Why children benefit from learning science, and how to teach them!

First of all, what is science and what does it even mean?

Science is the practice of studying the structure of the physical and natural world, to observe, hypothesize and test through experiments and come to a conclusion based on the results –
Whether it is true or false.

But not one truth is the result of a single experiment, it’s the result of multiple experiments done by different people/groups. When a result has been declared, someone else, preferably a competitor who doesn’t want you to be correct, will perform the experiment and if they come to the same results as you had previously declared only then can you have a scientific emergent truth.

“When you have an established scientific emergent truth, it is true whether or not you believe in it. And the sooner you understand that, the faster we can get on with the political conversations about how to solve the problems that face us.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

This is more relevant to children than you think

Children are born scientist

why children benefit from learning science

Babies and young children learn a lot through everyday playing. They rationally test hypotheses, analyze the cause and effect of their experiments, this is how children learn about the world. Through play, children develop their social skills, cognitive functions and emotional maturity.

When children are encouraged to choose their own play using their imagination and their own interests they are more likely to have a sense of well-being, independent play actually improves children’s health. 

 

Examples of things children do independently that are scientific experiments

  •  When a toddler is stacking bricks they are testing how tall they can build before the bricks fall over(or they intentionally knock them down) and what happens when the bricks hit the floor. Toddlers develop fine motor skills and early math, geometry, problem-solving, and cause and effect.
  • When your baby is putting things in their mouth, they test what different things feel like and taste like.
  • When your toddler is taking all the pots and pans out of the cupboards to strike them together, they are performing an experiment with sound.

Usually, what we do as parents is to tell them to “stop doing that, it’s too loud!”. When in fact we should be doing the opposite. Equally important, is of course to protect our children from doing dangerous things like breaking glass. Subsequently, we should be a guide as we encourage children’s instinct to explore and learn about the world they live in. Using science to teach children about the world will complement their natural curiosity and help them learn important life skills.

A few examples of important life skills your child can learn through science

five important life skills

Critical thinking

This is the ability to objectively and thoroughly evaluate information and rationally think about what to do and what to believe. Including is the ability to engage in independent and reflective thinking. It’s one of the most important life skills a child could learn, it is vital for cognitive development.

Resilience

A child who is trying to conquering difficult subjects and succeeds will feel a sense of accomplishment, this will give a child confidence that will last them throughout their entire life. It will encourage your child to try new things and won’t be afraid to do so!

Learn and improve

Children studying science will love to learn and learn to do so whether they fail or succeed! Their own natural curiosity will motivation to learn more.

Your child could become a superhero!

Scientist all around the world is constantly trying to improve our way of living. They invent new technologies that will save life’s, they will ultimately save us and our planet. Our children will be the people who solve climate change issues, cures cancer and take us to the future of space travel.

Become a better consumer

Children who learn the scientific method of questioning will have the ability to take in information that is claimed to be scientific fact and to process and evaluate the credibility of the claim. Children who learn this ability are more likely to grow up to become savvy consumers!


This why children benefit from learning science, children who learn science and what it entails will ultimately benefit more than children who do not. Even if you’re an adult it is never too late to learn science! So if you feel like you ever missed out, this is a great opportunity to learn science with your child.

This isn’t to say that you should rush your child and instruct them what to do. Research shows that encouraging our children’s play, presenting anomalies and ask the child for an explanation gives rise to scientific thinking much more effectively than giving instructions directly.

 

How do I, as a parent, teach my children about science?

Books, science kits and tools to get you and your children started

 

To get started teaching your children about science you will want to get the basics first.
Your child may not be interested in everything in science, your child should choose their own interest. So choose a subject in which your child shows great interest.
Tip: sit down with your child and talk about the different topics! Look at different products and books together that you consider buying. Consequently, you will learn more about your children’s interest.

There are four important fields of science that you should consider:

  • Biology
    Biology is the study of life and living organisms.
  • Chemistry
    Study of the properties, structure and composition of substances (elements and compounds).
  • Physics
    Physics is a branch of science that studies the nature of matter and the interactions between the universe’s fundamental constituents.
  • Maths
    Mathematics includes topics such as quantity(number theory), structure(algebra), space(geometry) and change(analysis) This sounds complicated but it’s as simple as 1+2+3.

After you and your child has had a lovely discussion about their interest in science you can finally start browsing for educational tools, books and science kits. As it can be very subjective what your child is interested in and what specifically your child needs, it is very difficult to list what is the best tools out there. Note that all products listed have been hand-picked based on reviews and popularity.

