Have you come across any ‘enfant terrible’? Were you shocked by his actions? Such children are “a pain best avoided” in social gatherings. The parents are desperate, guilty and often judgmental. The attention span of these children is alarmingly short. They jump from one activity to another, both blissfully incomplete. Schools dread such children, lest the classmates venture into aping this ‘hero’.
Parents/ caretakers could actually ‘reform’ him, by moderating their relationship with him. The suggestions that are made in this page could as well be applied to all kinds of children aged between 3 and 5.
We are not talking magic. Instead of letting the child experiment and explore the world around him alone, WE are going to give him company . This offer comes to you with a bonus : The child will be less destructive and more attentive.
By the time the child is 3 years old, he knows what ‘opposites’ mean: on-under, open-close, up-down and the like. Now, using this concept, go ahead with simple experiments in science to talk about
BOILING – FREEZING
Have him pick a pan, pour a cup of water and place on the (lighted) stove. Let him watch it boil. Tell him, “The air bubbles show us that water is boiling.” Have him by your side when you cool the water. Let him pour it in the ice trays and place in the freezer. Watch his fantastic proud face when he finds the ice cubes a couple of hours later. Tell him that the water is now frozen.
ROTATION – REVOLUTION
While the child is in a playing mood sing a rhyme and suggest to rotate. Turn around yourself so as to make him understand the concept. Let him do it while you sing at a slow speed, clapping your hands. After two or three singing sessions, suggest a change: This time, you’ll be singing faster, clapping equally faster. And he will turn around and go around you as well. Fun and laughter follows.
Encourage him to play the game with his toys. After explaining the terms ‘rotate’ and ‘revolve’, ask him to cry out, “Rotate!” or “Revolve!”, because “the toys need to be told.” Watch him do it with pride and confidence.
SURFACE – CORE
This time around, you are going to ‘invite’ him to the kitchen, instead of driving him out of it as it happens often! Boiled potatoes are at their best when your child is taught the next pair of new concepts. When the vegetable is partly cooled, ask your child to remove the peel, “which is on the surface”. Halve it and show him the center of the potato, tell him that it is called the ‘core’. Pick up the next potato, ask him what he can see – surface? core? or both? May be he answers in a moment, but still the answer comes after
understanding the concept,
thinking process and
comparison of the three answers offered.
SOLUBLE – INSOLUBLE
You can easily make the guess: All you would need is a pair of water-filled glasses, one teaspoonful of salt/ sugar and sand. Have the child mix the sugar/salt in one glass and sand in the other. Explain the concepts of ‘soluble’ and ‘insoluble’.
The list is endless. It only depends upon the imagination and resources of the parent/ caretaker, to reap double benefit, keeping the child occupied the right way and introducing the scientific concepts at the right age.
Here is a secret for you: With such activities, the child not only starts liking science, he also starts to take you and your words seriously.