One of the goals of Family Science is to get kids more excited about science and technology. Here you can find ideas for projects in your own space, using supplies that are easy to find.
- Teach outside the classroom, such as free reading, read-aloud time, or engineering a seed getaway
- Celebrate pioneers, such as Amelia Earhart, Leo Fender, Ernö Rubik, Ben Franklin, and Christine Darden, with related engineering activities
- On hot summer days, stay cool by learning with water and bubble activities
- Nurture an appreciation for bicycles
- Use natural catastrophes to teach about natural cycles, weather patterns, safety, and emergency preparation
- Engineering is all around the home, such as seasonal change, the need for vaccines, the presence of birds, and the behaviors of gardens
- Celebrate National Library Week and Pi Day
- Keep STEM tools on hand at home: measuring tools (ruler, meter/yard stick, measuring tape, measuring cup) and observation tools (magnifying lens, binoculars)
- Take local area field trips to museums, industries, planetariums, or county fairs
Raise your expectations.
Research shows that children tend to perform to the level of the expectations placed on them by teachers, parents, and adult mentors. Set high expectations for your children and help them to accomplish their goals.
Curious adults ask questions, and kids are no different. When children ask questions, they are trying to develop models and explanations for what they see around them. This is exactly what scientists do. Encourage your child to ask questions, and don’t be afraid if you don’t know the answers. Scientists don’t know all the answers either. That’s why they investigate!
Emphasize future education.
Help your children see the value of education by showing them that you value it, too. Even if you did not complete your own education, you can still show your children that you think education is important by talking with their teachers, asking about homework, and attending school functions.
One of the fun things about science is all the neat tools and gizmos that are associated with scientific study. When doing science activities, make sure your children have plenty of materials to work with. Most supplies aren’t expensive and can be found around your home.
When a child shows interest in a topic, encourage him/her to pursue that interest as far as possible. Check out books from the library, search online (with adult help!), talk to friends, teachers, family members and neighbors about it. Help your child to build models, draw pictures or write about his/her particular interest. When one interest passes, move on to the next one!
All children need good self-esteem to be successful no matter what field of study they pursue. Eliminate any negative talk about science and math from your vocabulary and your children’s. Some examples include parents saying, “I hated math when I was a kid,” or children teasing each other about becoming a “science nerd.”
Discuss the accomplishments of “non-traditional” scientists.
Fortunately, we have more opportunities every day to expose children to scientists who come from underrepresented groups. Talk about what scientists do and point out scientists who defy stereotypes.
Connect with role models.
Children learn by example. Meeting and talking with people from a variety of backgrounds and careers opens your children’s eyes to their own potential in the future.
Visit science places.
Take your children to visit museums, science centers, zoos, botanical gardens, planetariums and nature centers. Offer to take friends and other family members, too.