 

Lastly, when it comes to product lists like these, it is always important to do a little research of the products, read reviews etc. All the links to these products will be sending you to the original product page(Amazon.co.uk) which includes all information you will be needing before making a purchase. I’ve done this to ensure you make the best choice for your child. Without further ado, let’s check some products out! 

Or if you so choose, You can skip products and go straight to Science activities you can do with materials you have at home CLICK HERE to jump to it!

ALL PRODUCTS IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND ON AMAZON, ANY LINKS WHICH ARE CLICKED AND SUBSEQUENTLY PURCHASED MAY PROVIDE US (FUNSCIENCESTUFF.CO.UK) WITH A SMALL COMMISSION. Read More

Science kits

Science kits are a great way to get started with experiments that your children can perform. Make sure your child is supervised when using any kind of science kits designed for kids, even more fun if you join in!

Galt Toys Science Lab

View on Amazon

This kit will encourage scientific thinking while also having tons of fun. Comes with a 32-page book with 20 experiments. The kit includes things like test tubes, goggles, bouncy ball, crystals, pH scale, magnifying glass and more!

Pros:

  • highly rated
  • The brand won an award in 2019
  • encourages early STEM-learning

Cons:

  • It may be too simple or dull for some children who look for an exciting experiment

 

Explosive Experiments

View on Amazon

This is for children who are looking for a little bit more excitement, with this explosive experiments kit you can create rockets and launch it, make volcano’s that erupt and you can even make a lava lamp. With a 32-page lab book, you can make 8 total experiments. Very fun and exciting for both the parent and the child. As I mentioned before, it is recommended that you supervise your children while performing these experiments.

Pros:

  • Exiting
  • Equipment is reusable

Cons:

  • Contains materials that are classified as a safety hazard

 

There are so many different science kits out there for children and it’s hard to pick out something that is a good fit for your child specifically so if you disagree with my list or otherwise then here’s a link to GALT’s collection so you can have a look around for more. See on Amazon


Books


Don’t be afraid of buying books for your children, they will love these! Books is a great way to get a lot of information about one subject or a little of everything. This first book I’m about to show you is great for children who has a lot of questions that need to be answered. After we will be taking a look at one book that is more for adults that need to catch up on science.

 

The Big Book of Why

View on Amazon

The Big Book of Why offers lively knowledge, hands-on activities, simple recipes, crafts, and more using an engaging question-and-answer style and content grounded in a child’s immediate environment.

Questions like,

Why does popcorn pop?
Why does water turn to ice?
Why do I like candy?
Why am I special?

will satisfy your child’s burning need to know!

 

Pros:
Top-rated – reviews are overwhelmingly positive in the UK
It has engaging materials such as Games, recipes and crafts

Cons:

Some answers may be short and do not explain everything


If you are a parent and really want to commit to the education of science for your children then this book is a great fit for you. Maybe you have forgotten a lot from school or maybe you just want to learn more. Even an older child who has mastered reading could read this one.

View on Amazon

The book is called The science book: Big Ideas Simply Explained and features ideas such as how the circumference of the earth was measured in the year 240 BC or how gravity affects everything in the universe and maybe you are interested in how we measure distances in space. Get your what, who and how questions answered.

Pros:

Super accessible book, for children and for adults who need a refresher
Explanations are simple, but not too simple.

Cons:

none


Little Kids First Big Book of SpaceView on Amazon

If your child is interested in something more specific like space, this book will surely satisfy their need to know more about the planets, stars, galaxies and it has fun and short entries. Little Kids First Big Book of Space is great for early learners and it works well for beginner readers. Optionally, you can read aloud as they sit beside you listening while enjoying the well-made art and images.

Pros:

Learn more reading while learning more about space!

Cons:

American spelling

America focused, despite these cons, UK has great reviews (as of April 30 2021)


First Big Book of Dinosaurs

View on Amazon

This is for all the dinosaur lovers out there. I wish I had this book as a young child as I loved dinosaurs when I was a kid and I still do. “First Big Book of Dinosaurs” include all your favourites, from Tyrannosaurus Rex to triceratops, from ground to flying creatures and from big to small. Learn more about them and discover new ones, over 50 illustrations of dinosaurs! It even includes parent tips and a world map to introduce your kids to geography.


To conclude this list of books you can check out more from the National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books Series here. They have things like book of animals, oceans, bugs, weather and more. If this shortlist didn’t satisfy you then you may find something there your children will enjoy. 

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books Series View on Amazon

Or for more artistic children, the Science And Space Activity Book could be a great fit.

