Science is arguably one of the most important topics to be taught to students of any age. A strong foundation in science sets up a basic method of thought in which students can assimilate new information. Science teaches critical thinking – a crucial set of skills that applies across any other subject and makes for a strong intellect. Regardless of what field your child is most interested in, science prepares them for the real world in a way no other field can. Here are five fun ways to teach your kids all about science!
Youth are naturally curious. It’s a trait that humans developed long ago, and enables us to gather vast amounts of information to form our worldview. Science fosters curiosity, and fulfills it at the same time, offering them an explanation for how the natural world works. When your child peppers you with a barrage of questions, take them in stride and take your time to answer them. Use it as an opportunity to teach a scientific lesson or two. “Why is the sky blue?” – teach them about light, basic physics, Einstein and quantum theory, and the electromagnetic spectrum. And if they have a question that you don’t know the answer to, do not be afraid to say, “I don’t know. But why don’t we find out?” That is how science works.
Grow an Edible Herb
Teach your kids about plants and taste all at the same time! Growing an edible plant like an herb from seed is an excellent mini-science experiment that is full of teaching opportunity. Kids will naturally have lots of questions about the growing process as they watch a seed transform. After the plant is grown, lessons in senses can be taught. This is also a little lesson in self-sufficiency.
Turn a Penny Green
A lesson in chemistry, using simple white vinegar to turn a penny green is easy and simple to do. Chemical reactions are a great way to pique a child’s interest and scientific curiosity. As with any experiment, get your child to question and think about why this happen before you reveal the lesson.
Oil and Water
This is a super simple experiment that sets up a basic natural law crucial to all life: the importance of water and its ability (or not) to dissolve other substances, and what this means. The fact that oil does not mix with water provides a basis for all life in the form of oil-rich, hydrophobic (“water-fearing”) cell membranes that are able to resist being dissolved in aqueous solutions. Compare that to mixing something else, like sugar or salt, with water.
Pond Water Life
Showing a child what exists beyond what they can see is a real pleasure as they are completely taken in by the revelations behind the microscopic world. While a magnifying glass will show some creatures, a whole other world can be revealed with a microscope. There are many different types of microscopes available; get the best one you can afford.
Science is engrossing in all of its forms–life science (biology), earth science, microbiology, chemistry, and physics. Children are naturally attracted to learning about the ways the world works, so take advantage of that natural yearning for learning; and set them up on a strong scientific foundation. Who knows, maybe one day they will become a scientist that makes the world a better place for everyone!