Thursday, August 20, 2015

Making Slime: Stimulating Children to be Curious


Encouraging curiosity in children is a wonderful gift because it enables them to develop a healthy imagination and a sense of creativity. Numerous studies have shown that curiosity makes your mind active, more observant and inquisitive. When you are curious, you like to explore, try different things and question explanations. In simple words, curiosity helps children to be active learners.

My husband and I are continually trying to stimulate curiosity in our children, perhaps because we believe that it is essential in life. We focus a lot on the "observation skill" because active observation sparks curiosity. An observation is usually followed by a question or an explanation...the scientific process is initiated!


Over the last few weeks, our 5-year old son has shown lots of interest in cooking. I think that he is really interested in mixing food ingredients and see what happens with them. So, we thought that this was a great opportunity for us to introduce him to chemistry.

I contacted one of my friends, a chemistry professor (Dr Brian Wagner, University of Prince Edward Island), and asked him suggestions of simple, but cool chemistry experiments for young children. He suggested us to make slime. So, my husband and I helped my son to make purple slime.

Making slime was certainly a fun experience for my son. My husband took the opportunity to discuss a few scientific concepts such as chemical bonding and polymers. 
We also introduced him to terms such as hypothesis, replicate and test. We also examined the importance of active observation in science. At each step of the process, we took the time to observe how the consistency, texture and colour of the preparation were changing. 


My son was so excited about the experiment that he started to think about ways to change the ingredients to obtain different types of slimes. For example, he added baking soda and vinegar to the slime to make a volcano-slime. Clearly, my son really enjoyed the whole experience.

Children are remarkable for their curiosity. Our job is to nurture that curiosity.

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