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Fun and Easy Ways to Teach Science to Preschool and Elementary Age Kids
US News and World Report 1 has a list of the 25 Best Jobs of 2012. The ranking is based on "10-Year Growth Volume, 10-Year Growth Percentage, Median Salary, Job Satisfaction, Current Employment Rate, and Future Job Prospects." Knowledge of science is required for more than a third of these best jobs.
In a Huffington Post article titled "America's 10 Best-Paying Professions: Bureau Of Labor Statistics," 2 nine out of the 10 highest paying professions are in the medical field, where again a substantial amount of scientific knowledge is necessary.
Despite this, American students aren't learning nearly enough science. America ranks 23rd in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, which is taken every 3 years. It is important that parents step in and make sure their children are learning the science they will need if they want to enter a field that requires a significant amount of scientific understanding. Building scientific knowledge can easily start as early as the preschool years. The following are some fun ways to get your preschool or elementary age child interested in science.
Fiction and Nonfiction Books
There are several good fiction works that teach scientific concepts. The Magic School Bus series includes books that cover a large number of scientific topics, such as electricity, the inside of the Earth and hurricanes. There is even a series of chapter books. Each chapter book story is told from the point of view of a child in Ms. Frizzle's class. The books cover topics like germs, bones and volcanoes.
Andrew Lost is a series that follows the adventures of Andrew, Judy, and robot Thudd as they shrink and encounter microscopic life, go back to the beginning of the universe in a time machine and explore the oceans. These books are good for kids from kindergarten through 5th grade.
The George Series by Stephen and Lucy Hawking cover concepts in astronomy and cosmology. The books include a fiction story with nonfiction concepts interspersed throughout. The books are George's Secret Key to the Universe, George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt and George and the Big Bang.
The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library series is excellent for preschool and up. It covers the human body, seeds, weather, dinosaurs, health, deserts and rainforests.
Science TV Shows and Videos
The Magic School Bus, Zula Patrol, and Sid the Science Kid are appropriate from preschool and up. Bill Nye the Science Guy is good for older elementary age kids. Many of these shows are available on YouTube.
BrainPop and BrainPopJr.com are excellent sources for fun educational animated science videos. The websites require a subscription. They are sometimes offered for free through schools.
Sciencewithme.com sells a science bundle that includes videos, songs, coloring books and workbooks covering several scientific concepts. The bundle is aimed at elementary age children.
Science Kits and Experiments
Science kits are a fun and easy way to introduce kids to science. They have almost everything you need with complete instructions. I really like the Magic School Bus science kits. They cover bacteria, the human body and electricity.
You can get books that have simple science experiments. Many websites have simple science experiments as well. I really like http://www.eequalsmcq.com/LabNotesArchive.htm.
Science and Nature Coloring Books
There are some very good science and nature coloring books that can be used with elementary age kids. These books have coloring pages with science and nature facts. My favorite is by Dover Children's Science Books. Others are Butterflies Coloring Book and All About the Weather, a Dover Nature Coloring Book. My First Human Body Book
Science toys are another great way to make learning science fun. Some good toys are Be Amazing Toys Big Bag Of Science, Toysmith Volcano Making Kit, Elenco Electronics Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100, Elenco Electronics Snap Circuits SC-300, Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden, My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope, Toysmith Magnet Science and Scientific Explorer's My First Dinosaur Science Kit.