Don't let the word science hold you back. While you are worried about science, your preschooler is already discovering, making observations about the world, and collecting information about how everything works. Join them in their discoveries and make a few of your own.
As fall harvests come in, we are seeing an abundance of corn - for eating and decorating. This is a perfect opportunity to encourage your child to explore with all their senses with a safe and easy to find subject: Corn! If you can find corn stalks with the corn still attached, this makes for a really interesting and noisy exploration of the parts of a plant. The silk on the top of corn is the flower - collecting the pollen from the wind and transporting it to the embryos or corn kernels (seeds).
Science Words: More, Less, Magnify, Grow, Outside, Inside, Float, Similar, Different
Pop Corn - measure out an amount of unpopped corn together. Make a prediction about how big the pop corn will be after it is popped. For example, if you start with a half of cup of unpopped corn, how many cups will you have after it has popped? What made the corn pop? (The moisture in the kernel is heated up and expands - popping the outer kernel when it gets too big to be held in.)
Go on a Seed Walk – put an old pair of socks on over your shoes or put on bracelets of tape with the sticky side out. Take a walk thru a meadow or meadow-like area. What seeds attached themselves to you?
Plant a seed together. You can plant some Indian Corn seeds or bean seeds on damp paper towels. This is a fun way to watch a plant grow. What different parts of a plant to you observe?
Make a seed mosaic. Grab some glue and a few beans, rice, grains, and even pasta to make a picture with the seeds. What is different about the seeds? What is similar? This will help kids improve their fine motor skills and sharpen their observation skills.
Corn comparison - Cut in half both a kernel of canned corn and a kernel of Indian corn (you many need to soak it first) and add a kernel of popped pop corn to the pile. Grab a magnifying glass and compare the structure of both kernels. Can you draw what you see? Using a magnifying glass can be tricky - sometimes starting with a bug box can help.
If you want a diagram of the corn kernel - check here: http://bioweb.sungrant.org/NR/rdonlyres/C8D9EEEF-C88E-4FE1-88B5-AA5A59B9CDC1/0/DiagramofCornKernelcopy.gif. The actual names of all the parts is not important but this shows the structure very nicely.
Have a corny dinner. What foods can you eat that come from corn? Polenta, corn bread, Johnny cakes, corn chowder, and more can be made into a corny meal. Try Indian pudding for dessert!
If you have a moment, share what activies you try and how they worked out!