Tips for Parents: Raising Children to Enjoy Math and Science
Make wonder part of everyday life.
Use play, conversation, and activities of everyday life to help your child learn skills and ways of thinking needed for science and math. Here are some simple tips:
- Focus on your child's interests. They're going to know more and ask more questions about what they love.
- Talk with them about what you're doing—make it a two-way conversation.
"I'm using this spoon to stir the cocoa in the hot milk. What else do we stir to mix up?"
"I'm going to drag my foot on the right when we go down on the toboggan. Which way do you think we'll turn? How come?"
Observe: Ask them to notice small details.
"What shapes do you see in those ice crystals? Are they more alike or different? In what ways?" "Where do you first see the moon in the sky? Is it in the same place every day?"
Sort: "Which tracks have three toes and which have four?" "Can you sort the adult mittens and hats from the kids'?"
"Who's got the longer skating stride—Daddy or you?"
"How wide is this snowman at the base? Why does it need to be bigger at the bottom than the top?"
"How long do you think it will take the icicle to melt?"
"If you have more weight on the sled, do you think you'll go faster or slower?"
Girls are just as curious as boys.
Experiment with hand tools or water play with cups in the bathtub. Ask her to describe what happens and figure out an explanation for what she notices. Chemistry sets or tool sets are great toys for girls as well as boys.
- Hands-on works best. Take them to the Science Museum, a nature center, or zoo where they can do hands-on exhibits and have fun while they learn.
- Take things apart to see how they work. Look at the insides of an old remote control, a broken wind-up toy or a battery-operated gadget.
- Find positive role models in science and technology careers. Ask friends or family members in science or technology to talk to your child or give a tour of their worksite.
- For young kids, reading readiness and science readiness develop at the same time. Use reading time to incorporate science and math skills: "How many bunnies are in the orchard?" "What shapes are the same on this page?" "What do you think would happen if ... ?"
Reprinted with the permission of the Science Museum of Minnesota. © 2008 Science Museum of Minnesota.
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