Kids are naturally curious, which makes them natural scientists. Driven to learn about the world around them, children constantly investigate how things work much like scientists do, asking questions at every turn. By harnessing this enthusiasm for scientific discovery in early childhood, educators and caregivers can help young minds grow stronger and build healthy pathways for learning.
Why Are Hands-On Science Experiments Important for Young People?
Students tend to learn best when they’re involved somehow in the process. Whether they’re asking questions as part of a discussion or sharing their interests to help with choosing subjects to investigate, when kids get involved or engage their senses, they learn more effectively. Hands-on science activities for kids give them opportunities to engage multiple senses and to learn by doing. Classroom science experiments encourage kids to do things: look, listen, touch, smell, try, question, observe, discover. This kind of work enhances critical thinking skills and teaches students to think like scientists.
What Are the Benefits of Teaching Science to Children?
Giving young students opportunities for scientific discovery can be enormously beneficial in many ways. It can build a love of science that can last a lifetime and even lead to an important career. Students also benefit from early exposure to help ground them in scientific concepts and scientific thinking, building an understanding of how things work in the world around them. Studying and practicing science also builds crucial skills in communication, collaboration, analytical reasoning, goal setting, planning, resourcefulness, and problem-solving.
As you go, remember the journey is more important than the destination. Fostering scientific curiosity, investigative skills, and determination is the main goal (scientific understanding or knowledge gained along the way is mostly just a valuable side-effect). Stay on the lookout each day for spontaneous opportunities for scientific exploration and discovery. Encourage students to always experiment and ask questions. Offer fun, active, hands-on, even messy experiences, to keep kids excited about learning.
Questions to ask throughout the process:
- What else could we try?
- What happened? Why do you think these results occurred?
- What could you do differently next time?
- What did you learn?
- What other projects or experiments would be fun to try?
No matter how an experiment turns out, praise everyone involved for their hard work, determination, ability to correctly follow directions, ingenuity in overcoming unforeseen difficulties, or anything else they did well during the exercise.
What Are Some Simple Ideas for Science Experiments for Kids?
When you’re choosing ideas for science experiments, look for the right match between the project and the student. Discuss ideas with your students to determine their areas of interest or take kids to the library to see which subjects they gravitate towards! Choose exciting subjects to investigate. If you’re not sure where to begin creating experiments, here are some great places to start.
- Food: spend time in the kitchen exploring fun, easy food science experiments.
- Earth Science and Physics: many fun experiments can be done with stuff you probably have around the house, from gelatin to bubbles to magnets.
- Astronomy: any projects associated with planets, stars, moons, galaxies, asteroids, comets, telescopes, or astronomical objects.
- Chemistry: grow crystals, make invisible ink, or build a baking soda volcano.
- Biology: from growing plants to learning about cells with microscopes.
- Nature: animals, plants, oceans, rocks, weather patterns, the possibilities are endless.
Check Out Science A-Z Interactive Science Lessons
Interactive Science Lessons from Science A-Z deliver virtual science labs that encourage students to take charge of their own science journey. These lessons help students apply the fundamental concepts of science, while they explore important complex ideas.
Carefully crafted text and corresponding audio walk students through difficult scientific concepts. Each part of the lesson builds on the one before it, helping to scaffold instruction as students master each new concept. The visual and interactive approach supports a variety of learning styles and helps bring the material to life. Students develop knowledge and skills on a deeper level by interacting with science in a virtual, engaging format.
Like most resources on Science A-Z, Interactive Science Lessons help satisfy science standards while also supporting reading comprehension. By digging into the main ideas of science on their own, students develop a stronger understanding of how to think and act like scientists.