How Do Children Learn Science? 4 Must-read Ways & 4 Useful Tips
Learning science shouldn't be difficult! With the right methods and mindset, kids can enjoy learning science in a fun an enriching way.
Why is science important for children?
If you ask a kindergartener or primary schooler what they’re most curious about, they’ll tell you something about rainbows, the moon, rockets to outer space or if a black hole is going to destroy the earth.
Science influences every part of our daily lives. From the food we eat, the clothes we wear to the way we communicate, the world we know is shaped by science.
Kids are curious creatures. Starting from a young age, they are already programmed to want to learn everything about the world around them.
Learning science is learning how the world works. By teaching children to ask the right questions, make logical predictions and test their beliefs, you are equipping them to become critical, curious and motivated learners.
Why should kids learn science?
🤔 Science is good for kids’ thinking. Science involves lots of research, observation and evaluation. The scientific mindset can help children form opinions based on facts and think logically with evidence.
🌱 Science teaches your child to grow. Experiments don’t always go the way they’re supposed to. Children grow to learn from failure, becoming resilient learners and striving to improve.
🤖 Science prepares kids for the future. Now more than ever, the world needs science talents. Learning science at a young age can impact children’s interest in the subject, encouraging them to become scientists of the future.
How do kids learn differently than adults?
Adults learn out of will. They spend time learning to improve themselves and gain skills. Since they are older, their attention span is longer and can benefit from deep learning materials. However, they also benefit from hands-on activities for them to apply their knowledge in a realistic scenario.
Compared to adults, children need more sensory experiences to learn. This could include learning activities such as hands-on experiments, field trips and more. The key difference here is that since kids’ attention span is short, the best way to optimise learning is to have many short activities!
For kids, hands-on learning is the best learning. Hands-on learning engages both sides of the brain, processing information on the left and visual on the right. This way, children gain a deeper understanding of what they learnt.
Hands-on learning engages all 5 senses, encouraging them to explore as they learn.
Teaching your child science can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be! You can make good use of resources that are already out there to help.
Here are four ways for you to help your kid learn science while having fun!
1. Science Books & Magazines
Children's science books and magazines turn learning science into interesting and engaging reading adventures. Filled with interactive stories, infographics and mini-games, kids can also improve their reading comprehension skills while learning about the world around them!
✅ Up to date scientific knowledge in digestible bites. Children can discover interesting science facts that won’t be taught in the classroom!
❌ It’s all on paper. Kids don’t really get to experiment and test the science concepts themselves.
We love and recommend Whizz Pop Bang for it’s fun and interactive science activities, Young Scientist for its unique science-comic style and National Geographic Kids for the kids who love animals and wilderness.
Read our full list of science magazines recommendations here.
2. DIY Science Experiments at home
Experiments are the backbone to teaching science. Children can experiment to learn real scientific principles in a fun and hands-on way. Most importantly, it teaches kids the scientific mindset to test their hypothesis through experiments.
✅ Stay curious and inspired. Once kids realise that science is something they can do with their own two hands, they will be motivated to try out new experiments to test new hypotheses.
✅ Learning from failure. Experiments don’t always work as intended, children can grow to identify and learn from their mistakes and become resilient learners.
❌ You’ll need to prepare materials. Experiment kits can be a lifesaver — where else can you find citric acid or copper tape, anyways?
Some fun science experiments for children are Cloud in a Jar, Inflation Station, Crystal Sun Catchers. They all use common household materials to demonstrate basic scientific principles.
Everyone loves field trips. Take your child on a trip to the science or space museum for a refreshing science-learning journey!
The Hong Kong Science Museum is a great place to show kids how science works in real life. With interactive exhibits, children can explore scientific principles in unique ways while also having fun.
✅ A memorable science experience. Interacting with fascinating exhibits certainly leaves a lasting impression in kids' minds.
❌ You can’t learn everything in one go. With countless exhibits, don’t expect to be able to visit every single one, let alone learn everything in one go.
Children learn science best when they’re doing science. Workshops are an immersive experience for your child to learn science while collaborating with others to solve real-world problems.
The best science workshops should encourage kids to ask questions and work with each other, much like when they grow up. Moreover, it should include hands-on elements, such as experiments or a craft, to further reinforce children’s learning.
✅ Holistic learning experience. Good science workshops should have your child learn and feel like a real scientist!
❌ You need to try it to know it. Your child might think the content is boring, and teachers might do all the talking without engaging students.
💡 With engaging teachers, lively demonstrations and hands-on experiments, your child can have great time learning science with Big Bang Academy's student-centred science workshops!
Children thrive at learning in an encouraging environment. It’s important to guide and reinforce kids’ science learning with an open mind.
1. Value your child’s questions
Kids are curious creatures and will ask a lot of questions, some that make sense and some that don’t. The key here is to be patient with your child. Try answering their questions with more questions and positive reinforcement — “what do you see to make you think that?”, “I think it’s very interesting too!”.
Do👍 Be patient and encourage them to ask more questions.
Don’t👎 Ignore their queries.
2. Explore and find the answers together
You don’t have to be a human encyclopaedia. Instead of googling the answer right away, ask your child prompting questions — “what do you think?”, “why do you think that?”. Work together to come up with a hypothesis and explore the answer with books, experiments or the internet.
Do👍 Prompt kids to think scientifically.
Don’t👎 Give them an answer right away.
3. Give children time and space to explore
Finding the right answer takes time. Kids need time to experiment and test their theories on their own. The process of trial and error helps kids reflect on their learning while shaping them to become motivated and resilient learners.
Do👍 Always encourage your kid to try again.
Don’t👎 Discourage them after failure.
4. Encourage children to record their observations
Record-keeping is crucial in the scientific process. Every time your kid is interested in a natural phenomenon or a strange reaction, tell them to draw or write it down! This is a great way for children to keep track of their discoveries, which helps them reflect on their findings later on.
Do👍 Encourage your child to keep a “discovery notebook”