What Is Science?
How do we first begin to introduce the ideas of science to young children? Lucky for us, children are little scientists by nature, interested in exploring their surroundings and conducting their own experiments (how loud will Mom yell if I put this cord in my mouth? How many times can I jump on the bed before I hear the springs crack? What happens if I put my little brother in the washing machine?). In addition to plenty of free time outside to play and explore, share these books with your budding scientists to help them learn more about their world.
A great place to start is Rebecca Kai Dotlich's brightly illustrated What Is Science? Sometimes big, abstract concepts can be hard for little kids to get a handle on, and this picture book walks through several examples of what science really is. Science is looking at the stars in the sky. It's watching plants grow. Science is the way a ball falls down and bounces up again. With clear, simple wording and detailed pictures, this book is a great introduction to all things science.
The Great Gail Gibbons
Author and illustrator Gail Gibbons is another great resource for science-themed picture books. Introduce some weather science with Hurricanes! and Tornadoes. Or check out The Planets and Galaxies, Galaxies! for your budding astronomer.
All About Gravity
Your little one doesn't have to be able to pronounce "scientific method" to follow it, and learn about cause and effect. Check out I Fall Down, by Vicki Cobb, for simple examples of gravity with big, bright illustrations. This is a great gateway book for little kids who love tossing everything off the side of the couch just to watch it fall.
Get to Experimenting!
And if you want some really fun experiments to try, take a look through Smash It! Crash It! Launch It! 50 Mind-blowing, Eye-popping Science Experiments, by Rain Newcomb. All the experiments in Newcomb's book take kids' love of stomping, throwing, and building and use it to learn. Make predictions about how tall of a tower you can make out of newspaper, or what you need to build the best tomato catapult, and then get your hands dirty! The experiments only require common household supplies, about half an hour of time, and plenty of patience for mess-making.
Chelsey can tell you exactly what happens if you try to put your little brother in the washing machine. She doesn't recommend it.