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Reception science: what your child learns

'Science' written on blackboard
Unsure what the science curriculum covers in Reception? Read on to find out.

At this age, science is studied as part of ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’, and the aim is to help children to make sense of the world around them.

They will learn to develop their skills of observation, prediction, critical thinking and discussion, which will come in useful throughout school, not only in science, but also in subjects such as history, geography, ICT and design technology.

The children will conduct experiments, be encouraged to explore different methods of discovery, and they will start to use drawings and charts to present their findings. This is a fun and practical part of the curriculum, as the children will work with a range of materials both inside and out of the classroom.

They may go on a school trip based around one of their topics; for example, if they have studied animals, there could be a visit to a local farm.

Science in Reception – what your child will learn


Your child may study aspects of one or more of these topics throughout the year:

  • Minibeasts (insects)
  • Animals
  • Plants
  • People who help us
  • Festivals and celebrations
  • Ourselves
  • Where we live
  • Water
  • Seasons and weather
  • Communities and cultures
  • Time

As part of their topic work, the children will also be developing a range of other skills:

Investigation and exploration

  • How to use their senses to investigate objects and materials
  • Looking at objects and observing similarities, differences, patterns and changes
  • Finding out and identifying features of living things, objects and events

Try this at home

  • Go for a walk and make up a nature box with leaves, twigs, fir cones or anything else you find
  • Experiment with water – put objects in the bath and get your child to guess which will float, and which will sink
  • Blow bubbles – then see which way the wind blows them
  • Visit a museum and look for the oldest things your child can find
  • Take a magnifying glass into the garden and go on a bug hunt. Draw pictures of the insects you see with your child
  • Think about your route to school and make a map, including any important buildings

For practical, fun ways to explain basic science to your child look through our science worksheets for Reception.

Design and construction

  • Using a wide range of materials to build
  • Choosing the right tools to make, measure, cut and join
  • Making an object with a purpose and being able to describe it


  • How we use ICT in everyday situations
  • Programmable toys
  • How to complete a simple program on a computer
  • Using a mouse and keyboard and being able to click on an icon
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