MaryAnne from Mama Smiles is here today to talk about raising scientists – a topic close to my heart since I believe science literacy is important for everyone. Incorporating science into our daily lives is easier than you think. Read on to find out what MaryAnne has to say about the topic. Be sure to check out Mama Smiles for more great parenting posts and kids’ activities.
All children are born scientists! Learning to walk, talk, and eat are all scientific jobs, and babies do an incredible job of making observations, testing hypotheses, and adjusting their behavior based on their findings. Here are five fun ways to help your children hone their scientific thinking as they grow older!
1) Make Collections
Kids love to make collections – of toys and out in nature! Whether they are sorting dirt, sticks, and grass, organizing rocks, or digging through their LEGO collection, your kids are practicing classification and learning about the importance of observation and attention to detail!
2) Use Your Kitchen
Kitchens are the first scientific laboratories your kids will see! Kitchens are full of science, from the biology of yeast making pizza dough rise to growing salt crystals (sugar crystals are fun too, but a little tougher to make work) and learning about starch! In the kitchen, kids can learn about making measurements, and they can experiment with how tweaking a recipe changes the end result. Have them make a hypothesis about what the result will be before you make the change!
3) Get Visual
Visual experiments are very intuitive for young children! This starch experiment is a very visual kitchen science experiment, but kids can learn an awful lot from something as simple as adding food coloring to water.
4) Invest in Scientific Tools
If you can, invest in real scientific tools! We started off with a solid magnifying glass, which we have used for all sorts of explorations (like this camouflage exercise), and then we moved on to a real microscope! I find that most kids are able to use real science tools, provided close adult supervision and careful instruction about how to use the tool. Remember that there are plenty of real science tools lying around your house – rulers, measuring cups, and scales for starters!
5) Stay Curious!
Young children especially often model their reactions to the world off of what they see their parents doing. If you want to raise a scientist, stay curious yourself! Kids love to ask parents questions, and your responses can feed or suffocate their scientific instincts! It’s easy and fun to find answers to many questions in today’s world of Google and Wikipedia! See if you can turn their questions into an experiment, like this fun weather around the world activity that we enjoyed!
How do you encourage your children to be little scientists?
MaryAnne lives in the Bay Area, California with her husband and their four children. An educator and researcher turned mother raising four children (born 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2012), she blogs at Mama Smiles about crafts, outings, and educational activities that her family enjoys. Mary Anne has a Masters degree in education and a Ph.D. in medicine. Find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.