Young children are natural scientists; they ask a lot of questions, they love to explore new things. But how do you continue to foster and expand their natural curiosity? Children might see science as something that they have to do in school, but how do you keep them interested in the subject at home? You can make it fun with nature hikes and games that naturally spark their interest.
There are many ways in which you can ignite scientific process thinking in your child. Here are just a few.
Camps are a great way for your children to go out and meet other kids with the same interests. Science camps provide a hands-on approach to science that makes it fun. Your child might fret at the thought of having to attend such a camp, but upon their return, they will talk your ear off about the people they met, the friends they made and all of the cool science they got to participate in. Most science camps are in rural areas with lots of space to safely explore and take part in nature hikes and games.
If you have no idea how or where to find a science camp in your area, a quick Google search is sure to provide you with answers. Here is a sample of summer science camps to give you an idea of what is available;
Science Buddies. Summer science camps offer students exciting and innovative ways to get hands-on experience with important science, technology, and engineering (STEM) concepts
ID Tech STEM-based camps for students 7-18
Get a Microscope
Set up a microscope on the kitchen table and then have your children collect samples from streams, ponds, plants and other organic materials and have a look at them through the microscope. They will be amazed at what they find.
After viewing a variety of objects, have a discussion about the things they saw under the microscope. Ask them about how these things move around or what they think they may eat or how long they live. You could discuss the environmental factors that they think may be conducive to their survival.
Standard microscopes are dropping in price, making them affordable. Here is a link to one that I found on the internet
Go to the Museum
Most major cities have a science center or natural museum, many have both and they are a wonderful way to spend the day with your kids. These types of museums have a strong focus on paleontology, geology, and ecology and cover a wide range of science subjects.
You might be lucky enough to live near a museum that offers an IMAX theater so you can catch a science documentary. These types of museums often feature interactive displays geared towards both kids and adults, so you will have fun too.
Nature Hikes and Games
Taking a hike through nature provides a wonderful opportunity to discuss science with your kids. There is a wide range of subjects you could talk about including local geology, predator/prey relationships, and animal habitats.
On the hike, pointing out interesting things you will see such as different types of plants, trees and wildlife. Bring along a camera so you can take pictures to study and identify what you see when you get back home. You can even bring along a magnifying glass to take a closer look at what you find on your nature hike. I found a list of Apps for identifying nature
Here are some suggestions for insect identifier apps from igamemon.com
Alternatively, search for board games and games online that you can play. There are also monthly subscriptions to boost science skills and scientific thinking Science Subscription Box
So as you can see, there are plenty of ways to keep your kids interested in science. If you can think of others, please let us know on our Facebook page.