There are thousands of articles that give you Science activities to do with young children - most of them assume that you have the patience, time and have had enough sleep to function.
So for this first Blog of the series, I want to briefly talk about how to integrate a Science attitude into your daily parenting - a few ideas for those of us whose houses will never look like those Pinterest pages.
1. Kids ask questions. SO MANY QUESTIONS! It’s hard to realise that questions are a good sign when you’re just trying to get a few minutes to shower or have that 5th cup of coffee - but questions mean curiosity and encouraging curiosity creates; smart, kind, critical thinkers. Our future Scientists!
It’s so easy to squash this natural curiosity without even realising it. And believe me, it can be squashed - just ask a 16 year old what they think of Science! That enthusiasm for exploring and asking questions about the world can be dampened, and it is difficult to revive once lost.
Make an effort to explain things to your kids. It does take time, but it doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes to encourage discussion about our world.
“Hey love, see this little bin we pop our scraps in? Lets go take it to our compost bin. Do you know why we do this every day?”
“See this steam coming up from the kettle? Did you know it’s made from water?”
“Where do you think the water from your bath came from?”
2. If you don’t know EVERYTHING (pft!), then admit it. Parents don’t have to be all-knowing beings. It’s so important to show your kids that when you don’t know something, you can research to find out about it. Even if you’re just grabbing your phone, asking Google and saying “I actually don’t know honey, let’s find out!” - it’s so important to know that adults love learning too.
3. Science really is EVERYWHERE. If you begin looking for it, you’ll find chances to encourage your kids in thinking and exploring their world - without spending hours setting up specific activities. Just like exercise, sometimes incidental Science can make a huge difference.
Geni McCallum is the Marketing Manager and Community Educator for Science Alive! She lives in Christchurch with her partner, step-daughter and cat.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Science Alive!