Education: How To Get Your Child Excited About Science

parentingages and stages

It was early on in my childhood that I discovered I was one of the "right-brained" folks. I excelled in my music classes and was a great reader of emotions. I had a hard time making up my mind but I was fun and witty. When it came time for mandatory math and science classes in middle and high school, well... I considered those classes to be too hard. All too often, I would look at a textbook with my eyes glossed over and hope for the best on my tests.

Today, February 28, is National Science Day. Celebrated in India each year on this day, it marks the discovery of the Raman effect by Indian physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman in 1928. For his discovery, Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930. While I am not an educator (or physicist) by profession, my enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge in the areas which I am not as skilled should be ever-present in the life I am sharing with my children. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) believes the involvement of parents and other caregivers in their children’s learning is crucial to their children’s interest in and ability to learn science, and I intend on instilling that conviction in my family.

Picture of kids excited about science

How To Encourage Your Child to be Excited About Science

What's the first step in encouraging your child to be excited about science? Try any of these age-appropriate tips:

Use play-based science activities for your early learners.

  • Create an ant farm with your kids. Living things are fascinating, especially when they live in groups like ants.
  • Learn how flowers drink. Put fresh cut flowers or celery in water with food coloring. Leave overnight to find out how plants drink. Can you see where the colored water has gone?
  • Make a "mystery box." Children love to touch. This activity teaches them to use all of their senses to explore their world.

Make something with your elementary-aged kids.

  • Grow rock candy. Have you seen this in stores? Make it yourself with sugar and water.
  • Make a Mentos and diet soda eruption. Remember the baking soda volcano you made as a kid? This one's more powerful. It's messy, so you better set it up outside.
  • Model the nervous system. Learn to make a neuron and brain using clay, playdough, styrofoam, recyclables, food or anything else you can get your hands on.

Explore the interests of your teen(s).

  • Learn about the strange stuff in space. How much do you know about white dwarfs, supernovas, gravitational lensing and black holes?
  • Practice your crime scene investigation skills with forensic science starters.
  • Check out The Comic Book Periodic Table. Click on an element to see a list of comic book pages involving that element. Had this been a resource for me as a teen, I might have been more inclined to memorize the periodic table.
Research shows that when parents play an active role, their children achieve greater success as learners, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parents’ own level of education.

Could you use more ideas?

 What are you doing with your kids to encourage them to be excited about science?

Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.

picture of Desiree AllenDesiree Allen is a thirty-something single parent with two children. A native of Denver, Colorado, she lived there until 2009, when she moved across the country to northern New Jersey with her kids. She is doing her best to avoid ‘picking up’ a Jersey accent, but she’s not making promises that she won’t eventually start sounding like some of her new friends. You can find her blogging at Writing to Sanity and tweeting @writingtosanity.

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