How to Get Children Involved With Science

Many parents are apprehensive about getting their children involved with science because they think they need to be scientists themselves. Although scientists have gathered a large body of facts, they do so by making observations and performing experiments, which requires curiosity, something most children have in abundance. Getting children interested in science begins with stimulating their curiosity and directing it. Here are ways to do just that.


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    Stimulate their curiosity early. Interesting children in science can begin as early as infancy, by providing stimulating crib toys, such as mobiles and activity boards. Giving them the chance to touch and then move things will encourage their curiosity about things.
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    Provide stimulating activities that involve the child. Visits to the park, the zoo, local museums, the airport, and drives to more distant locations such as lakes, swamps, and the ocean are all good ways to stimulate your child's interest in his or her environment. You don't have to go outside the house to provide stimulating activities, however; you can stimulate your child's curiosity by pointing out certain things around the house.
    • When gardening, have your child help you. You can point out the various flowers and plants, as well as worms, caterpillars, and insects.
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    • When you drain water from your kitchen or bathroom sink, let your child watch the water and notice how it swirls as it goes down the drain.
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    Choose a variety of educational toys. Toys that children can do a number of things with are the best kinds of toys to provide to stimulate their curiosity and creativity. Simple toys such as blocks are appropriate for very young children; as they get older, you can introduce them to simple jigsaw puzzles and construction toys such as Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, and Legos, then follow with toys related to their particular science interests, such as a telescope, microscope, or electronics kit.
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    Share in your child's science interests as they develop. When your child shows an interest in a particular science, take the time to learn something about it yourself. If your child becomes interested in dinosaurs, read about dinosaurs yourself so you can talk about velociraptors and stegosauruses. If your child takes an interest in astronomy, visit the local planetarium or astronomy club with him or her.
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    Share your own science interests, as well. If you have a science-related passion of your own, share it with your child. If you work in a science lab, arrange for your child to visit you at work, either alone or with the rest of his or her class. If you keep an aquarium, let your child help feed the fish. Present your interest in a way that gets your child involved, and your child may learn to like it, too.
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    Look for opportunities to teach your child science. Build on the related interests your child has developed. If your child asks about certain types of flowers, use the opportunity to talk about seeds and bulbs and encourage him or her to plant some and watch the flowers grow. If your child notices how the moon is brighter one night than the next, spend the next month observing the moon's phases with him or her. If your child likes to cook, point out how sugar melts into syrup or how vinegar makes milk curdle.
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    Support your child's interests with age-appropriate books. Good science books should present accurate information in an entertaining manner with appropriate language, sufficient pictures, and charts. Small children will be happier with thinner books with mostly pictures, while older children can handle thicker, more detailed books. If you can't afford to buy many books, you can check them out of the local public library; your librarian can help you select books appropriate for your child.
    • Look for books with as recent a copyright date as possible, particularly in those sciences where new discoveries seem to be made frequently, such as in astronomy.
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    • Many recent books include a list of websites as further reading sources and include pictures that can be found on those websites.
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    Use the media to your advantage. Point out newspaper and magazine articles and television news stories that mention science, particularly those sciences your child is interested in. Watch television programs and movies that deal with science, in either a real or fictional setting, and ask afterward what interested him or her most. Look for science-related computer programs and games.
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    Make time for discussion. Talking about a science-related activity with your child � before, during, or afterward � will help your child think about what he or she is learning. Discussion should be focused more on getting the child to think, not explaining a particular scientific concept to the child.
    • In addition to talking during the outing or activity, a good place to talk is at the dinner table. Studies have shown that families who eat dinner together in an environment that promotes open conversation are more likely to have children who do well in school and go on to college.
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  • Use the age guidelines for science-related toys and activities as general rather than absolute guidelines. If your child exhibits a strong interest in a particular science, he or she may able to handle related toys and activities suggested for older children. If, on the other hand, he or she is initially indifferent about a particular science, you may instead want to introduce materials suggested for children slightly younger than your child.


  • Don't force your child into a particular science activity. If he or she doesn't seem interested, try something else. Your child may still develop an interest in that activity at a later time.

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Categories: Science for Kids