Teachers, parents, and other educators are sometimes reluctant to introduce and do science projects with their children. This reluctance stems from the fear of something going wrong if children don’t listen or are too clumsy. This fear should not stop you from showing children how wonderful science is and how fun exploring science can be!
Banish Boredom by Rebecca Green provides activities to do with the children in your life. Not only will the children love and have fun with the activities, but you will enjoy them as well! Activities involve science projects, art projects, sensory projects, outdoor activities, and field trip ideas. Within each of these sections, Green first provides tips on how to prepare for these projects and then gives project ideas. Here is how Green advises preparing for science projects:
Encouraging Children to Try Science Activities
If children are acting reluctant to try science activities, you can use dress-up play to get them excited. For example, if the idea of chemistry and doing a chemistry-related activity doesn’t sound exciting to them, get them lab coats, safety goggles, and real science notebooks to record their observations. Once they realize how fun science experiments can be, they won't need this kind of enticing—but it may still be fun for them to dress up and feel like real scientists!
- Make sure you have all the supplies you need to complete the project close at hand
- Thoroughly read and think through whatever experiment you are going to do
- Discuss steps with children as well beforehand
- Give some thought as to what safety precautions need to be taken
Things to Remind Children of During Experiments
- You must be present to conduct most science experiments. At some point, some of the more exploratory projects become safe enough for children to handle on their own but stay around to make sure just in case something happens.
- Make sure and tell them to keep their fingers out of their eyes and away from their faces once the experiment is started. Getting something like baking soda in your eye is no fun.
- Wear safety goggles when appropriate
- No food or drink is allowed near the experiment
- Slow down and wait for instructions
Explain the Scientific Method in Basic Terms
- Ask a question—How do you make the color green?
- Develop a hypothesis—I think green is made by mixing the primary colors blue and yellow.
- Think of an experiment to test your hypothesis—I will mix equal parts blue water with equal parts yellow water.
- Analyze the results of the experiment—Mixing those two colors made green.
- Modify or repeat the experiment—I will mix more blue water with less yellow water.
If children are beginning to write or can write, have them write out these steps and record their observations. It doesn’t need to be elaborate; even something as simple as marking boxes on a chart you’ve already drawn for them will work fine.