I’m partnering with Bayer on today’s sponsored post as a part of their company-wide, award-winning initiative Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS).
Summer has been amazing with our two boys. Ezra is at a very interested and curious age. I constantly say to my husband “This is my favorite age” about both of our boys. There is something special in every age and stage of childhood from my experience.
But, I will say that Bodhi’s age (he’s four and in preschool) is amazing. The curiosity, growth, learning and development that happen are just mind-blowing for me as a parent of a little boy who was just my baby.
He loves to do things. From cooking and baking to exploring and creating, hands on activities are where it’s at for him.
Bodhi’s main interest is animals. He has loved them for years. Every birthday party has been about animals (or dinosaurs) and his preference is to read animal books and watch animal documentaries. When we traveled to Sri Lanka, his favorite part was definitely visiting the elephant orphanage and feeding the elephants. Every interest, mention and question he has is an opportunity for learning and growth.
Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) initiative is amazing. It allows students to learn science by doing science through hands-on, inquiry-based experiences that involve observing, experimenting, hypothesizing, analyzing and testing. Bayer creates exciting, hands-on lessons for kids starting in elementary school to ignite their scientific curiosity at a young age. Studies show that this timing is the best chance to get students interested in the subject and to foster their science literacy skills.
1. Research an animal.
Bodhi loves to learn about animals and currently wants to be a zoologist when he grows up. We do several things to help him learn during this time of high interest in animals. When he first mentions an animal he’s interested in, we say “let’s research that animal.” We pull out our computer or phone and look up information about the animal. We read it together and then we find out where that animal lives. We grab his globe and show him the places. We then look for an animal documentary specific to that animal for his Friday movie night option. We also try to point that animal out whenever we see it in books. Taking a trip to the zoo is a great way to continue this learning and discussion. His knowledge of animals is phenomenal and this approach has been helpful.
2. Go on a nature walk.
From gathering leaves and plants to observing birds and other animals, a nature walk is a great way to help get your child interested in science and nature. We keep our eyes peeled for animal habitats (like holes in the ground) and for animals themselves. We’ve seen turtles, voles, ducks, geese, bunnies and rabbits, butterflies, birds, toads, frogs, river rats, worms and more on our nature walks.
We’ve also talked about many plant species. It’s a great opportunity for your child to observe, question and learn. In some cases, they can even touch certain plants, rocks and leaves. We are very direct about animals though, and don’t allow our son to handle them. We want him to learn to respect animals and be aware of the fact that we may cause them discomfort or fear.
3. Science fun
Bodhi and I love to create fun experiments mixing baking soda and vinegar. :) There are many ways to do experiments with vinegar and baking soda, but I LOVE this version from Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense® which they call “Martian Jelly.”
- 1 T grape jelly (Bayer recommends Welch’s)
- 1/8 t baking soda
- 1 T vinegar
- 1/2 plastic cup of warm water
- Popsicle stick or other item to stir
- Dissolve the grape jelly in the glass of warm water and notice the color.
- Add baking soda and stir. (Note: You should do this over a sink as the fizzing reaction may cause it to overflow). Notice the change in color.
- Add vinegar and stir until the color of the grape jelly solution changes.
What this means:
Chemical reactions occur when one chemical comes into contact with another. For example, when you add baking soda (A base), it turns the solution basic and turns the purple color of the grape jelly to a greenish-black color. Then when you add vinegar (which contains acetic acid), the grape jelly solution reacidifies and the color changes back to purple. Also, mixing baking soda and vinegar together causes a reaction that releases a gas called carbon dioxide.
There are many fun experiments you can do with baking soda and vinegar.
4. Storm observation
Storms are an incredible opportunity to talk about and learn about the weather. We love to time lightning and thunder.
- Stopwatch (use the one on your phone)
What to do:
- Watch for lightning. When you see a flash of lightning, use a stopwatch or count the number of seconds until you hear the thunder.
- For every five seconds that goes by, the storm is a mile away. This is a great way to show that light travels faster than sound.
5. Plant something.
This year, we had Bodhi help us plant tomatoes using a simple seed stick. He now waters the plant and has observed it as it grew from nearly nothing to almost a tomato. He loves to research, so for us, we take these opportunities to look up information about the different phases a plant goes through before it becomes food we can eat. So fun and so simple!
Making Science Make Sense at home
I find that sometimes I complicate things when really, it’s easy to be a scientist! Simply look around and ask “Why?” And in most cases, our little ones will do the asking for us. They are naturally curious. As a science-based company, Bayer is committed to creating awareness of the importance of science and fostering curiosity, creativity and critical- thinking skills. Check out their MSMS Toolbox for SO many great ideas for summer.
Visit msms.bayer.us to access free experiment guides, an interactive periodic table and video vignettes that are helpful in Making Science Make Sense®.
This post was sponsored by Bayer, but all opinions are my own. I LOVE creating opportunities for learning and growth at home and appreciate the work Bayer is doing to make science make sense.
First and last photo by Melissa Oholendt Photography.