A new report was recently published in American Educational Research Association journal that highlights the connection between general science knowledge as children enter kindergarten and their future academic success. The study tracked more than 7,000 children from the beginning of kindergarten to the end of middle school. The results? Kids who entered kindergarten with less general science knowledge — physical, biological, and social sciences — generally finished eighth grade at a similar deficit.
The study emphasizes the importance of reaching kids early when it comes to exposure to science, with pre-school and kindergarten being perhaps the critical window for instilling interest and curiosity. Don’t have time for a trip to the zoo or a museum? There are tons of other ways to get kids thinking critically during everyday experiences. Want even more scientific inspiration? We’ve sourced some of the very best apps for pre-school age kids, some of which are free!
MarcoPolo Ocean allows kids to explore the ocean from the sand on the beach to the deep sea. Kids can drag and assemble things like coral reefs, killer whales and man-made objects like submarines. Along the way, more than 30 species of sea animals are explained by a narrator in this colorfully animated app that gives preschool-age kids a chance to explore undersea environments and its eco systems.
Pocket Zoo lets kids explore animals without going into encyclopedia overload. Preschoolers can enjoy animal photos, videos and, perhaps the app’s best feature, a series of animal cameras located at zoos all over the world. They can also hear audio files of each species. Older kids can delve deeper into the kingdom and learn about a wide variety of animals with facts and figures. Pocket Zoo’s simple, pared-down design makes it easy for young kids to learn about nature and watch animals all over the world in real time.
Peg + Cat: The Tree Problem is not only cute and fun to play, but it gives preschoolers a way to explore the notions of spatial reasoning, sequential thinking and logic. The set up is simple: Peg needs to help Cat down from a tree — and not just a single tree but a series of them in six different settings. The challenge for kids is to manipulate different items to help Cat get down from the tree and unite with Peg. On the farm, they can pour water on flowers to help them grow just tall enough to provide a step ladder down to the ground. In “Mathtropolis,” Cat is stuck in a tree and only by placing beams on a series of girders can he reach park level to join Peg. Familiarity with the PBS TV show Peg + Cat not required!