Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Exploring Further

Excellent work has been done in the field of early childhood science, and the National Air and Space Museum is proud to be a part of this dynamic community. Science in Pre-K is modeled after the research of the Young Scientist Series, a publication developed by the Education Development Center.

Resources in Early Childhood Science Education

Leaders and Collaborators

PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center Teachers and families will find resources to create exciting learning experiences for children. The content is based on PNC Grow Up Great-funded projects in science and the arts and has been adapted by early childhood educators.  

Education Development Center (EDC) designs, implements and evaluates programs to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide. EDC were pioneers in developing research in early childhood science inquiry. They conducted the research that resulted in the Young Scientist Series, which is a series of publications, available from Red Leaf Press, that provides tools for teacher professional development in inquiry science. 

Science Beyond the Boundaries   This YouTube channel has a new lesson each month to inspire your science teaching. These lessons come directly from science centers and museums in the Science Beyond the Boundaries Network. Click on the link to find this month's lessons and a treasure trove of ideas for exploring science in the classroom or at home.

Center for Early Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa (CEESTEM) conducts research into early childhood STEM learning and provides resources, professional development, and support for teachers who want to use science inquiry. On the CESTEM website, educators can find hands-on, interactive classroom activities that encourage young children to develop and use a scientific inquiry process to explore and better understand their environments.

ECHOS – Early Childhood Hands-On Science is a hands-on, interactive early childhood science curriculum developed by the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida. ECHOS is a comprehensive curriculum that is research based, alligned with early childhood standards, and scripted to facilitate guided inquiry.

Peggy Ashbrook is the author of the National Science Teachers Association Early Years Blog and of the book Science Is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers. The book is a wonderful starting place for teachers who need ideas for science inquiry activities that can be implemented every day. The blog is also full of ideas, musings, and thoughts about early childhood science inquiry and provides an opportunity to join an active learning communtiy.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science has an active early childhood professional development program. Their website provides resources about inquiry science methods and exploring subjects such as archeology, paleontology, astronomy, earth science, health science, and life science with young children.

The Carnegie Science Center is a leader in developing early childhood science programming. You can find materials for purchase a videos of science activities for the home or classroom at their website.

The Franklin Institute has developed excellent resources for exploring science with children ages 5 through 8. The Kid Science: Island of the Elements Activity Guide has activities based on the interactive exhibition at the museum and can be downloaded from their website.

Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) is a model in museum-based learning for young children and has provided leadership in exploring how to use museums with children from birth through Kindergarten since 1988. SEEC offers professional development and resources for using objects to encourage children to be extraordinary, to wonder, and to explore the world around them.

NASA's Space Place educates and entertains kids, parents, and teachers about space and Earth science and technology.



Chalufour, I., Worth, K., Moriarty, R., Winokur, J., & Grollman, S. (2003). The Young Scientist Series: Building Structures with Young Children (Teacher's Guide and Trainer's Guide and Video). St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

Worth, K., & Grollman, S.. (2003). Worms, Shadows, and Whirlpools ; Science in the Early Childhood Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, and Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Neumann-Hinds, Carla. Picture Science: Using Digital Photography to Teach Young Children.

Wick, Walter. (1997) A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder.

Other Publications

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers many resources for teaching math and science and using inquiry methods. Their publications are well researched and reflect best practice in the field of early childhood education. NAEYC members can join the Early Childhood Science Interest Forum and follow the forum on various social networks.

NAEYC “Young Children”

NAEYC Spotlight on Young Children: Exploring Science

Websites, Games, and Apps

Pilot Pals A new iPad app from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum guides children to learn about airplanes and rockets through four games inspired by the history of early flight. Pilot Pals, the museum’s first app, also enables children ages 4 to 6 to personalize their experience by naming their hangar and choosing a Pilot Pal to accompany them. The app’s content and aesthetics are based on the early learners section of the “Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery,” incorporating games and artifacts from the exhibition. The Pilot Pals iPad app is free and is available on the App Store. Pilot Pals can also be played on computers and mobile devices on the "Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery” website. This new app is made possible through the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Shutterbugs: Wiggle and Stomp is an engaging computer application developed for preschool children by the Smithsonian National Science Education Center and the National Zoo. The free app supports scientific observation skills and literacy development as children learn to recognize animals and action words

NASA Space Place educates and entertains kids, parents, and teachers about space and Earth science and teachnology. Look here for great games and activities for classroom or home! http:\\

Peep and the Big Wide World is an animated public television program about inquiry science for children ages three to five. Children can explore along with the animated birds using the games and activities on the website. Well researched material is provided for parents and teachers as well.

Sid the Science Kid an animated public television program about a kid who loves science and exploring the world with his family and classmates in preschool. The website provides resources for parents and teachers as well as games, activites, and televsion episodes for all of the science kids out there.

Space Racers is an animated public television program designed to teach children about the power of scientific investigation and observation, the wonders of space, and the importance of teamwork. Visit the parents and educators site for family activities and lesson plans that explore space science for preschoolers. Also, download the Space Racers free app. A twist on the traditional flying game, kids can tag-team between four characters--Eagle, Robyn, Hawk, and Starling—as they soar through space, and around Stardust Bay, collecting stars and avoiding obstacles...just don't run out of fuel!