Exploring & Discovering (birth - 33 months)

Before Watching

You are your child's first and most important teacher—and the world is your classroom. Children are naturally curious and like to explore everything around them, ask lots of questions, and experiment with objects and ideas. Through everyday explorations, children discover science and math concepts such as cause and effect, gravity and balance, measuring, colors, shapes, patterns, and numbers. They also build math- and science-related vocabulary, such as explore and investigate, more than and less than, or float and sink. As children make new discoveries and successfully explore the world around them, they also build confidence and problem-solving skills that will help them to thrive in everything that they do.

In this video you'll meet children from four families:

  • Kash (4 months) as he explores with his senses.
  • Ronan (2 years) as he builds math and science skills on a nature walk.
  • Siblings Aliyah (6 years) and Lamarques (3 years) and their cousin Rosonn (17 months) as they discover shapes while playing with dough.
  • Ange-Yolette (3 years) and her brother Gregory (6 years) as they do experiments with water and learn about science.

Watch the learning that happens as they explore the world.

After Watching

The World Is Your Classroom. Children are natural scientists, eager to investigate and learn from everything in their world. In the video, Ange-Yolette experiments with colors as her mom blows green bubbles, Lamarques learns about gravity and balance as he builds a block tower, Ronan investigates ice on a walk outside, and baby Kash learns about objects—how they move as he watches and reaches for the objects on his mobile. What objects does your child like to explore? Where does she do most of her investigating? What senses does she use as she explores? Encourage your child to use all of her senses as she investigates an object. Give her an eggbeater, flashlight, or old radio. Ask her: What do you think this is? and What do you think this does? Then let her figure it out on her own (with a little help from you, but only when asked).

Follow the Leader. Whether you have an infant or toddler, it will be much easier to engage your child if you follow her lead. Watch to see what your child is interested in and build your explorations around the objects and experiences that capture her attention. In the video, Ange-Yolette is interested in “pouring,” so her mom sets up a “lab” where she and her brother can conduct water experiments. What are your child's interests? What does she want to know more about?

Try This. On your next walk outside, ask your child, What do you notice? Then investigate the thing that he mentions. If he notices a leaf, take the time to touch it and smell it. Talk about its shape and color. See if you can find the tree that the leaf came from. Take a few leaves home and "amp up” the learning with some science fun. Try turning your kitchen into a Leaf Lab. You can trace the leaves, do leaf rubbings, and find out if the leaves float or sink in water.

Everyday, Everywhere Learning. Everyday routines and common objects offer great opportunities for exploration and learning. In the video, Ange-Yolette and Gregory sort colors and count in both English and Spanish. During snack time, Ronan discovers shapes as he helps prepare lunch. What are your daily routines? What does your child learn during these everyday moments?

Try This. The next time you do laundry, have your child be your helper. She'll learn about colors and compare sizes as she matches socks or helps you organize items into piles. Point out patterns on the clothes that you fold, count how many pants and shirts you have, and give her the chance to figure out how the different buttons, snaps, and zippers work.

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