inc. for creating the Winnie the Pooh's Thinking Spot series! A TeacherMama  highly-recommended tool for teaching your preschooler science the FUN way!

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Teachermama Tina writes about

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