Creating curiosity about science doesn’t necessarily need to include test tubes and beakers. Children can learn important scientific principles while gaining insights into their world through experience and questioning. As you offer your kids the following opportunities, encourage them to ask questions and share their opinions about what they see, do, feel, taste, or smell and why they think things happen as they do.
Experiment Around the House
Science involves observation, trial, error, and repetition. It’s easy to conduct scientific experiments around the house because you’re there anyway. Observe and photograph how a tree changes with the seasons. Make a “firsts journal” documenting the first red or yellow leaf, the first snowfall, and the first sighting of each bird type. Even making a cake is a science project that involves measurement, comparison of techniques, and observation of what happens when a key ingredient is left out or used differently. If you want to conduct scientifically accurate experiments, be sure to buy distilled water to use. Distilled water is pure water, which contains no minerals, so will assure that any experiment is accurate. If you plan on doing a lot of home experimentation, consider science tables. They make it easy to perform all kinds of experiments.
Sign Them Up for a Summer Camp
Seek out kids’ STEM summer camps in your area that provide the traditional fun and excitement of a camp experience along with experiments and activities designed to encourage scientific and mathematical exploration. You can probably find several options near you, and your child may be able to attend more than one. Look for kids’ STEM summer camps that provide hands-on experiments, use proven teaching methods, and have good online reviews. Your child’s school may also be able to recommend a good choice.
Explore Your Community
A nature walk offers an amazing chance for discovery, especially for children who don’t have many opportunities to get outside. Some parks and botanical gardens have signs and tactile displays along the way that are designed for children. You may find free programs about science at art museums, historic villages, and other local attractions. Just remember that you don’t need to attend a program or read every sign to inspire discovery. Forcing your kids’ attention when they’re not interested or tired could actually diminish their scientific curiosity in the future.
Encourage Reading About Science
Books about science can open the door to discoveries that may not be possible at home or a camp. Picture books for young children can create a sense of wonder that will help them enjoy science as they grow. Books for older children may include specific instructions on supervised experiments your child can conduct. Books can also teach children how science impacts regions and cultures they may not be able to visit.
You don’t need a lot of time or special equipment to spark curiosity and promote discovery. Camps, programs, local outdoor spaces, and books are valuable resources that help children integrate science into their lives, and a sense of wonder is something you can nurture at home too. Any free moment is a chance to light up your child’s eyes with the joy, excitement, and awe of science.