Encourage Curiosity!

butterfly nonfiction booksWe often want to build on our children’s curiosity, but do you always have the right answer when they ask, “Why?” We can often discover the answers together in books shared between parent and child. Knowledge about the world, even in very young children, is key to understanding. Pairing a story and a factual book on nature or science helps expand children’s scientific knowledge. Read aloud “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, and then explore a nonfiction book on butterflies. Since related activities can help reinforce learning, you may also want to perform a fingerplay of “Little Arabella Miller.” Here’s how.

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Every Scientist Needs a Lab Coat

It’s a summer of science at your library, so pull out your safety goggles, test tubes, skeleton models, microscopes, magnifying glasses and other scientific gear. Make lab coats using the following instructions, and create your own mad scientist names.

picture of a lab coatWhat you need:

  • white t-shirt, prewashed
  • cardboard
  • fabric markers
  • yardstick
  • pocket template, copied at whatever size you wish

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Science Books Your Kids Will Want to Read

Kids need more exposure to science. We’ve all heard the news reports. And, while some of us have fond memories of looking at boogers under our first microscopes, I know some of you groan under the remembered weight of textbooks full of big words. How can you make science fun for your children? Check out the National Science Teachers Association’s recently published list of Outstanding Science Books for K-12 Students for 2013.

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Sally Rides On

In 1983, Sally Ride became the first female astronaut from the United States to travel into space. In the years that followed, she continued to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, dedicating the last years of her life to education.  In 2001, Ride founded Sally Ride Science, an education company that supports and fosters children’s–especially young girls’–interest in science, math, engineering and technology. Sally passed away this week after a battle with pancreatic cancer, but her legacy lives on.

Here are some resources to learn more about Sally Ride and inspire the young scientists in your life:

  • Almost Astronauts” by Tanya Lee Stone. The story of 13 women, known as the Mercury 13, who fought for the right to soar into space during the 1960s.
  • Sally Ride: Astronaut, Scientist, Teacher” by Pamela Hill Nettleton. A straightforward biography of the first American woman in space for the youngest readers. Ride didn’t start out wanting to be an astronaut–she wanted to play shortstop for the L.A. Dodgers!
  • Space Exploration” by Giles Sparrow. This recently published book presents the life of an astronaut from take-off to surviving, adapting and working in space stations. Discusses space travels throughout history, including the first landing on the Moon, and looks at future space exploration plans.
  • Check out this list of additional biographies of female astronauts.

Facts about Sally Ride from Biography in Context, an online resource available for free with your DBRL library card.

Check it Out: Books About the Environment for Earth Day

The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps, by Jeanette WinterTake the opportunity this Earth Day to teach the kids in your life about the environment and how their choices can affect the health of the planet. Is your child already an animal lover? Read books together about species extinction and habitat preservation. Have a budding scientist in your house? Choose titles about climate change, electric cars or other alternative energy sources.  Here’s a list of recent children’s books that explore ecological themes in appealing ways.

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