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Science Games for Toddlers

Toddlers—young children from about ages 1 to 2—are extremely curious about the world around them. That's why it's important to teach them about science as it relates to that world, rather than trying to teach it to them in a classroom setting. Science games can help keep toddlers' interest levels high so that they will love learning about science.

Which Ones Float?

The concept of buoyancy is one that many toddlers have already begun to understand through bath and swimming play, but they may not be able to make predictions about it. To help reinforce this concept, set a large basin of water on the ground outside. Place a pile of everyday objects next to it, making sure that some of the objects sink and others float. Possible objects might include a ping pong ball, a rock, a piece of yarn, a foam cup, a sponge, and a toy action figure. Toddlers should guess which objects will float and which will sink by placing the objects into two piles. Then they can experiment to see whether their guesses were correct. Remember to never leave children unattended around water.

Animal Sounds

Toddlers love animals, and they'll enjoy learning the sounds that each animal makes. Teach them how to dance like animals by turning on some kids' music on low volume and calling out names of animals. The toddlers should then dance around like those animals would. For example, if you call out "monkey," the toddlers might make monkey sounds, scratch their sides, or walk on their knuckles.

Magnet Race

Toddlers are just at the age when they are testing out cause and effect, and the science of magnets will intrigue them. Give each toddler a set of two magnets and show them how the magnets attract each other when facing one way and repel each other when facing the other way. Then show them how they can use repulsion to make a magnet move without even touching it with the other magnet. They can do this by placing the positive pole of a magnet right next to the positive pole of another magnet. Because opposite poles repel, the second magnet will move. If they'd like, they can race their magnets against each other without touching them by using this "secret."

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