It might be a bit late to get a pack for the Big Garden Bird Watch this weekend but it’s never too late to encourage the children to learn about the bird life around them.
You might feel you’re not that interested in birds and neither are the children. But there’s more point to it than that.
Doing activities like this encourages the development of the skills children need for science in general.
The snag with the curriculum of science most parents are familiar with through their own experience in school is that you can feel very much removed from it. But the basis of science is quite simple really; it’s based in understanding the world and the things within it. As Albert Einstein famously said; ‘the whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking’. It evolves from there!
And the best place to start is with the things that are relevant to children now, the things they see – birds for example. And bugs. And flowers and plants. And wondering about things, like what they’re are made of, what materials are used, where they come from, and why – from homes to helicopters to trees. And from these small beginnings their study stretches into the bigger questions like what’s the earth made of, what space is, and bigger aspects of chemistry and physics.
Yet the skills needed to pursue science into more complex subject matter are based right back in activities that are seemingly small and insignificant. Like bird watching for example. For this encourages the children to practice the most fundamental skill of all scientific study – observation.
From there will come other valuable skills like; questioning, identification, hypothesising, language, (through conversations about what they see), analyzing, classification, extended study and understanding how everything relates to each other as well as to them.
So use any opportunity you can to get the kids interested in the world that’s near to them and it will build the skills and understanding needed for when the time comes to study those things that right now seem further removed! The Bird Watch offers such an opportunity.
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