You can read more about it here: View on Amazon


Tools

Organic microscope set for children

View on Amazon

A microscope set for children who are more interested in the small in science. With up to 1200x magnification your child will have a fun and interesting journey through the microcosm. Items that include are slides with cover glasses, tweezers, a calliper, adjustable lenses, collecting plates for samples, and a storage suitcase for safekeeping. 

 

Pros:

Perfect gift!

Good value

Cons:

Some accessories are plastic


Orboot Mars

View on Amazon

if you want a little more high tech brought into your children’s educational environment then check this. It uses augmented reality technology to bring space crafts to life when you scan the Mars globe using a free app on your phone/pad. 

  • The app is compatible with iPad 5th gen & above, iPad Air all models, iPad Pro All models, iPad Mini 2 & above, iPhone 6 & above; Android 3GB RAM and above

It encourages scientific thinking and helps build problem-solving skills. In the box, you will get the globe of course, a 3D mars rover puzzle, 2 iron-on patches and a detailed help guide. I recommend this one as technology has become a big part of our lives, and your children will surely enjoy it.

Pros:

Encourages scientific thinking

Builds problem-solving skills

Cons:

None

 

ALL PRODUCTS IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND ON AMAZON, ANY LINKS WHICH ARE CLICKED AND SUBSEQUENTLY PURCHASED MAY PROVIDE US (FUNSCIENCESTUFF.CO.UK) WITH A SMALL COMMISSION.  Read More

Science activities you can do with materials you have at home

chemistry tubes

If you didn’t know, a lot of the items you have in your kitchen can be used to make some very interesting and fun experiment. Some of which are edible afterwards, some experiments even toddlers can do. here are a few inexpensive alternatives that can teach children about science and also supports the development of your children’s life skills as I mentioned previously.

Example of items you can use for fun experiments that you most likely have at home

  • Dish Soap
  • Sugar
  • Toothpicks
  • Glitter
  • Food colouring
  • Containers, Plastic bags etc
  • Drinking Straws

Sometimes you may of course end up needing to purchase material but I will try my best to recommend the most inexpensive and simultaneously fun experiments. 

Fun experiments for all children – My top 3 picks

The “Rock Candy” experiment

This is an edible experiment where you will make candy, if your children say no I’d be surprised. You will be growing sugar crystals and it will take about 1 week for the best results. So not only is there a sweet reward afterwards, but it is also a lesson in patience. I have a feeling a lot of parents would appreciate more patience haha.

Anyway, so what do I need to get started with crystal growing? Surprisingly not that complicated as it may sound.

Items you will need

  • sugar
  • water
  • Skewers
  • A jar or glass
  • A large saucepan
  • Clothespins
  • Food colouring
  • Candy flavouring

To be able to start the experiment you will need a well-made guide. I recommend following growing a jeweled rose’s tutorial.  Learn More 

 

Repel glitter with dish soap experiment

A very simple but cool experiment and basically takes no time at all. Not everyone has glitter at home as it is very annoying to clean up as it gets absolutely everywhere and seem to stick around for months even after extensive cleaning. But I’d say it’s worth it for the cool effect soap has on glitter in the water.

What you will need

  • Blue Dish Soap
  • Glitter
  • Water
  • A shallow dish

When you have water in the dish and the glitter floating on top and pour the soap into it the glitter will “magically” move away. It is actually the water molecules that carry the glitter away when you put the soap in.  

Read the tutorial by livinglifeandlearning.com

 

The Egg Drop experiment

This is a fun experiment to do, I did this when I was in primary school. Put your kid’s engineering skills to the test by challenging them to build something that will protect an egg from taking damage when dropped. 

For this experiment you actually don’t need to gather material or go purchase anything, the challenge is actually to build a contraption made from things they can only find at home. Of course, you can decide the rules yourself but this is the general idea. 

You can read more by going to buggy and buddy’s article Read More

 

Good Luck! 🙂


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I encourage you to take part in the conversation by commenting on why children benefit from learning science below. Feel free to criticize, correct me if I’ve said something that is plain false or simply leave your own opinion. 

  • What do you think we should do to encourage more science in homes?
  • What do you do to encourage scientific thinking?
  • What experiments have your kids done at home and how did it go?

If you have tips or tricks for other parents reading, drop them down below!

Feel free to use the infographic above for your own website or blog. Just make sure to include a clickable link to this article/page as a reference. Example: (from funsciencestuff.co.uk) or something similar. 

Read More – Doing at home Science Experiments for Kids. Click Here

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