Nine Ways a Parent Can Encourage an Interest in Science
Children’s attitudes to education are formed through their parents’ attitudes to it. If education rather than entertainment is made a priority, then the activities you plan together as a family will be based around that. Children will study many subjects in school, including science. Parents can help give their children a head start by encouraging science-based activities.
1. Tell Them Science Is Exciting
Some parents steer away from science because they did badly in it at school, or feel they don’t know enough. Avoid saying negative things that might dampen their enthusiasm, like "I always hated science at school." Instead, treat it like a voyage of exploration for the whole family.
2. Visit Science and Natural History Museums
Museums are a great place to start. After all, what kids don’t love dinosaurs? Some natural history museums have a planetarium attached too. It’s a great way to get them interested in exploring the stars. Most museums have a "Night at the Museum" sleepover, which could be a fun activity for the whole family. Math museums are starting to become more popular, offering games, activities and challenges that are so fun, most kids will have no idea how much they are learning.
3. Discuss Career Options
Many children talk about what they want to be when they grow up. Many might say doctor, nurse, even astronaut. Parents can remind their children they have to do well at science in order to get accepted into college for any of those careers. The same is true if they want to be a veterinarian to help sick animals. Focusing on the fact that there are a lot of opportunities if they do well in science can help them feel eager about a future doing something they really love.
4. Buy Them Educational Toys, Games and Books
Every parent has a budget. Make your money go further with quality educational toys, games and books they can really learn from. In particular, you can buy them geology sets and chemistry sets when they are old enough to be able to use them safely.
5. Choose Their TV Watching Carefully
There are many nature and science channels available on cable with a range of science and nature programs that can really inspire children. Try the Discovery channels, National Geographical channels, and PBS programs like Nature and Nova.
6. Go on Nature Walks
Nature walks can be fun if you take the time to learn more about the trees, animals and geological information about the area. Learn how to identify different trees and flowers. Take along some disposable rubber gloves and trash bags and clean up items that should be recycled as you wander along.
7. Stay Current with National and State Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Their teacher can help by providing copies of what you need to know. There are also a number of books available that support subject like math and science based on grade levels. Have your child do their homework, and then a page of their supplemental workbook every day.
8. Make the Most of the Weekends and School Holidays
Give your children research projects to do in their spare time so they are not just sitting around watching TV or playing computer games. See what their teachers have assigned, or ask them for suggestions. Have them research a favorite animal, create a diorama of its habit, and so on. The possibilities are endless.
9. Visit Great Science-Based Websites
Visit the NASA site to learn more about our solar system. Visit zoo sites to learn more about the animals and spy on them through the panda cam. Discuss the issues of captivity, conservation, destruction of habitat, and climate change.
By doing these activities, tailored to the age of your kids, you could help encourage a life-long interest in science.