A mom simply has to think through
the topics and skills that should be ad-
dressed at particular age levels, and
then let the children’s own interests
help guide her. Once a topic has been
chosen, library books, interesting vid-
eos, hands-on experiences and field
trips are usually far more fascinating
than a total reliance on textbooks.
Children are born with a sense of
curiosity about the world. When a
child wonders why the soap floats
in the tub, or why the stars shine, it
is the beginning of scientific discovery. A parent’s role is to listen to such
questions and encourage them to ponder. It is usually a mistake to give pat
grownup answers too quickly. The
children need to be given some time to
make their own hypotheses before the
parent steps in with a preconceived
A big part of the adult’s role is to help
them develop necessary skills, such as
close observation, recording and analysis
of data, and the development of conclusions. Close observation comes naturally
to most young children. The recording
of data can be as simple as drawing pictures and keeping a nature journal. In
the upper elementary years, it is time to
add such activities as making charts and
graphs of their findings and perhaps an
occasional written report or participation in a science fair.
Mary Hood, Ph.D.
How to Create
An abandoned bird’s nest led to a study of winged creatures.
Your Own Science