Updated: Feb 21
Looking for ways to spark an interest in science beyond the classroom and Primary Science tuition classes?
The holidays are a great time to do so. The beauty of science is that it covers so many fields – so start with the one that excites your child, whether it’s animals, food, how stuff works, and more.
In this blog post, we recommend six easy activities you and your child can try – whether you’re staying home, or heading out. As you explore, we recommend encouraging questions, and if neither of you knows the answers, find out together. It’s a good way to build curious mindsets that guide scientific thinking. So try one (or all) of them over the holidays, and have fun as you learn together.
1. Play I Spy – With a Scientific Twist!
In the game I Spy, one person selects a mystery object in sight and gives clues to others to help them guess what the object might be. In this version, try as much as possible to anchor the clues in Primary Science concepts like materials or different states of matter.
For example, if you were playing this at home and the mystery object was an iron, the clues could include, ‘part of this household object is made from metal’ or ‘it needs electricity to run’.
The best part? You can play this anywhere – whether you’re home, walking around the mall on a weekend, or getting groceries. For instance, if we were in a supermarket and were to give the clues: this white liquid usually comes from a cow and needs to be refrigerated or it’d go bad – can you guess what it might be?
2. Nurture Little Observers
Grab a notebook and invite your child to start recording some of their observations when you make trips, such as a visit to the park. The observations could be as detailed as you’d like.
For example, they could be a simple record of the different types of birds your child was able to spot and identify. And if neither of you is sure what its name might be, do your best to take a photo, and look it up together when you’re back home.
If you make regular trips, consider making more detailed observations. For instance, in addition to recording the types of birds, note the time of each trip or where you spot them. Who knows – you might even notice a pattern emerging over time.
If bringing a notebook isn’t practical, talk it out instead. It could be as simple as spotting plants or weeds that manage to grow in unexpected spaces like cracks in the pavement. This could spark an exploration of how pollination works.
Or when you’re next at the mall, ask open-ended questions starting with ‘What if?’ or ‘I wonder…’ – one of the teaching techniques we learned from our teachers at AGrader Learning Centre. They’ve found asking such questions in Primary Science tuition classes helpful in prompting students to ask questions of their own.
So when you and your child are next in a shopping mall, consider asking, ‘Why do some escalators ‘rest’ when they’re not in use?’. Or when you spot different coloured bins requesting paper or glass items, wonder aloud why recycling is necessary. Encourage them to ask questions of their own, and again, if you don’t have the answers – simply find out together.
3. Create a Scrapbook
Take a trip to the Botanic Gardens, or any park, and collect different leaves that may have fallen on the ground. On your return home, group them into different vein patterns, leaf edges, shapes and textures, and paste them on different pages of a scrapbook.
This makes 2D drawings your child may see in their textbooks or Primary Science tuition classes tangible and strengthens their concepts on different leaves of plants.
4. Discover and Learn
Depending on what your child’s interest might be, explore institutions that encourage discovery and ideas. We’ve included four recommendations below – select what works for them, and maybe even use your Singapore Rediscover vouchers (if you haven’t already) for selected admission fees.
From learning about conservation to seeing wildlife up close, there are so many things we love about taking a trip to the zoo. On your next visit, invite your child to classify the animals in different groups such as mammals, reptiles, amphibians and more to reinforce their understanding of primary school science concepts.
If your child likes farm animals, and you’re ready for a break from urban living, explore the different farms at Kranji Countryside. Try fresh goat’s milk at Hay Dairies. Learn more about where fruits and vegetables come from at Bollywood Veggies. Discover a wide range of colourful fish and marine life such as stingrays, eels, and more at Qian Hu Fish Farm.
Have fun exploring interactive digital exhibitions including the museum’s permanent exhibition Future World where you and your child can ‘experience’ seasons, contribute to digital artworks and more. Art and technology play a big part in the museums’ exhibitions, so if your child gets excited by immersive, multisensory experiences, we recommend checking it out!
From 3D printing to forces that change the Earth, to optical illusions, and even poo – the science centre’s many exhibitions cater to a wide range of interests. Even if your child may have taken a trip there on a learning journey with their school, revisit the science centre to explore new exhibitions or re-examine what they may have previously learned.
5. Research A Well-Known Scientist
Use the holidays to learn more about scientists. To start, we recommend focusing on one well-known expert in their field. If your child likes astronomy, consider someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson. If your child likes animals, someone like Temple Grandin or Jane Goodall would be fun to research.
Using Jane Goodall as an example, you and your child could watch documentaries like Jane Goodall: The Hope. In addition to learning facts, your child would get to see that science is a process. For instance, Goodall had a lot of patience and waited nearly a year before she had any interactions with chimpanzees. Through this, your child gets to see behaviours that scientists like Goodall demonstrate and mindsets they can model.
6. Conduct an Easy Experiment at Home
The web is a great resource for fun experiments, including this easy egg in vinegar one that introduces a fun way to see a chemical reaction in action (with minimal clean-up).
What you’ll need
A raw egg, vinegar, and a glass jar (large enough for the egg to fit), and a notebook for observations (optional)
How long you’ll need
Prep time: 5 min | Total experiment: 2 – 3 days
What to do
Place the egg carefully in the jar and add vinegar until the egg is completely submerged. You’ll see bubbles form around the egg immediately!
Over the next 2 to 3 days, check and see how the egg has changed. Record your observations (including colour, rate of bubbling etc.) in a notebook if you have one.
After 2 – 3 days, use a spoon to take the egg out of the jar. Rinse it carefully, but thoroughly, with warm water.
[Optional] Place the egg next to a regular egg and observe the differences.
Hold the egg about 5 cm above a table or dinner plate (for easier clean-up) and let it go. Does it bounce? Does it fall apart (and if so, what do you see)?
If you do give it a shot, let us know your results below!
Whether you’re staying home or discovering more of Singapore over the school holidays, we hope your children (and you) enjoy learning with the recommended activities.
At AGrader primary science tuition programmes, students improve with our learning environment that features similar fun activities and hands-on experiments. Through the years, we’ve seen how they encourage curiosity and help our students to learn and better understand scientific concepts. Find out more about our weekly primary science tuition lessons here. Interested to find out more? Contact us to find out the exclusive bonuses your child will receive when they enroll in one of our lessons! Check out the the tuition class fees and timings across our centres islandwide here.