Thursday, July 18, 2013

Encouraging Science Exploration

There’s a lot in the world that is unknown to kids, nature, space and more importantly the sciences.  This doesn’t keep them from imagining, exploring, observing and asking questions.  Explaining science to kids seems intimidating but it doesn’t need to be.  Teaching your kid about science can be done in small tasks and they can have fun while learning about science too.

Kids are always willing to ask questions and learn.  They’re eager to explore and understand the world around them; encourage their curiosity.  Ask them “what” questions about their surroundings and daily life.  What happens to the grass when it rains?  What is faster, walking or running?  Asking “what” questions cause children to make observations.

Encourage kids to problem solve by answering their own questions.  For instance, have the kids observe the stars on a clear night.  Help them understand that stars are like our sun but they’re very far away.  By using a concept that kids already understand to teach a new concept you are helping them make connections.  The next time there is a cloudy night, have them problem solve as to why the stars are “missing”.  Even if they’re wrong, they’re learning to question things and then use logic, knowledge and reason to come to a conclusion based on what they know.  

Science can be physical too.  Kids can learn about science while having fun being active.  For instance, children can learn about their body and physics while kicking a ball and not even realize that they’re learning by doing.  They learn that in order to move their leg and foot to kick, they have to use their knee.  By using their foot to kick the ball they learn that the ball requires a force to make it move.  Kids are understanding science without even knowing that they’re interacting with science.

Though science seems complicated and full of long detailed explanations, it can be simplified to help kids understand.  Science can be observing and experimenting, making predictions, sharing discoveries, asking questions and wondering how things work.  It can be solving problems, designing, creating and building things that work.  It takes small activities and questions to help kids understand and learn about science.

If you’re looking to bring more science into your child’s life, there are some upcoming events at the museum full of science activities.

PBS Science
Friday, July 19
Have fun with Ruff Ruffman, host of FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman and Curious George on PBS, and try some fun, hands-on science experiments inspired by his show.

Birds of Prey
Friday, August 2 at 10am
Meet and learn about hawks, owls and vultures in this program presented by New England Reptile and Raptor. Their goal is to dispel myths and teach kids scientific facts about wildlife.  NE Reptile and Raptor use live reptiles and birds of prey for illustrative purposes to focus on educating children about reptiles and birds and their biology, physiology, and function in the ecosystem.

For more information on events that involve science click here.  For some more science fun stop by the FECTH! Lab and you might find a fun experimenting waiting!

Websites that you can go to for science activities to do at home with everyday items are Curious George or Peep and the Big Wide World if your child is pre-school age and FETCH! or Zoom if your child is older.

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