Science is about observing, predicting, and experimenting in the physical world around us. I am strongly of the opinion that kindergarten is meant to be a time of play (a children’s garden of play, if you will).
As such kindergarten is the perfect time to ease into homeschooling without using a specific curriculum for science. Here are some simple ideas for teaching kindergarten science concepts to your little ones without a curriculum.
Learn about landforms and land features as you travel in your own community.
For example, since I live in northern Illinois, we learned about bogs when we visited one. We compare the flat Illinois landscape where we live and the nearby Wisconsin flowing hills as we learn about the history of glaciers in our area. There is even a naturally formed cave within a few hours of our home!
If you travel, you could expand on learning about the physical world as you learn about earthquakes, plateaus and valleys, or seashores and beaches.
Become a weatherman by tracking the clouds, weather, and precipitation. Learning about the water cycle is a great place to start for learning how our world fits together! My kids love making it “rain in the kitchen.”
The moon and stars are a lot of fun to learn about. The trouble is that in the summer, the sun doesn’t go down until the late hours of the night! Good thing in the fall, winter, and spring it goes down sooner so young kids can observe!
Learning about our own bodies and how they work is simply a fascinating topic. My son, when he was a preschooler, was obsessed with learning the bones, and there was no reason to skimp on the details.
His favorite body part was his phalanges because he loved to say it!
As kindergartners, a cursory look at the various purposes of the human body is a great subject to go into depth about. Find your heartbeat, learn about digesting food, and listen to yourself breathe.
My kindergartners naturally loved learning about animals. We learn about different types of animals (mammals versus birds, for example) when we go to a local farmyard or petting zoo. Even visiting with friends gives us a chance to learn about their pets!
For a time my daughter has been very interested in butterflies (especially monarchs). What animals are your little ones interested in learning about? Chances are there is a series of books at the library that will quench that interest.
Come springtime, learning about plants and how they grow is a natural progression for young kids. Although I’m not a gardener, each spring we tend to review and relearn some details about plants, flowers, and trees. It’s a subject that would work any time of year, but spring just seems right for learning about newly born flowers and other plants! Simple nature study with preschoolers and kindergartners is easy!
Physical Science Concepts
Why does your child need a seat belt? Experiment with toy cars and toy people to see what would happen in an accident without one.
Learn about simple machines such as levers, pulleys, and wheels. These are concepts that surround us on a daily basis. Explore the hows and whys behind them to your kindergartner.
Learn about changes in matter as you cook. For example, freezing water, then melting it, is a change that can be repeated. But, once you cook that egg, it is forever different. Watch how pancake batter changes as it cooks, and try cooking a batch of cookies without the egg and/or salt to see how the ingredients make a difference. Kitchen table science is great for kindergartners!
As you can see, teaching science to kindergartners does not require a formal curriculum. Although one could follow a set plan for teaching science to a kindergartner, I found my kindergartners simply loved to go where they were interested.
Although I could come up with ideas for unit studies, my daughter’s current interests led the way during our last school year. We read great picture books to round out our reading and math learning, and as a result, science unexpectedly became a favorite subject for her to explore along the way.