When your child is born and as they grow, they have very little idea about the world around them. Teaching your child science from a young age, however, can help them learn about the world around them- why things are the way they are and how things work.
Experts, especially the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) also reveals that science learning from an early age can lay the foundation for progressive science learning throughout your child’s life.
Science can be a very technical subject and it has to be broken down really well for young children to understand. This article explores 7 practical ways to teach and get your child interested in science in early childhood education:
#1. Let Your Child Learn by Practical:
Children, especially those within the ages of 3 and 8, learn better from practical.
Their young minds are not yet able to grasp abstract and thoughts so the best way that they can learn about the world around them and how things work is to allow them to experience things through their senses- let them touch, hear, taste, smell and see things in the world around them.
Children are very curious, and enjoy experimenting so teaching science through practical helps them to develop curiosity and love for science in early childhood.
#2. Indulge Their Curiosity:
Another way to teach science to your young child is by answering their many questions. Children are naturally very curious so they’ll have a lot of questions for you as they grow.
You must never get tired of answering their questions, and you must avoid shutting them down no matter how weird or adult-esque their questions are. Make it a goal to help them understand things around their environment by encouraging them to ask questions, giving them answers that they understand, and providing more resources for them to explore and discover more answers by themselves.
#3. Involve Your Child in Daily Tasks and Routines:
You can involve your children in gardening, tree planting, animal rearing, cooking, and other science-related tasks.
Give them little assignments and let them assist in whatever little way. For instance, you can allow your child to help with planting flowers, and maybe even give them their own flower vase where they can plant and nurture things.
You can also involve them in other simple activities- there are hundreds of activity ideas on the internet but some good ones to use include:
- Animal Adaptation Matching Card Game: You can hand 2 sets of cards to your child with one set of cards printed with the pictures and names of an animal, and the other set with descriptions of how the animals adapt to their environment.
Your child will now have to match each animal to its adaptation. You can get pre-made cards for children in toy stores.
- Have Your Child Keep a Nature Journal: You can have them pick an animal species or a plant species native to your area and have them record any observations they made about the plant or animal over a few weeks.
#4. Get Your Child to Attend Science Fair:
Science fairs can help your child to see the interesting part of science and can motivate them to start exploring new ideas and concepts of their own.
Getting them to participate in science fairs as soon as they old enough to start creating projects of their own is also a very good idea.
#5. Buy Science Themed Toys:
Children love toys and you can use them to teach them science and get them interested in science.
There are a lot of science-themed toys for different age grades. Some really good ones include:
- Terraforming Mars: If you want to teach your child about outer space and the planetary system, this is one game that you would find very helpful.
- Evolution: Evolution is a game that teaches your child about different species and how they survive and adapt within the ecosystem.
- Board games: There are board games like the Bird Bingo and Bug Bingo which teach your children about the different names and species of birds and bugs, and Valence and Chemistry Fluxx, which are both card games that teach your child about chemistry.
- Cytosis: Cytosis is another board game that teaches your child biology by mimicking the way the human cells operate and function. It’s a really fun way to teach your child how their bodies function.
- Science Subscription Programs: You can sign up for science monthly subscription programs for your child. Your child gets a box full of journals, science experiments to try, and other learning tools according to their age grade.
Some subscription programs include Kiwi Crates and Little Passports: Science Expeditions.
These are just a few examples of science-themed toys and programs that can help your child integrate science learning with fun.
#6. Encourage Their Science –related Hobbies:
Some children develop an interest in science very early even without any influence or motivation. Some of these children are self-motivated and you’ll generally see them building stuff, trying to take stuff apart to see what’s inside, building things and trying out experiments.
It can sometimes be very inconvenient for parents because they end up touching things we don’t want them to touch or destroying things especially when they are still very young but shutting these hobbies down may kill their love for experimentation and curiosity for science.
What you should is to monitor them, provide them with their own tools, guide them and show them better ways to explore their hobbies without being destructive.
#7. Use Resources at Home to Teach Science:
If you can’t afford expensive science projects and toys, you can still use some resources that you have at home to teach your child science.
For instance, you can teach your child how water moves up a plant’s stem using celery, food, water, and coloring.
Just put the celery stalk in water with food coloring in it. Your child would be able to see how the colored water travels through the celery stalk and how the celery stalk draws water up from the roots like a straw.