How To Help Your Kids Love Science
December 19, 2008
One of the toughest things to learn is how to enjoy learning. That sounds a little ridiculous but it’s very true.
Children begin to become interested in learning at a very young age. By the time most people are only 4 years old they are discovering more and more about the things they are interested in. So how do we encourage this behavior? How do we help our children want to learn and develop a desire for knowledge?
They only way to help children stay interested in learning is to make learning something they want to do. As with most successful child-learning-support techniques it involves YOU the parent/teacher. It’s really quite simple!
Children learn best by doing things, whatever they are. By learning from your example and from hands-on experience we get a real example of how things work. Setting the precedent that you want to learn is the first step.
When you are picking an activity to do with your children try to let them pick an activity. Letting them pick increases your chances of keeping them focused through the whole task and shows them that they can get excited about things they’re learning and that you can learn even from fun things.
Have them choose ahead of time so you can prepare, or have several activities prepared and let them choose from those. Even if they don’t like all of the choices at least they get to choose, a symptom of which they will subtly learn responsibility for their own choices.
If your kids are into sports, teach them about Physics. Sports where you hit a ball like Baseball, Cricket, Tennis, and Golf deal with many Physical concepts. You could discuss how the speed and spin of the ball effects the game, or how the angle you hit the ball, or the bounce as the ball hits the turf effect the game. Professional baseball players have many different formulas for getting a Triple Play! Formulas in themselves are scientific.
All sports can be a fantastic lesson in physiology! Studying how our bodies work is vital to athletes and trainers alike. Everything from studying how certain muscles move to better understand how to train a certain movement like a throw or a jump, to how your body uses food for fuel and how your pulmonary system works to keep you oxygenated during vigorous activity, it’s all science!
Just going for a walk in your neighborhood can become a lesson in science. Playground equipment can help teach physical concepts. You can talk about the fulcrum in a see saw, or how swings work by shifting your weight. The slide is a lesson in inertia and friction and “monkey bars” are full of opportunities for studying gravity and the wonders of muscles in our body.
While you are at the park take some time to notice any wildlife around you. Birds and other animals can become a biology lesson. Ask your kids to attempt to identify all the animals you see. Maybe you could have them make note of how many different animals they noticed and any interesting behaviors they observed in a field journal. You can also do this with flowers and trees.
Letting your kids help you cook dinner is the perfect time to discuss science. Talk about the equipment you are using, how the temperature affects your recipe, how the ingredients interact. Explain how water boils, how evaporation occurs to thicken your sauce or how baking soda and yeast help to make bread rise.
There are also many safety issues that can be discussed in the kitchen, and many of those directly relate to working in a laboratory when your kids are older. Safety when dealing with heat, boiling liquids, and cross contamination are all things they can learn about at home with you and apply in class.
Science is all around us. Cooking is chemistry, carpentry is engineering, gardening is botany with a touch of geology. Even the arts, especially music, involve science and math. No violin or electric guitar could make a sound without physics.
So many everyday things can be approached from a scientific stance. You can take any subject that your children are interested in and show them it can be fun to learn!
About the Author:
Sara Jones was a fine student but science was a source of frustration she didn’t want her kids to suffer. She met Rick and Amanda Birmingham and realized their grasp of everyday science was the secret to making science fun. To learn more about the solution to science visit Super Fun Science.