Friday, July 11, 2014

Field Trip - California Science Center

My three-year-old driving a snow mobile in the Arctic.

Building an arch after touring the Pompeii exhibit.

Listening to sound waves vibrating*

The California Science Center has so much to see and do - and admission is free! There are Ecosystems (where my daughter got to "drive" the snowmobile), and Creative World - which includes Communications (where we listened to sound waves), Structures, Transportation, and more. There is World of Life (which we didn't even get to because there is just so much to see!) with Body Works, Cell Lab, Life Source (which has a chick hatchery! among other exhibits pertaining to babies, genes, reproduction, and development) and more, more, more. My husband would have liked to spend more time in Air and Space, and my daughter liked the space telescopes. The main reason we went to the Science Center was to see the special exhibit on Pompeii.

How does one tour an exhibit on Pompeii with a three-year-old? 

1)Answer your child's questions, but don't feel the need to give background information. (Example: It isn't necessary to tell your child that a volcano erupted and killed everyone, and that you're looking at plaster casts of dead bodies. If your child does ask what something is, you can ask, "What does it look like?" and let your child answer their own question, or you can give a preschool-friendly answer like, "It's the shape of a person," and your preschooler will probably be satisfied and on to the next thing. Besides, there is A LOT more to see than plaster casts. The casts are just a fraction of what there is to see.

2)DO tell your child your expectations for behavior before you enter. ("Hold my hand or Daddy's hand at all times.")

3)Do prepare your child for anything that might be sensory overload (too loud, too dark, etc.) by saying things like, "We're going to see a pretend volcano erupt. It's going to be loud, so you might want to cover your ears."

4)Make the tour a game. If there is something that resembles an item you have in your home, an everyday object, ask your child if she can find it. (Example: "Do you see something that looks like something we have in our kitchen?") If your child can count, ask how many of the same item he can find (Example: How many fish do you see?). Look for shapes. Look for colors. Ask your child what she thinks artifacts are made from (gold, clay, wood, rock, etc.).

*The shorter the tube, the higher the frequency and the higher the pitch.

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