Science is all around us – in our homes, the nature around us, and in our bodies.
Likewise, there are many reasons to build your child’s ‘science literacy’. More than just a subject in school, science has many positive impacts on a child’s development.
What Is Science For Kids?
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For example, researchers from Indonesia that studied 120 elementary school students found that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education builds their critical thinking skills.
Additionally, a content analysis published in 2020 also concluded that STEM learning can better equip students with the skills needed to cope with the challenges that Industry 4.0 brings, while encouraging more innovation.
Findings from 3M’s 2021 global science perception survey, the 3M State of Science Index, found that COVID-19 has also put STEM in focus. As many as 92% of Singaporeans agree that the world needs more people pursuing STEM-related careers.
Luckily, 82% of Singaporeans agree young people are more engaged in science and science-related issues than ever before.
“Access to a good science education is important for everyone, and especially crucial in a young child’s life. Engaging children in science and science-related issues sparks their curiosity, helps them learn about the world around them and equips them with important skills such as critical thinking,” 3M tells theAsianparent.
When asked what the importance of having children continue learning while at home, 3M responds, “Facilitating and encouraging
children to learn at home lets them explore and think creatively away from the pressures that academics may sometimes bring. Informal learning plays a key role in the STEM learning process and it can shape the way that they approach formal learning in school too.”
“When children love to learn and have fun with it, they may develop more positive attitudes towards their education too,” they make sure to add.
5 Ways You Can Spark A Continuing Interest For Science In Your Child
Want to spark an interest in science for your child too? Here are five easy and fun ways you can do so!
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1. Explore your child’s questions and seek answers together.
There is no better time for learning than when the questions come. And when they do, take the time to explain concepts.
If you are unsure of the answers, turn this into another learning opportunity. Search for answers together with your child. Head to the library or read articles online.
In this age of the internet, where information is freely available, it is also important to be discerning. Always refer to credible sources and make use of online fact-checkers such as Google’s Fact Check Tools and FactCheck.org to ensure that you’re not reading fake news.
In turn, parents can also ask questions to encourage their children’s learning and exploration. A 2019 study of 4 to 6-year-olds playing in an exhibit that involved gears found that the types of questions asked by parents also affect their children’s behaviours.
Parents who encouraged their children to explain the mechanism led to greater discussion of gear mechanisms. Meanwhile, encouragement to explore led to more time connecting gears.
Instead of shying away when your child asks questions, take this opportunity to explore science together and teach them the important lessons of research and discovery!
2. Spend time in nature.
What better way to discover the “how and why” of the world than observing it in the wild?
As a kid, Mr Larry Peter Lo, an Application Specialist from 3M Singapore, credits his time as a Boy Scout and in the outdoors for his interest and appreciation for science. Your child doesn’t have to be a Scout or Brownie to enjoy nature. Take your children on outings to nature reserves or the zoo to learn more about wildlife.
Teach your kid how friction works by playing a game of tug-of-war, or let them build their own light-up board game using paper circuits. If you prefer online science games, Code – a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science – introduces computer science to your kid in a fun and digestible way, such as having lessons centred around Angry Birds and Minecraft.
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3. DIY toys.
While technology is a great tool for learning science, we can all do with a break from the screen. Encourage your children to make their own toys using what they have around them.
“I used to make Wau Bulan, a kite made using bamboo and paper sheets,” Mr. Lo recalls. “While it seems like just another toy we made, it was a fun way to gain some understanding of aerodynamics, the science of flight.”
Growing up when the color television was first created, 3Mer Mr. Pang Hoke Woei’s playtime was mainly outdoors with friends and inspired by what they saw on TV. The Senior Manager in 3M’s Asia Manufacturing and Supply Chain department in Singapore said: “Often, our imagination got the better of us and our “toys” were make-believe, and this was how my passion for science and math was ignited.”
According to a Gallup poll of over 1,036 teachers, 2,673 parents and 853 students, promoting creativity in education is key. Encouraging creativity during learning enhances students’ problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Besides being able to retain more content, students could also make better connections between different subjects, had a deeper understanding of subjects, and overall better test performances.
4. Visit science museums and exhibitions.
Bring your children on science outings during the weekends or the school holidays. It’s a perfect adventure for learning and spending good quality time with family.
From 20 to 28 November, join the Tinker Fest Adventure organized by Science Centre Singapore. Turn into a scientist for a day, participate in a range of fun and free workshops, and even learn how to convert light into electricity!
5. Engage in hands-on activities.
Take advantage of your children’s never-ending curiosity and encourage them to get their hands dirty.
Need more resources? Try out various simple, at-home experiments on 3M’s Science At Home website. Discover how you can use common household items to reinforce core scientific principles that are both fun and educational – Try building a paper rocket, or learn how you can create amazing fireworks effects!
Encouraging your child to learn and love science can be simple, fun, and an extremely rewarding journey. With these five handy tips, we hope that you will be inspired to help hone the little scientist within them.
Please note: Participation in any of the activities in this article is at your own risk. Parents or other adults must supervise any experiment or activity involving a child. To the extent permitted by law, 3M and its affiliates, employees, directors or agents shall not be liable to any person in any manner for any activities or experiments related to this Article.
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