The Steps of the Scientific Method for Kids - Science for Children: FreeSchool
How to Get Children Involved With Science
Getting a child interested in science may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Buying science-related toys, visiting museums, and introducing children to the natural world are all ways to increase children’s natural curiosity and pique their interest in science. By exploring the world all around them, parents and children can both develop an interest in science and learn new and exciting things.
Getting into a Scientific Frame of Mind
Encourage your child to ask questions.Curiosity is the basis for all branches of science. When your child asks a question, don’t just answer it, but try to start a discussion on the topic.Take their curiosity and build on it.
Help your child to experiment.Experiments are a great way for children to learn how to think scientifically and develop problem-solving skills. They don’t have to be elaborate; the goal is to get your child involved and to encourage them to think critically. Before the experiment, ask them what they think will happen and why. After it is complete, ask them why they think it turned out the way it did.
- For instance, you can place an ice-cube on the counter and time how long it takes to melt. Then you can place another in the refrigerator and one in the sun. Ask your child which one will last longer, and why. Encourage them to begin to think about what causes the ice-cube to melt.
Find science in the home.You don’t have to work in a laboratory to experience science with your child. Look for everyday examples and discuss the science behind the activities.
- 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 enjoy it as well.
- Encourage your child to help you bake and then discuss the chemical reaction that changes the different ingredients into a cake. If you garden, have your child help you, and point out the different plants and animals, such as insects, that you see.
- The scientific discussion should be focused on getting the child to think. You don’t need to provide a scientific lecture, instead ask questions such as, “what do you think will happen when this goes into the oven? Why?” This will encourage your child to think scientifically without them even realizing it.
Buying Scientific Toys and Books
Stimulate their interest early.Getting children interested in science can begin as early as infancy, by providing stimulating crib toys, mobiles, and activity boards. Encouraging your infant to touch and move things supports their natural curiosity and helps them to learn as they grow.
- Research proves that the earlier children are encouraged to investigate their surroundings, the more interested they are in science and the more successful they are in all areas of learning later in life.
Buy simple toys such as blocks for toddlers.Basic toys that toddlers can use in different ways are a great way to stimulate their creativity as well as their curiosity. Wooden blocks or toys like Lego Duplo allow toddlers to create and build on their own. This is a great way to develop their imagination by encouraging them to build whatever they want.
Purchase puzzles and construction toys for school-age children.As children get older, you can introduce them to more advanced construction toys such as Legos, Lincoln Logs, and Tinkertoys.
- Puzzles are another great way to encourage children to problem-solve.
- Research indicates that construction toys that encourage children to be creative and problem-solve help children to develop crucial STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills.
Buy more advanced scientific toys or tools for older children.Telescopes, microscopes, or electronic kits are a great way to make science fun. There are many of these kits designed for children aged 7 years or older. There are also intermediate and advanced sets available so your child can continue to build on the skills they learn in the basic kit.
- Match these scientific toys to your child’s interest. If they love space, purchase a telescope. If they are interested in how things work, look for an electronics kit that is designed for children so they can build their own device.
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.
- 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 astronomy.
- Check out science-related library books and read them together. Look for books that match your child’s interests. If you need some ideas for good books, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) publishes a list of children's science books for all ages.
Taking Field Trips
Visit museums.Educational sites, such as museums or science centers, are designed to educate children about science in a fun, stimulating way. These institutions will allow children to explore and participate in science while having a good time.
- If your child shows an interest in one area of science, look for a museum that includes that topic. For instance, if your child loves learning about dinosaurs, go to a museum that has fossils and dinosaur bones on display. If they are interested in space, look for an air and space museum.
- Many museums will have special kid-friendly days. These days will often have special events and tours designed to appeal to children. Look for an upcoming kid-friendly event at a museum near you.
- Many museums also offer free or reduced admission for children. Sometimes, children will get free admission on a certain day of the week, so check with the museum as you make your plans to visit.
Don’t forget about zoos or aquariums.Many children are fascinated by animals so visit the zoo and have them learn about different animals, ecosystems, and conservation.
