Environment & Ecology Science for Early Childhood Learners


This webpage provides early childhood educators with information and resources developed by California University of Pennsylvania and partners with grant funding from PNC Financial Services Group. There is more information about the PNC Grow UP Great with Science project at Cal U on this webpage. Follow the links below to access science activities and resources for early childhood science education.

Science Activity Ideas for Early Childhood Learners

These science activity and resource wepages are organized by Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Learning Standards (2009 rev). The activities were developed and presented by Cal U faculty, students, project partner staff and invited experts at the teacher workshops or family field trips. These workshops and field trips covered specific themes so not all EC standards will have activity suggestions. Some activities are ready to use while others will require some adapation in materials or procedures for your specific circumstances.

Life Science

Environment & Ecology Science

Physical Science

Earth Science

Science Inquiry

Designing a Solution to an Everyday Problem (Technology & Engineering Design)

Science Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood Learners

These science teaching strategy wepagse provide research-based, best practice suggestions on how to teach early childhood learners science. They are organized by the science teaching strategy.

What Should Teachers Do When They Teach Science?

What Should Children Do When They "Do Science?"


Grow Up Great with Science Project Vision

Early childhood science learning should: 
  • originate from children’s own explanations and questions.
  • center on authentic, experiential learning within the context of family life.
  • extend from children’s naturalistic play.
  • focus on developing age appropriate science process skills such as observing, exploring and explaining.
  • use local places such as school grounds, forests, fields, wetlands and human communities as locations for learning science and also as the focus of science learning.
  • integrate instruction that blurs the traditional academic boundaries between science, math, literacy, social studies, art and physical wellness.

Environmental Science Activities



Watersheds and Wetlands



Renweable and Non-Renewable Resources


Art with Grain and Beans

Children will use grain and beans to make a picture.

Wildlife Conservation

The children will learn about what they can do to help protect wildlife. Children will observe and explore how oil affects the feathers of birds. They will look at the difference of a feather in oil and a feather in water. They will have the opportunity to help clean feathers with soap and a toothbrush.



Environmental Health



Children will observe an educational presentation about clean water, fish biology, and fishing. All fish have fins to swim and gills to get oxygen from the water. Children will draw a picture of a fish.



Agricultural and Society


All About Cattle

Children will have the opportunity to see beef cattle and learn how they use plants.

From Seed to Bread

The teacher will explain how Native Americans used corn, the children will get to grind corn and also sample homemade cornbread.


Ecosystems and Their Interactions


All About Cattle

Children will have the opportunity to see beef cattle and learn how they use plants.

Garlic planting

Children will plant garlic in a milk carton. At home, they can watch it grow and then can help use it in a recipe.

Ox Cart Man

The book “Ox Cart Man” will be read and discussed.

River and Stream Water

Children are asked to observe the river and stream and look for all different ways that water in the river moves: Fast/slow; downhill; sideways; upstream/downstream; up/down; over a rock/around a rock; etc. Share that oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are all different types of bodies of water.

Water Animals

Children will observe different kinds of animals that live in the river including crayfish, macro invertebrates and amphibians. They will also discuss and use evidence, including tracks, to infer other possible animals that use the river.


Threatened, Endagered and Extinct Species



Humans and the Environment



Environmental Laws and Regulations

















Last updated: June 26, 2013









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