How to Help Kids Fall in Love with Science
Some kids have an affinity for science and love spending time outside exploring nature and learning new things. Others find this subject difficult and uninspiring and they need a bit of help to see how amazing the world of science really is.
Not only will an interest in science boost your child’s future career prospects as many jobs will require STEM skills, it will also enhance their critical thinking skills.
Science Begins at Home
Children are naturally fascinated by the world around them, as demonstrated by the endless questions they ask about how things work. Many parents feel unqualified to answer these questions, but this shouldn’t prevent you from learning with your child.
When kids grow up in science-friendly homes, they are encouraged to ask questions, think critically, experiment, explain their reasoning, read, write, create models, and watch science programs on TV.
If your child asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, the best way to tackle it is to find out together. This may involve online research, watching a Youtube clip or documentary and even conducting an experiment.
Experts claim that a love of science should be instilled at home before kids start school, so don’t be afraid to start teaching them about science when they are very young with age-appropriate activities. There are many wonderful picture books about science that kids will love such as Over and Under by Kate Messner, and Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez.
Everyone benefits from hands-on activities, but children especially enjoy interactive learning. To really pique your child’s interest in science, think of tactile ways they can learn about this subject. A fun activity is to find a scientist’s coat and a magnifying glass and send them out to explore the garden. You can then help them record their observations.
A simple activity like collecting leaves or seeds and then sorting them into categories teaches children how to observe and classify.
You might want to put together a ‘science kit’ with tweezers, specimen jars, cotton balls, masking tape and goggles as well as safe everyday household items such as baking powder, food colouring, potatoes and sugar. There are a wide range of experiments kids can do at home such as making a lava lamp, potato battery or a volcano out of a lemon.
To encourage a love of science you can also:
- Attend science fairs and events at museums, especially those designed for kids.
- Subscribe to Youtube channels that present science in a fun and accessible way and watch them together.
- Choose a ‘science word of the day’ and make it a game for your child to guess what it means, providing plenty of hints and clues.
- Don’t wait for your child to ask questions. Get in touch with your own inner-child and come up with some questions of your own.
- Most importantly, don’t make it a chore. Exploring science at home with your child is not ‘homework’ but a chance to be awed and inspired by the natural world.