We are frequently told to “follow the science” in many situations, from healthcare to environmental issues. But to teach our children to trust the science, we must teach them to understand and appreciate science.
Innate curiosity is the basis of most scientific discoveries. As children learn more about the world around them, it is scientific theories that typically provide them with the information that they need to better understand their worlds. Studying these theories teaches children critical thinking skills that are essential to developing their intellect.
Science impacts all aspects of daily life, from the food we eat to the air we breathe to the way we get from one place to another. To engage children and help them to develop an interest in science, we need to point out scientific influences from the time that they are very young. Helping children develop an interest in science, we teach them to become keen observers who can ask relevant questions and make informed predictions.
Here are 5 ways to encourage children to become science-minded:
- Encourage children to explore. Whether we are taking a walk in the park or cooking a meal, there is science all around us. Talk to children about leaves changing colors and combining ingredients to create different foods. Encourage them to mix and match ingredients, to collect leaves that have not yet changed colors and compare them to those that have changed, discussing the breakdown of chlorophyll. Make sure that children feel comfortable asking questions, and that they are aware of the nuances of what is happening around them. If you don’t know the answer to a question, encourage children to research that answer, which reinforces the importance of the learning process.
- Get messy. Dig in the dirt, play with soap suds, and make play dough. Give children the opportunity to immerse themselves in creating and discovering new things. This helps to encourage children to ask questions and make connections. It also leads to children conducting basic experiments, learning new things through play and creation.
- Watch sci-fi movies and read science fiction. Help to stimulate childrens’ imaginations by showing them worlds that have yet to be explored and inventions that have yet to be created. Common Sense Media has a great list of child-appropriate sci-fi flicks that you can enjoy with your children. And when the movie is over, encourage your children to pick up a science fiction book, so that they can visualize alternate worlds. Have them draw pictures or write stories about what they’ve discovered in these movies and stories. This will motivate them to consider what they can create and discover and will make them more aware of the potential for change based on scientific discoveries.
- Leverage technology. Turn childrens’ love of technology into a scientific exploration. Install apps and games that are science-focused and encourage children to think scientifically. Children can learn to build robots, code, explore the solar system, and more. Take what they learn online offline. If they liked building robots, buy building sets so that they can create prototypes of their online robots. If they enjoyed learning about the solar system, invest in a telescope and go star-gazing.
- Visit museums, nature centers, and zoos. Surrounding children with immersive experiences will encourage them to think, question, and appreciate the science around them. Give them opportunities to touch, feel, hold, and decipher unfamiliar objects and beings. These experiences will further spark children’s imaginations.
By raising awareness of the world around them, by encouraging critical thinking, we are teaching children to appreciate the science around them. As they learn to better understand their world, they will be able to question, discover, and evaluate the value of scientific discoveries. They will learn the importance of following the science.
As your children become immersed in science classes, count on GAMECHANGER to connect your children to a tutor who will inspire them to follow the science.