I am a firm believer that once our children walk out the doors of their schools , learning doesn’t just stop. There are so many ways to encourage your child to explore the world around them through science. Luckily, you need not go it alone, Bayer’s award-winning program Making Science Make Sense® helps to promote science literacy throughout the United States.
Encouraging Stem Skills at Home
I found some really interesting facts while working with Bayer and their Making Science make Sense program from their 2016 Back to School Survey that I wanted to share with you…
- Science is the number one subject kids are interested in outside of the classroom. Only 24 percent of parents say they find it difficult to encourage their children to stay interested in science outside the classroom.
- Despite a high level of interest in science, parents provide extracurricular activities for English and math more often. Only one-in-10 (11%) parents provide extracurricular science opportunities for their kids on a daily basis, compared to 38 percent for English and 19 percent for math. More than half (56%) of parents say they provide extracurricular science activities only once a week or less, compared to 26 percent for English and 42 percent for math.
- Parents say their top source of ideas for keeping their children interested in science are blogs and websites (49%), and nearly a third (32%) are inspired by the science behind everyday activities.
- The most popular extracurricular science activities parents provide for their kids include taking them to the museum (61%), encouraging them to read science books (54%) and watching science-oriented TV shows (53%). However, far fewer parents (39%) demonstrate the science behind everyday activities.
So we know that most kids love science and need no invitation to explore it, however, parents are at a loss sometimes on how to set their kids up for science exploration at home beyond reading books and watching TV show. There is a lot more fun hands-on things you can do to get them excited and extend their science education outside the classroom. You don’t have to rush out and purchase specialized science kits or equipment. Science takes place all around the home-when you are getting a stain out of a shirt, what process causes it to work/not work? Why does pasta soften when cooked? How does temperature and rainfall affect your growing backyard garden?
Do you want to know an easy way that you can encourage and facilitate science exploration at home? I put together a DIY science kit that is easy and inexpensive for the kids to encourage my little budding scientists at home. While we have some of our favorite science experiments like these ones that Bayer has put together- some great ideas for turning your house into a science lab for kids on The Beaker Life I wanted to give the kids a place to turn with readily available items for conducting their own investigations.
First, grab a good sized bin, make sure you have a designated space for it like a bookshelf or in a closet.
Then you will want to grab a variety of science type items, I picked up all of mine at my local dollar store, making my entire science bin around $20 if you have some of these items already on hand you can make it even more frugal.
You can add more or less items depending on your child’s age and interests but these are our favorite items for home science experiments.
- Safety Glasses
- Food Coloring
- Lemon juice
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
- Plastic Bags
- Eye Droppers
- Magnifying Glass
- Baking Soda
- School Glue
- Dish soap
- Jars and containers
Fill your box up with the items, add a new notebook for hypothesis, observations, and results.
Attach a tag, this makes a great homemade gift for Christmas or Birthdays as well. I cut a basic beaker shape out of colored cardstock, wrote on it, and laminated for durability, it adds a fun touch to the box right?
Don’t be afraid to take pictures of your kids in action- watching foaming volcanoes, waiting for the bread to rise, creating a battery from lemon juice, a battery, and a nail! Add them to the notebook- what a fun keepsake it will make for later years!
We use our science kit several times a week to do fun things like…
Observing caterpillars and butterflies in our backyard.
Using a chemical reaction (baking soda and vinegar) to blow up a balloon.
To compare the effects of different ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice on apples.
The mess is worth the learning opportunities trust me!
What intimidates you about carrying STEM outside the classroom for your child? Tell me about it below in the comments!