Science Fair with a Preschooler

Often our preschooler gets in the way of the teenagers’ lessons; it tends to be because the little one wants attention, wants to learn, and wants to be a part of the interesting things the older kids are learning. He doesn’t really get that he’s only three–well, he’ll soon turn three; he can tell you his numerical age, but he doesn’t see why he can’t do everything the teenagers are doing.

Sometimes we fight his desire to be included, as it’s hard to learn about high school geometry with someone else vying for attention, but as much as possible we try to satisfy his desire to be included. So, our little guy put together (with a lot of help, of course) a science project for our homeschool support group’s Science Day which is somewhat like a science fair but with no guidelines about what type of project or display and has no competitive aspect to it. The kids come, share what they’ve learned, hopefully inspire some other kids, and come home with a certificate (and a photo or two in our support group’s yearbook, of course).

This year, we decided to let our littlest (who’s almost 3 yrs. old and really, really wants to do what the bigger kids are doing) do a project (with a lot of help, obviously). Given that his nickname is Owl, it seemed obvious to his big sister that he should work on a project about owls, though I brought it down a notch and had him focus on what birds are. Several of the pieces were put on upside down or backwards, but that adds to its charm. While shyness took over at Science Day, he did show it at his siblings’ Marine Science class and he can–when in the mood–now describe the characteristics of birds. He loves to talk about his science project and clearly sees learning as a fun activity. Sounds like a winner to me!

Cheryl

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