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A parent’s guide to doing science with kids

A parent’s guide to doing science with kids

You don't have to be a scientist or a teacher to experiment and learn alongside your kids. Doing science is as simple as exploring the world together—and chances are, you're already doing it. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re taking a walk, watching the sky, or just noticing something in your home.

Let kids make their own observations. 

What you can say: “What do you notice?”

Anyone can notice and observe what’s going on—there are no wrong answers. Listen to kids’ observations and encourage curious exploration and experimentation. Your enthusiasm in the process is more important than arriving at a specific place. 

Try to avoid giving answers. 

What you can say: “What does this remind you of?” “What do you wonder?”

Science is about discovery. Let your kids wonder. They’ll explore more deeply if you don’t tell them what you know, and they can discover something new for themselves. Getting a sense of what your child is thinking can be more interesting than whether they’re right or wrong.

Follow their curiosity. 

What you can say: “What would you like to try?” 

Prioritize finding things out through trying things out. Your child’s questions and suggestions for new things to observe or try can lead to discovering and learning something new together. 

You can also use these ideas to encourage your child’s curiosity while doing specific activities, such as Exploratorium Science Snacks. Here are some simple Science Snacks to get you started. Each Snack includes some things to try, but let kids try anything safe, even if it isn't in the instructions. It's okay if they learn something other than what's in the Snack's explanation.

 

Want to go deeper? Check out the Exploratorium’s guides for educators and exhibit explorations to learn more about how we teach and learn together in the museum.