boy outside in nature
Kids are naturally curious and are full of questions about the world around them. Parents and teachers can help keep that curiosity alive by finding ways to make learning about science fun and engaging. Here are a few ideas that you can use to help your kids love learning about science.
Hands-on experiences help kids of all ages grasp concepts and retain information. There are online resources available to give you the tools you need to make hands-on learning a reality.
For example, MyBotanicPlanet.com is a free website with lesson plans and interactive games for students in grades K–5 to explore basic botany and water conservation. Based on the classroom experience offered through the Memphis Botanic Garden, and created by TruGreen, MyBotanicPlanet.com features lesson plans by professional curriculum developers to meet National Education Standards. Students can personalize their own avatar and explore the educational site’s interactive games and activities.
The Water Ways environment features an interactive water filtration game with various difficulty levels and an educational character named Watershed Fred, who helps students learn more about where water comes from and what happens to it when it’s out of sight. Learn more about it at www.MyBotanicPlanet.com.
Fun Field Trips
Get some fresh air and a fresh look at nature by going outside. And don’t restrict your field trips to sunny days only. You and your kids will be amazed at how different things appear when it’s been raining or snowing. Where should you go to start digging into natural science?
—Collect leaf samples to identify, then use them to make a collage.
—Use a magnifying glass to do some ground-level research. Examine insects, plant stems, tree bark, spider webs and interesting rocks. Have your child give an explorer’s report on what he or she finds.
—Make a game out of identifying the different trees and bushes in the park. Take pictures and leaf samples to help you figure them out.
—Go on a scavenger hunt to a stream or pond. Make a list of items to find: animal tracks, water insects, birds fishing or taking a drink, frogs and toads, even snakes.
—Visit the zoo. Before you go, have your child check out some library books about one or two of their favorite animals. They can learn some facts about those animals, then be in charge of teaching you about them when you see them at the zoo.
—Natural history and science museums can be a fun way to learn about the world around you. Take advantage of tours, special exhibits and activities geared for children.
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