Every Child a Scientist

We took Little E to the Natural History Museum this weekend.  He loved it.  Seeing his interest has started me thinking more about how I can nurture his innate curiosity.  Children seem to be natural scientists: inquiring, determining relationships, classifying, etc.

Even more than learning facts and theories, the clarity of thought and curiosity about the world the scientific processes foster are important skills I want my children to develop.

"It is much more important for parents to help children develop the skills they need to think like scientists than to help them understand complex scientific concepts. Even the youngest children are quite capable of beginning to build these skills." - PBS Parents

The Journal, Young Children, published this list of the benefits of teaching science to young children:
  1. Science responds to children’s need to learn about the world around them.
  2. Children’s everyday experience is the foundation for science.
  3. Open-ended science activities involve children at a wide range of developmental levels.
  4. Hands-on science activities let teachers observe and respond to children’s individual strengths and needs.
  5. The scientific approach of trial and error welcomes error and interprets it as valuable information, not as failure. 
  6. Science strongly supports language and literacy. 
  7. Science helps children with limited language to participate in the classroom and learn English.
  8. The problem-solving skills of science easily generalize to social situations.
  9. Science demonstrations help children become comfortable in large group conversations.
  10. Science connects easily to other areas, including center-based play, math, artistic expression, and social studies.
So, I know that it is important to teach science, but how do I teach science to a 2 year old?  Especially when I never really liked science as a young person?

In the online version of Wired, Jonah Lehrer shares a recent research project in which two groups of 4 year-olds were introduced to a new toy.  

"The first group of students was shown the toy by a scientist who declared that she’d just found it on the floor. Then, as she revealed the toy to the kids, she “accidentally” pulled one of the tubes and made it squeak. Her response was sheer surprise: “Huh! Did you see that? Let me try to do that again!” The second group, in contrast, got a very different presentation. Instead of feigning surprise, the scientist acted like a typical teacher. She told the students that she’d gotten a new toy and that she wanted to show them how it worked. Then, she deliberately made the toy squeak."

Then the children were allowed to play with the toy.  All the children copied the action of the scientist.  But, then the first group continued to play with the toy and discover the other things it did.  The second group didn't try to see if the toy would do anything else. 

"According to the psychologists, the different reactions were caused by the act of instruction. When students are given explicit instructions, when they are told what they need to know, they become less likely to explore on their own. Curiosity is a fragile thing."

Some additional resources for early childhood science ideas:
Preparing for Preschool
Hands on Science


Preschool Fun: Mouse Paint

This was a fun, quick activity that Little E and I really enjoyed.

First we read the book Mouse Paint about three little mice who jump in paint and mix the colors.  Little E loved the book and asked to re-read it 3 or 4 times.   

Then we used finger paints to mix colors ourselves.
Little E is very particular about things and he didn't really like using finger paint.  He insisted that we use paint brushes instead.


Happy Mother Challenge: Week 1

Last Year I started reading this book and loved it.  I didn't get to finish, but I am excited to this year.  The basic premise of the book is to stop focusing so much on being a BETTER mom and start focusing more on becoming a HAPPIER mom.  This is exactly what I need. 

This year the author, Meg Meeker, is doing a "Happy Mother Challenge" on her blog.  Each week for 10 weeks she will post a challenge based on one of the 10 habits from her book.  

I will be following the challenge here on my blog. I hope you will participate with me!  If you would like to join in, let me know so I can follow your progress and get inspiration too! 
"I want you to make an actual, physical list of things that you are really GOOD at and what you LIKE about yourself, just as you are. Write down what you are, what you like, what you dream about, what makes you happy, what you’re good at, etc. A Happy List. A Positive List."

  •  I am generally tolerant and don't get offended easily. 
  • I can make friends with lots of different kinds of people and I really love my friends. 
  • I try to be good at what I do. 
  • I like that I look like my Grandma Phillips. 
  • Some of the things I am good at: reading, organizing, listening, typing

New Year's Resolutions

Drumroll, please. 

I have put a lot of thought into my resolutions this year.  It's going to be a tough year, with Dan gone until July.  There were lots of things I wanted to put on my list and it was difficult to narrow it down.  I think that if I stay focused I can achieve these goals and help the time that Dan is away pass quickly.

  1. WIFE: Loose my 20 pounds of baby weight by July. ;) (Yes, I put this in the right category)
  2. MOTHER: Be a happier mom by reading and applying Meg Meeker's 10 Habits of Happy Mothers. 
  3. CAREER: Finish medical coding program by December. 
  4. SPIRITUAL: Visit the temple 12 times this year.
  5. PERSONAL: Expand my cooking repertoire and make at least one new recipe a month.


Recipe of the Week: Fried Quinoa

I am so pleased with this recipe!  
One of my goals this year is to eat a wider variety of grains.  I'm also trying to learn to cook with what I have on hand.  This recipe fulfilled both those requirements. 

The really good news, though was that my husband approved and even had seconds!  
(I loved it too)

Adapted from The Arugula Files


1 cup quinoa
handful raisins or dried cranberries
Coconut oil
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped 
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 cup pineapple tidbits
Cajun seasoning
Salt to taste

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. 
  2. When it is almost done, add raisins. 
  3. Saute vegetables and chicken in coconut oil until slightly soft. 
  4. Add quinoa and pineapple to vegetables. 
  5. Heat through.  Garnish with cilantro, add seasonings, and serve.