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Summer Home Schooling Ideas: Engaging Children in Kitchen and Garden Science
Summer vacations can be effectively utilised to keep up the spirits of learning in your child, irrespective of his or her age. A long break from school will most probably change the daily routine of your child, can make them laid-back and trigger increased tendencies to while away their time, either staying late in bed, watching TV, socializing online or talking on mobile phones.
Parents need to be more involved and spend quality time with their kids, engaging them in various fun activities and channelizing their energy into some productive work. In the summer time, most countries around the world have a long two-three months break from school, when actually a lot of effective home-schooling can be done.
Children may not appreciate if parents force them to read, write or do their homework in the first few weeks, when they only want to enjoy themselves. So, in order to keep the continuum of learning in their children, parents need to be creative and come up with ideas which will ensure 'joyful learning'.
In this hub, I would share some home-schooling ideas to keep your kids excited in science through the holidays.
Great ideas to engage children in science activities
1. Inquiry into Kitchen Science: Encourage your kids to do some science in the kitchen. The kitchen has always attracted kids of all age and especially during holidays, they would love to experiment and try their hands on cooking or baking. Parents can take this opportunity to tap the inquiring mind of the youngsters and get involved in doing some great kitchen chemistry with them.
- Let's study together why apples turn brown when left exposed to air?Do some research on the internet and start your own experiment. Find out ways to prevent or slow down the browning of apples. The kids, while doing the project will find that certain substances or certain conditions induce fast browning, whereas there are natural ways to retard the browning process. They can learn how to conduct real experiments, how chemical reactions are affected by different factors (like temperature, light intensity, presence of acids, bases, metals etc.). Parents can get involved and watch the thrill in their children when they discover something new while doing kitchen science.
- You can study what causes tears while cutting onions?Do some experiments, keep the onions in different conditions or soaked in water or various solutions and find out some ways to prevent the watering of eyes.
- You can study what happens when vinegar is treated with baking soda?
- What happens when lemon juice is added to milk?
- What are the optimum conditions for baking a cake? Change the proportions of the ingredients and see the difference. What is causing the leavening of the cake?
- What is the 'fizz' when cola bottle is open?
- What happens when vinegar is added to crushed egg shells?
The list can go on and on, but to excite kids about learning, one needs to allow them the freedom to do hands-on experiments, let their hands become messy, let them understand the phenomenon and find the answers on their own. In this way, they will be able to create their own knowledge instead of being informed of everything and also their problem solving abilities will improve. For the best results, parents should get actively involved and ask interesting questions to keep their young ones thinking.
2. Engage in Garden Science: Inculcate the interest and excitement of learning from the nature in your child. Allow them to play outside in the garden, but set some tasks so that they observe a particular phenomenon - arrangement of leaves in a plant, or bugs and their movement.
Children love to observe, even touch bugs, so take the opportunity to make them study the life-cycle of bugs such as earthworm, caterpillar or ants and let them understand how these insects survive.
You can encourage your children to watch birds and how they build their nests or watch how flowering takes place in plants. You might help them in doing experiments to investigate that plants require both oxygen and light to photosynthesize or see what happens when a small plant is grown in a dark box with a hole towards the sunlight.
In this way, not only your kids will learn science directly from nature but also develop sensitivity towards our environment. Encouraging young minds to learn about the natural habitat of various living species around us will raise their awareness of biodiversity and will be a good way to keep them occupied and interested through the summer holidays.