The sky is blue with billowing white clouds. The trees dance and dip in the wind. Children giggle and chase bubbles on the grass. Whose turn is it to blow a bubble now? How high can you jump to pop it? See how they float gently and then dive in the wind? We take a photo and treasure the moment. 

Fast forward a couple of years and our children are in a classroom learning about forces. All I have to do as a teacher is remind the children of their previous experiences and link them to what is going on in the classroom. The lesson on forces continues from there.

By the time school starts, our children have already experienced basic forces through their own independent play. It is here, where school and play meet, that one of the most crucial roles of parents comes in; using language, we can link our children’s own play curriculum to the national curriculum. Through the vocabulary we use and the questions we ask, we can inspire our children to learn outside the classroom. For example, while you’re child is playing, use the word ‘push’ to describe the influence of wind on bubbles. If you attach the word ‘push’ to similar forces, overtime, this concept and their understanding will develop. Then, at school when the teacher is describing the wind as a pushing force, hopefully your child will make a connection to the more formal understanding of the word in a science lesson and the experience they have had through play.

So, what should ‘learning outside of the classroom’ look like?

The sky is blue with billowing white clouds, the trees dance and dip in the wind. Children giggle and chase bubbles on the grass. “Whose turn is it to blow a bubble?” “Can you jump high enough to reach that one?” “See how they move gently and then dip quickly – why is that happening?” “Yes I think you’re right, it’s like the wind is blowing the bubbles. It’s like the wind is pushing the bubbles. LOOK – The wind is pushing that one right up!! Higher and higher!!!”

One of the many ways to support our children in their learning pathways is to be aware of these questions and be aware of the language and vocabulary used in formal education.

To Infinity and Beyond (but what kind of force would get us there?)!

Here are some simple activities to inspire your little one to begin thinking about forces. 

 

 

 

  • Can you move this ball without touching it with your fingers or the straw?
  • How can you move this ball without touching it with your fingers or the straw?

  • Who can launch the paper rocket and fly it the furthest?
  • Using your straw launcher, can your paper rocket reach a target?
  • What force are you using when you launch your rocket with the straw launcher?