parenting

Sid the Science Kid: Exploring Science During Environment and Habitat Week

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How Sid the Science Kid can help you. Teaching preschoolers science can be problematic, as you may know. When I tried to teach my four-year-old about acids and bases, I met with a stare as blank as the Sahara. But if you've looked at any of our recent posts about parenting education, you may have noticed some ideas that make it easier:

  • Keep it simple,
  • Use everyday items, and
  • Make it visually exciting.

In trying to teach preschoolers about the environment, it can be tempting to start explaining things like "transpiration" or "pollutants" or even gravity. However, it is always better to show them, with simple images and words. Sid the Science Kid is a PBS Kids show that I have relied on frequently to show simple scientific concepts, in everyday, visual ways. This is one of the few science shows for preschoolers on regular television that I know of, although I think those kinds of shows are increasing. I was excited to hear that the series is devoting four new episodes to celebrating the environment, in celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd. To find out what Sid will be talking about during Environment and Habitat Week, be sure to click here to learn about his five tips for Earth Day.

In these episodes, Sid and his friends find the answers to these questions about water, clean air, trash and trees:

  • What happens to water that goes down the drain? Sid and his friends discover that there’s lots of water in the world, but you can’t drink it all!  We can only use fresh water, and there aren’t a lot of fresh water sources in the world. That’s why it’s important not to waste water.
  • Why does Sid's dad wear a mask when he paints? The kids discover that trees help keep our air clean.
  • Where does trash go when you throw it away? Sid and his friends explore the idea that everything we throw away goes somewhere.
  • Can an old stump be a home for tiny creatures? They find out that if one habitat is destroyed, all of the other habitats and animals are affected.

Recently, PBS sent me a "Sid Sing Along" DVD, with episodes about weather, magnifying glasses, and other things. Like the other episodes my children have watched, they had engaging songs, lively, and simple explanations and demonstrations. Unfortunately, my once four-year-old is now seven, and already understands the concepts. My two-year-old is too young to understand, but is nonetheless enthralled by the vibrant images and fun music.

In the course of reviewing the Sing-Along DVD and the accompanying Environment & Habitat Toolkit CD, I discovered that the series has garnered four Emmy nominations and multiple prestigious awards, most recently the CINE Golden Eagle Award. I also found out that the series' website (PBSKIDS.org/sid) will have all-new materials to correlate with the new episodes the same week of the episodes (April 18th - 22nd). Accompanying lesson plans and at-home investigations can be found online at PBSTEACHERS.org and PBSPARENTS.org. Parents and teachers can also learn more about teaching science to preschoolers as well as replicate activities from the show by visiting the parent and teacher blogs at http://www.pbs.org/parents/sid/blogs.html.

If you've ever struggled at all with teaching science to your preschooler, or are at a loss for resources, I highly recommend tuning into Sid the Science Kid on TV and online this week.

Note: The Sid the Science Kid Sing-Along DVD and Environment & Habitat CD were given to me by the Jim Henson Company. The opinions are my own.

With Earth Day right around the corner, how do you plan on celebrating? What has helped you teach your kids about science and living green? What types of books, shows, and computer programs have you found to be the most helpful?

Click on this link to share in our forum ways that have helped you teach your children about Earth Day, science, and living green.

 

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