Kids can benefit greatly from developing a love for science at a young age. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) states that studying science and engineering as a child can spark curiosity and a desire to explore the world around them. It can also create a foundation for lifelong science learning and developing other essential skills, such as language, small motor control, mathematical understanding, and more. Learn more about how simple science experiments can benefit children.
Benefits of Science Learning for Kids
Science learning encourages kids to be curious and develop a lifelong interest in experimenting and exploring. It can also provide numerous other benefits, including introducing new vocabulary, developing team skills, improving communication, and encouraging perseverance.
The concepts and thinking style kids learn while studying science can improve their learning in other school subjects. It expands their critical thinking, creativity, numeracy, and literacy.
A Capacity for Learning Science
For decades, early childhood education centered on teaching children basic language and arithmetic skills. It focused on children’s physical, social, and emotional development rather than science learning.
Recent research, however, shows young kids can reason, inquire, and construct conceptual learning. Their capacity for learning science skills and the time they can focus on science experiments and ideas are often underestimated. Science investigations can engage young kids for an extended period of time and over the course of several sessions. The NSTA encourages science learning for a superior transition into learning in elementary school and beyond.
Guidelines for Science Learning Among Kids
All kids can observe and explore the natural world around them at a young age. However, performing science experiments with elementary-aged children differs from experimenting at higher grade levels. The NSTA offers several guidelines for teaching science to young children.
- Adults play significant roles in helping young children learn. Science learning improves when adults create a safe environment for exploration, direct the child’s observation, and talk about what is occurring. The experience should be structured by an adult who supports the child’s learning experience and regulates the complexity of the experiment or other learning experience.
- It is essential to vary the child’s science experimentation and learning experiences. Experimenting outdoors can help children understand various science topics, such as understanding water flow, learning about insects, noticing different textures, and more.
- Adults should regularly engage in science learning with children, as sustained engagement is the best way to develop science understanding. One way to do this is by revisiting a topic over days, weeks, or months, such as observing a plant’s growth over time.
- Young children learn by fully engaging with the science materials. Adults should prepare a learning environment and activities that allow kids to safely investigate, manipulate materials, create meaning, and more.
Parents can teach their children numerous science concepts via simple, at-home experiments. For easy and fun science experiments for kids, see the accompanying resource to help spark your child’s love of science learning at a young age.
Infographic created by AGS Scientific