Summer is a great time to start a science notebook! Not only can you keep track of experiments, you can take your notebook with you when you go hiking, camping, to the lake, or on even on a walk through the neighborhood. How many different kind of trees do you see? Draw a bug, leaf or mushroom that you’re not familiar with and see if you can identify it when you get home. Walk the same trail every few weeks and record how the plants and animals you see change with through the season.
Note for parents: It is amazing how well kids observe the world. Mine notice things that I have become completely oblivious to, after years of exposure. If you look closely at children’s drawings, you’ll see that seemingly insignificant details achieve huge scale. Very young kids don’t understand perspective, but they also haven’t put on blinders the way most adults have.
A science notebook is a great way for kids to illustrate and catalog their discoveries and observations. You can buy a lab notebook, but it work equally well to just use a spiral notebook, a loose leaf binder they can add pages to, or a composition book. You can even staple some pieces of paper together and write “Lab Notebook” on the cover!
Send your kid outside to draw a bug or plant. Have them keep tally of how many birds they hear sing in five minutes. In the fall, they can press leaves in their notebook. If it’s rainy, have them find a rock or shell from one of their collections and draw it. My son loves to copy facts about his favorite animals from National Geographic!
Do a science experiment and have them draw a picture of what they did and make a chart of the results (there are tons of easy experiments on this website.) Anything they can think of is great. Be sure to have them or help them write the date on each page they write something on. Tell them this is very important for a junior scientist! Older kids will be able to write great descriptions and even take photos to tape into their notebooks.
Someday, far in the future, your kid’s lab notebook may help them remember what it is like to look at the world through a child’s eyes.
The kids and I got carried away and added a little too much baking soda and vinegar to our Fizzy Balloon experiment yesterday. Here’s what happened. Pamela Diedrich of PD Photography was taking some pictures and captured the blast on film! Maybe next time we’ll measure a little more carefully.