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  • Science is all around us. Take advantage of science learning for early primary students with the following resources. They require very little equipment – most of it should be in your kitchen or garden. Each topic has wrap-around resources to help with background information for the adults or caregivers.

    To get the most out of the activities, check out the article Learning science from home – ideas to deepen learning before you begin. Science for young learners is about discovery, curiosity and observation. Two key outcomes of any activity can simply be enjoyment and the conversations that arise from the experience.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Science is everywhere

    There is science in everyday activities and play. Use water, dish soap and a little paint or food colour to create bubbles. Catch the bubbles on white paper and look for patterns, make comparisons about sizes and shapes and do simple arithmetic.


    Go outside for a bug hunt. This article has lots of information and vocabulary about insect body parts. The activity Label the insect has both online and paper and pencil challenges to complete, along with lots of discussion questions. Choose a favourite insect and create an insect mihi, wanted poster or funny poem. Work on numeracy skills (and family fun) with the dice game beetle – and see who is the first to notice where the game gets the science wrong! The Hub has lots more insect resources for primary students.

    Water play

    Water is an ideal way to explore states of matter – solids, liquids and gases. This interactive uses simple language and ideas to explain water in its different states. Follow up with a hands-on activity that uses play and observation and comes with a picture-based activity sheet. Water play also offers opportunities for numeracy – measurement, volume and fractions. For example, predict then test how much water a sponge holds. Record the results of a family competition in a bar graph.

    Water (liquid)


    A liquid takes on the shape of its container. Watch how water takes on a different shape in a different container.

    If you pour water out of a container, it will go everywhere! Because it isn’t in a container, the water takes on the shape of the table top, making a puddle.

    Water molecules are still close together, but they can move or slide past one another.

    © Copyright 2014. University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved.


    Autumn is the perfect time to learn about plant reproduction and seed dispersal. Take a walk around the garden (or a short walk down the street to look at the neighbours’ gardens) for plants with seeds. Carefully observe the seeds and make predictions about how the seeds move from the plant to a new location. Go on a woolly sock walk and see what sticks to your foot – and your pet’s fur if you are walking the dog! Use art equipment to create a seed dispersal puppet play. Take advantage of meal preparation to look for and talk about seeds. Follow this up with activity cards that match seeds with fruits and foods with plant parts.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Seeds on woolly socks

    Talk a walk through long grass or an unkempt area to see what types of seeds may be present. Wear the woolly sock over your shoes for safety.


    Light and shadows offer opportunities for indoor exploration with torches, multiple trips outdoors during daylight hours to make observations and take measurements and early evening shadow play when the Moon is full. The activity investigating shadows uses play, observation and lots of superb images to develop and extend thinking. There are lots of other light and shadow articles and activities in this interactive.

    Rights: Herzi Pinki, CC BY-S.A 3.0

    Shadows and shapes

    The shape of an object determines the shape of its shadow.

    Activity ideas

    Use Hub resources for additional activity ideas for young learners about:

    For homes with learners of different ages, we also offer activity ideas for other levels. Peruse these articles for engaging ideas or for extension opportunities.

    For children who enjoy drawing, the activity Developing observational skills in younger students is an ideal way to incorporate science and oral language skills into an art activity.

    Useful links

    See our Pinterest board – full of activities, articles and more to help teachers, schools and/or parents setting up online learning at home.

    Visit the Learning from home government website for other activity ideas.

    Kids Greening Taupō has great ideas for getting kids outdoors and connecting with nature.

    Darwin & Newts is an animated adventure show for tamariki aged 3–7. Made with the help of specialist educators, it explores basic science and engineering principles. It has a free companion app available in reo Māori or English.

      Published 1 April 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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