Kate is a homeschooling mom of four kids, ranging in age from six to 17.
Parents can help give their children a head start in developing a life-long interest in science by encouraging fun and interesting science-based activities. Here are 7 suggestions for ways to make learning about science fun.
1. Show Them Science is Exciting
Some parents steer away from science because they did poorly in it at school, or feel they don't know enough. Even if you didn't really enjoy science classes, try not to project your feelings towards your kids.
Avoid saying negative things that might dampen your kids' enthusiasm, like "I always hated science at school." Instead, try to show them the fun and exciting aspects of science and treat it like a voyage of exploration for the whole family.
2. Visit Science and Natural History Museums
Museums are a great place to visit to encourage kids' interest in science. Whether you visit natural history museums, childrens' museums or science museums, they're all filled with science lessons that are meant to make learning fun.
Some natural history museums have a planetarium attached too, which is a fantastic way to get them interested in astronomy.
Many museums have "Night at the Museum" sleepover events, which can be a fun activity for the whole family.
Math museums are starting to become more popular, offering games, activities and challenges that are so fun, most kids will have no idea how much they are learning.
3. Discuss Career Options
Many children talk about what they want to be when they grow up. Many might say doctor, nurse, even astronaut. Parents can remind their children they have to do well at science in order to get accepted into college for any of those careers.
The same is true if they want to be a veterinarian to help sick animals. Focusing on the fact that there are a lot of opportunities if they do well in science can help them feel eager about a future doing something they really love.
4. Buy Them Educational Toys, Games and Books
Every parent has a budget. Make your money go further with quality educational toys, games and books they can really learn from.
Some educational toys and games that help kids learn about science include:
- chemistry sets
- robot building kits
- geology kits
- snap circuits kits
- microscopes and telescopes
5. Choose Their TV Watching Carefully
There are many nature and science channels available on cable with a range of science and nature programs that can really inspire children.
Try the Discovery channels, National Geographical channels, and PBS programs like Nature and Nova.
6. Go On Nature Walks
Nature walks can be fun and educational if you take the time to learn more about the trees, animals and geological information about the area. Learn how to identify different trees and flowers.
Take along some disposable rubber gloves and trash bags and clean up items that should be recycled as you wander along. This is a perfect time to discuss conservation issues.
7. Visit High Quality Science Based Websites
Most kids love using the internet these days. Help them find interesting and educational websites to learn about science.
Visit the student section of the NASA website to learn more about our solar system, astronomy and space exploration.
Find simple science experiments kids can do at home on the Bill Nye (the Science Guy) website.
Most science museums have some great educational resources and activities on their websites. The Exploratorium (a science museum in San Francisco) is one example of a site that has tons of interesting activities and resources to help kids learn about science in a fun way.
On the National Geographic Kids website, kids can learn about animals and our planet through kid-friendly articles, games, quizzes and videos.
The National Geographic Family website is a great resource for parents, sharing tips and activities for science-based learning.
You can also visit zoo websites to learn more about the animals and watch them through the pandacam. Discuss the issues of captivity, conservation, destruction of habitat, and climate change.
Not only does an understanding and appreciation of science enrich your childrens' lives, it could be very important in the future when they look for a job.
By doing these activities, tailored to the age of your kids, you can help encourage their life-long interest in science.