I don't even know if the first part of that post title is accurate, but it sounds impressive, doesn't it? I do not have a very scientific mind. In fact, I taught sixth grade science for one year and the phrase my unfortunate students heard most often was, "I don't know, but I'll find out." (Then later I would ask one of the real science teachers.) I do vaguely recall something about observation and hypotheses being important and so (I figured) if I want my children to be more scientifically thinking than I am, we better start observing and hypothesizing.
I gathered a few different sports balls. We have many, many, many more but I wanted to keep it manageable.
First, we tried to determine which balls would bounce the highest.
Then we guessed which would hit the ground first if we dropped them at the same time from the deck. Dropping them at the same time proved to be a challenge. And then Drew claimed that the ball he dropped "won", no matter which actually hit the ground first.
We moved onto sinking or floating. If Drew guessed wrong, he tried to correct the problem. He guessed the soccer ball would sink and here he is trying to figure out how to get it to the bottom of the bucket:
Finally, we tried to guess which ball would make the biggest splash. This was by far the favorite and went on for a long time.
I do not know if all this made us more scientific thinkers, but we did have fun. We also have a lot of related books:
In Watch Me Throw the Ball! by Mo Willems (author of the Pigeon books) Piggie teaches Elephant that throwing a ball is all about having fun.
The Basket Ball is about Lulu, a girl who loves basketball. When the boys won't let her join their team, she throws a basket ball, a ball to which all the best girl ball players are invited. This is more fitting for elementary than preschool. We love the illustrations (and the message) but some of the rhyming is a little clunky.
Big Kicks is about Biggie the Bear who is asked to fill in for the soccer team. Even though he's big, he knows nothing about playing soccer. He ends up accidentally winning the game and making a bunch of new friends.