As a mom, I am always looking for ways to keep my children happy and engaged. I obviously know how to play with my kiddos (this Mama is a pro at playing a firefighter and a kitty) but I love to find new ideas and games which is why I grabbed Sandbox Scientist by Michael Ross.
Now, let me say, I am no science guru...not even close. I do however want to encourage my three children to take an interest in science and to have a curiosity for what makes things work. Sandbox Scientist is a fabulous little book with fun ideas to make everyday play more interesting. The book is broken up into sections with different kinds of play/experiments to try out. There are sections titled Mechanics, Building, Kitchen Experiments, Earth and other Matter (definitely a favorite around here!), Light, Water and even a section on Little Critters (not my fave but one my kiddos will by way into I am sure).
Many of the experiments are simply extensions of play in which your child already engages. When your little one is digging around in the mud give her or him some tools (paint brushes, cookie cutters, spatulas etc) to make different shapes and add some water to the mix and talk about changing textures. Yes, it is messy but it is a fun learning experience your child will appreciate. In the kitchen set your child up at the table with a bowl and and some mixing spoons along with some ingredients to make potions (vinegar and baking soda create a reaction) kids love to get their hands on your kitchen tools and it lends a lesson on textures and solutions. In this book there are instructions on how to make your own play sailboat, a recipe for "color goop" and instructions on how to catch and care for a snail (or a lady bug, grasshopper...you get the picture!).
I like this book for two main reasons. First it gave me some fresh ideas for some fun science themed projects. Second, it took things we were already doing and supplied ways to make it more interesting. Not a bad investment in a book if you ask me. There are projects in this book that call for materials that are not kicking around my house (PVC Pipe and the like) but most of the materials called for are common household items. The recommended age group for this book is from 2-8 and I think every parenting library should have a copy.