6 Ways to Get Your Kid Psyched for Science
You know what I don’t get? How being a science geek (or any type of geek, for that matter) is supposed to be a bad thing. I’ve you’ve ever had the pleasure of observing the intricacies of nature, creating and proving your own theories, performing insane experiments with a bunch of mysterious liquids and using that noggin to it’s fullest potential, you know that nerding out to science TOTALLY ROCKS.
So how do you get your kid to like science? Right now, all they’re interested in are those darn smartphones with their silly apps and even sillier way of talking (what does it mean to have your eyebrows “on fleek” anyway??) Wait a second– that’s it! You can use technology to pique their interest. With fun apps websites, your kid will dive into the world of science in no time!
Say you’re headed to the zoo this weekend. Go to the zoo’s website (some have live cams) and find out what animals the kids want to see, and choose some of their favorites to further investigate things like their eating habits, how they care for their young, how big they grow or how fast they can run. Check out National Geographic Kids to get the scoop.
Once you’re on the way to the zoo, ask the kids what animals, birds or fish their most excited to see, and why. Maybe they want to see a penguin dive or an elephant give himself a shower. While touring the exhibits ask more questions like, “Why do you think monkeys like to groom each other?” Or “I see some animals carry their babies like I carried you, while others carry babies in their mouths or in a pouch; why do you think that is?”
It’s not quiz time with a right or wrong answer, but one that invites them to process new information and promote critical thinking skills.
Balance Media Surfing
Leave room for the Discovery Channel. Awesome info on technology or the human body deserve as much applause as a touchdown or goal.
YouTube Kids is a free mobile app for iOS, Android or watch enjoy it on a bigger screen with the Apple TV. No worries about inappropriate content or frightening subject matter. Check out Whiz Kidz Science for a science fair kind of feel. Household items are used to conduct fun and engaging experiments. Ted Ed uses our kid’s short attention span to their advantage by creating short videos that breaks down science and math using fun animation.
Involve the Senses
Kids are naturally curious, so tap into all of their senses by introducing them to gardening. It can be just a few potted plants or a full fledge plot in your backyard. They’ll love to get their hands dirty, smell the flowers, herbs and soil. Bonus: There are numerous health benefits to digging in the dirt.
Pretty flowers or giant red tomatoes and purple potatoes will be visually stimulating. Not to mention the actual fun of tasting the fresh veggies. Teaching them about watering and space planting involve math and planning skills. As the plants grow and harvest time rolls around, you can start identifying which plant part each veggie represents. For example, kids may be surprised that broccoli is actually a flower-type plant. Check out Kids Gardening for more ideas.
Use Big Words
If you were outside at night watching the fireflies fluttering about, you would probably use simple words like “glowing“ to describe the light they produce. But if you do a little homework yourself first and explain how a firefly produces light, you can use the scientific word, bioluminescence.
Your kiddo is then exposed to learning and using scientific terminology, and will be probably be eager to learn more and gain the confidence to share it with their peers and teachers. If you have 18 minutes or less, Ted offers powerful and engrossing talks by experts in their field to inspire you and your kids.
You Don’t Have to Compete with Technology
Instead of thinking of ways for kids to put away their devices and find something else to do, compromise and use the devices to entice them to enjoy the outdoors.
Apps like Plum's Photo Hunt get kids off the sofa and into the backyard with their device to complete assigned photo missions. For nighttime fun, head out with your budding astronomers for stargazing, using the app The Night Sky. Loaded with a galaxy of information, it also boosts a geo-tracking feature to show you the stars and planets above your head.
Help your kids keep these experiences alive by buying them a colorful journal. They can share their drawings, observations and even the feelings they experienced while learning about science.
An app like Wonder Diary is an excellent app for making multimedia diary entries. Kids can add photos, sound recordings, and their locations, and the entries can be printed or shared via email. It’s a wonderful way for distant grandparents to share in their grandkids daily lives too.
How are you planning on getting your kids psyched for science? Share your ideas with us!