In Science we start with naming everything! From birth, I point out and name body parts inside and out, birds, flowers, mushrooms, fish, trees, rock types, planets, trucks - everything we can see!
We also read loads and loads of science books - nature identification books, space books, animal books, mechanical books, fire engine books - so many books! We play with water, growing seeds, magnets, model human bodies or human body puzzles and make small electrical circuits, etc.
We aim to answer almost every science question that arises, even if it has to be search-engined later in the day.
During Key Stage 1, we did more of the above. To help me make sure I didn't have too many gaping holes, I used
My Pals Are Here! Science (books 2a and 2b, textbooks and workbooks) from Singapore, international edition. It is hands-on, low-text and very colourful.
I liked using this book, but I think just taking the contents page as a springboard would do a similar job.
We went through each topic, then added our own reading and games.
During KS2, so far we have been using Collins International Primary Science as a base curriculum. It's cheaper than My Pals Are Here!and doesn't require you to buy an extortionate teacher book to know that you've got the right answers. It has an experiment for every topic and pushes you to absorb the principles of good experiment design.
The experiments are fun but otherwise the textbooks and workbooks aren't wildly exciting. We supplement with reading and our own exploration.
We spend a lot of time outside in woods and by our local river. We often want to discover what the names of the animals and plants around us are. Here are my personal favourite nature identification books after 7 years of trial and error.
The Tree Detective Handbook, Camilla de la Bedoyere
Only bother getting a tree book that has a clear picture of one leaf (or set of leaves if the leaf is compound), the fruit and the blossom for each tree. Otherwise, it's going to be hard to use it to accurately identify anything.
The 2009 edition of the i-Spy Birds book is really clear. My 1-year-old baby enjoys me reading through it (only reading each bird name) and it covers almost everything you'll see on a day-to-day basis.
There are lots of great wildflower books. We normally choose the Collins Gem Wild Flowers book.
A Good All-Rounder
Collins Complete Guide to British Wildlife. Photo for every species, includes fish, mushrooms, etc. Not too heavy for something with so much inside.
Poos and Clues, Woodland Trust Swatch Book. Woodland Trust do great swatch cards. I normally take them apart by removing the central pin, turn them into flashcards and store them in an enticing box. However, this one is best used out and about with its pin still in. Woodland Trust swatch books also particularly good for tree leaves, mushrooms and butterflies.