- Many zoos and aquariums have special programs designed for children of a specific age-range that will allow the children to learn about animals in a hands-on way. Call the zoo or aquarium to learn if they have any programs that would appeal to your child.
Take a trip to the beach.The beach is not only a fun trip for your child, but a great place to explore science. Encourage your child to collect shells or look for small fish or crabs. Encourage them to think about what animals live in the ocean; perhaps even consider taking them dolphin or whale watching.
Explore forests or wildlife reserves.These are fun locations to introduce science to your child. Help your child to learn to identify local animals and plant life. Encourage your child to remain very still and quiet and listen to the sounds around them or look for animal prints (while keeping safety in mind).
- Buy a local wildlife book for children and have them check off the plants and animals that they observe.
- Give school-age children a journal to write down their observations. Encourage them to take pictures of the different animals or plants they see. Bring a pair of binoculars and let your child use them to spot animals that are far away.
Go to the park.Point out the birds or animals you see in the park or look for bugs and worms. You can even do this in your backyard. Your child may not think of these sites as “scientific”, but you can introduce them to science by exploring these areas.
- Have your child draw pictures of birds they see in your area, then help them look up what kind of bird it is in a book or online.
- Even if your child is just learning to draw, sketching a representation will help them develop their creativity and motor skills.
Using Television and Video Games
Watch television programs and movies that deal with science.These programs can either be nonfiction, such as documentaries, or fictional stories involving science. Television and movies are great ways to make science interesting to children. It is especially helpful if your child is reluctant to learn about science in more traditional ways.
- After the program, ask your child questions about what they enjoyed the most. Encourage them to think about the ways science was used in the show or movie.
- There are many different science shows for children of all ages. For preschoolers, you may want to start withSid the Science Guy(PBS),Octonauts(Disney and Netflix), orBlaze and the Monster Machines(Nickelodeon). For school-age children, check outOuter Space(Fox) orThomas Edison's Secret Lab(Netflix).
- Children who are middle-school aged or older might enjoyCosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey(Fox) orNova(PBS).SciGirls(PBS) is another science program that is aimed at tween girls.
Look for science-related apps.These are a great way for to get children to explore science without even realizing they are learning. There are computer games and apps available for all age ranges on subjects such as ocean life, animals, astronomy, chemistry, and many more scientific topics.
- Ask your child’s teacher for recommendations on educational apps. Also consider looking for computer games and apps that correspond to subjects that your child is currently learning in school.
- There are many different science apps.Seasons and Weather!andGazzili Scienceare popular apps aimed at preschoolers.How it WorksandBobo Explores Lightare interactive apps designed for school-aged children. For middle-school aged children and up, tryBioDigital Human,The Long Journey HomeorVirulent.
Play online science games.Many institutions, such as the Smithsonian or NASA, have websites designed for children that include many games. Like apps, these are a great way for children to learn while having a fun time.
- If you have recently visited a museum, check its website to see if it has any games that relate to your child’s favorite exhibit.
- If your child likes a specific game, then follow up on that subject. For instance, if your child likes a game from the NASA website, try watching TV shows about space or reading books about astronomy. Many websites with games will have a list of additional resources you can use to help your child learn more about science.
QuestionAs a kid, how can I be a scientist?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are a lot of resources available in books or online. If you know anybody who works in science (like at a university or corporate lab), you could talk to them and ask them about their experiences. Look for science clubs at your school or through local museums, and participate in science fairs and other scientific events. Ask your science teacher what classes you should take to prepare for a career in science, and most importantly, be excited about science!Thanks!
QuestionHow do I sell my science activities book to Amazon?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf your science activities book is in good condition, you may be able to sell it on Amazon. To do so, you will need to create a seller account on Amazon and follow their regulations. The wikiHow entitled "How to Sell Books on Amazon" will guide you through each step in this process.Thanks!
- 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 science, they may able to handle related toys and activities suggested for older children. If, on the other hand, they are initially indifferent about a science, you may instead want to introduce materials suggested for children slightly younger than your child.
Video: How to inspire a child's love of math and science
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