Tuesday, June 24, 2014
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
It is summertime and kids want to relax, explore, discover, and have fun.
When someone mentions science, most kids visualize dull textbooks, memorization, and tests – the antithesis of what children want to do during their vacation. As a result, the suggestion of summer science activities will likely be met with a series of groans rather than excitement.
The foundation of science is exploration. It is an ongoing process of discovery that allows us to link isolated observations in ways that help us understand the world and how it works. There are no facts, just theories, so science is always changing. Anyone can make discoveries that change science.
Because of the negative connotations associated with science, it is best to talk about creating, building, observing, and discovering. Children love activities that include these elements, so they can be cajoled into scientific endeavors without preconceived ideas that make it difficult for them to enjoy the experiences.
You don’t have to be a professor to get your child interested in science. Science is everywhere – in the kitchen, in the yard, in the swimming pool, at the beach, and in the woods. The web is filled with thousands of simple science activities that can be done at home without fancy equipment or extra expenses.
You can make quick sand out of corn starch and water, watch what happens when you put bleach solution on metals, feed and observe butterflies, make a model roller coaster, bake a cake, observe the night sky, or construct a balloon rocket car.
Another option is to include science activities in your day-to-day routine. We are often so caught up in getting tasks completed that we miss the interesting chemistry, physics, and biology in our kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. For example, it only takes a few minutes to conduct a simple science experiment at breakfast. Have your child prepare scrambled eggs. Ask he/she to tell you what happens when he/she beats the egg and what changes as he/she cooks it.
There are also summer camps that focus on scientific discovery. If you want to prevent a backlash, avoid the ones that are overly structured and require textbook learning. There is plenty of time for this type of study during the school year, so summer experiences should be hands-on, fun, and fluid.
Make sure you include science in your summer schedule. It should make your life more interesting and your child’s vacation more enjoyable.