The other day M was making some type of artistic creation and asked for the glitter glue. When I told her there was none left, the rest of our conversation went something like this…
M: Can we make glitter?
Me: No, we can’t make glitter
M: Why not?
Me: Because I don’t know how we could do it
M: Well, can you please let me try to make it?
I’m so grateful that M didn’t take my initial no for an answer because in that moment, I realized what I wonderful opportunity this was. Kids are so naturally curious and if we provide them with the space to explore and learn, they will truly surprise us. So instead of saying no again, I asked her how she wanted to make glitter.
Without her even knowing she was learning, we walked through each step of the Scientific Method and she created her very own experiment. You can do the same with your kids too! Depending on their ages, you can either guide them through the process or discuss each step by name.
The Scientific Method involves the following steps:
To demonstrate how easy this can be applied in your own home, here is how it went for us.
Observation – M realized we were out of glitter glue
Question – Can we make our own glitter?
Hypothesis – M thought that it we peeled the paper off crayons, broke them into small pieces and put them in water, it would make glitter.
*I was 99% sure this was not going to work and found myself debating whether to save her the disappointment and tell her beforehand. I’m glad I didn’t, her reaction at the end was surprising*
Experiment – We peeled the paper off 4 different colored crayons, broke them up and put them in a bowl of water. M stirred them up every few hours or so for the next 24 hours.
Analysis – After a full day had gone by, M saw that the crayons still looked like crayons. Even though a few specs had fallen off and she hoped they would become glitter, she could see that it didn’t work.
Conclusion – When we checked on the crayons for the last time, M announced that it didn’t not work and could we please buy glitter at the store next time we were there.
As soon as she embarked on her experiment, it was no longer really about the glitter glue. I could see her excitement as she continued checking on the bowl of crayons and she proudly told everyone we saw during those 24 hours that she was in the middle of an experiment. She wasn’t even disappointed that it didn’t work, she still considered it quite a success.
As for me, it’s a reminder of how important it is to feed that natural curiosity. Next time she has a question, she may not use the term observation or hypothesis but she’ll know how to explore her ideas and see if they work.