There’s no doubt that chemistry could be a significant part of your child’s education, whether they plan to pursue a degree in science after school or not. And naturally we all want our kids to achieve to the best of their abilities.
Do any of the points below apply to your kids:
- They are interested in pursuing a career in chemistry
- They possess a natural aptitude for chemistry
- They have battled with certain aspects of their chemistry curriculum and could excel with a little extra input
If so, then your budding chemist could benefit from extra chemistry coaching at home.
There are six ways that you can begin supplementing your youngster’s school science curriculum at home.
The main goal should be experimenting with different learning methods to figure out what strategy your child enjoys the most. Then you can adjust your at-home learning and play to their specific learning strengths.
Of course it’s important to take your child’s age into consideration because some science activities are just better suited to older children.
1. Your Youngster’s Education Can Be Enriched at Home
Because chemistry is such a far-reaching and complex subject it allows ample room for stronger students to really investigate some specialised science topics on their own.
Some ideas of topics they can explore at home:
- Bio-organic chemistry
- Photomolecular science
- Spectroscopy – Identification of Organic Molecules
But before anyone can jump into the intricacies of a specialised field of chemistry it’s essential to understand the basics. For this reason, it’s extremely beneficial to begin teaching your children the fundamentals of chemistry at home, especially if they display a natural curiosity for the subject.
The manner in which you begin supplementing their chemistry know-how depends on what they already know and their age.
Let’s say your budding scientist has begun school already and has learnt a little bit of chemistry here and there from their science teacher but obviously wants to know more. In this case you could boost their knowledge in a variety of ways.
Use homework and simple science projects for school as an opportunity to casually assess your child’s competence and pinpoint certain areas that may need a little extra attention.
Encourage kids to investigate the topics they’re learning at school. You could help them prepare for future topics the syllabus will offer or revise previous topics and dig into themes that catch their attention.
But, we aren’t all equipped to assist our children in the area of chemistry. Parenting is challenging enough as it is and some of us may come across as a mad scientist if we were to attempt teaching our kids about chemical reactions and science experiments! If this is the case then there’s thankfully always the option of hiring a professional tutor.
If you have small children then there’s plenty of preschool science learning fun that’s appropriate for little kids. Inject their screen time with a bit of cool science and introduce them to videos of entertaining experiments. You could also talk to them about the science behind day-to-day activities such as baking – call it kitchen science!
There are tons of fun science toys on the market that may appeal to your little scientists. Use these educational toys to play with your kids and have fun experimenting with science while spending quality time bonding.
2. Watching Scientific TV Shows
We’re living in an age where technology seems to be an extension of ourselves. Kids seem to learn how to navigate their way around devices as easily as they learn how to walk.
Despite the reservations parents may have about screen time, there is an upside to this era we find ourselves in: there are more educational resources than ever before and we can see this instead as the age of information.
Our kids have chemistry and science knowledge at their fingertips with all the fantastic educational TV shows and tutorials now available.
Introduce your kiddos to the Steve Spangler science show and all his crazy, funny experimentation. If you allow them to browse a little they’ll soon find tutorials and science videos that appeal to their interests and you can watch these together and discuss various aspects of the cool science they seem to be excited about.
3. Purchase a chemistry set
After watching science experiments online your kids are bound to find cool experiments to do at home!
There are some great chemistry sets available to purchase online and this will be a wonderful way of showing your support of your child’s interest in chemistry experiments.
This won’t require an enormous room in your home either, all the space you need for a simple chemistry set is an ordinary desk. It’s not like you have to build a whole chemistry lab from the get-go! And you don’t have to invest in costly equipment like a microscope and test tubes (at least not in the beginning!).
It’s a good idea to set clear boundaries and rules regarding chemistry experimentation for the sake of safety. Make sure that your child always knows to check with you before attempting a new experiment at home.
There are multiple factors that need to be considered when starting to create a chemistry set:
- Will you purchase a set or put together your own?
- Your child’s age (which will affect the amount of supervision they require when doing hands-on experiments)
- They type of experiments you and your child have in mind.
4. Cool Chemistry to Do at Home
If you’ve chosen to invest in a chemistry set then you have all the reason to motivate your kids to do simple experiments and have fun. It might get messy, but the hands-on learning will be worth it.
Most of us have either made or seen the classic volcano erupting lava science project. It’s a simple combination of household items that deliver surprisingly impressive results. You could impress your kids with this food coloUring, baking-soda and vinegar trick to get them started.
Even the simplest of chemistry experiments are a powerful learning tool. Not only do they illustrate the power of chemical reactions but they also provide the opportunity to learn about proper scientific method in an interactive way.
Slime is another big hit with kids, as well as the invisible ink trick and the all time favourite, fizzy Mentos and Diet Coke in a plastic bottle demonstration.
Just remember to try the eruptive project ideas outdoors and save yourself the hassle of cleaning up unwanted messes!
At the end of the day we just want to our kids to appreciate the amazing science that’s all around them. Whether that means printing out extra worksheets, submitting science fair projects, making elephant toothpaste or simply blowing up balloons to make a balloon rocket, whatever it takes – it’s worth the effort (and mess!).
5. Read Interesting Books on Chemistry With Your Kids
Book-learning can be viewed as an uninspired learning approach but it has its place. The trick is to pair it with the hands-on side of science if you really want it to add value to your child’s education.
There are plenty of engaging chemistry books out there that break the mould of the regular science textbook. Your kids will be able to read about plenty of fun experiments they can do at home and the chemical-reaction science behind all the bubbles and popping and goo.
If you have a youngster that’s excited about science and also a keen reader too then you should capitalise on this brilliant combination. Seek out some of the brilliant chemistry books available today that are filled with science facts that kids will love.
Here are some book titles to look out for:
- Molecule Mayhem by Tom Adams
- Fizz, Bubble & Flash! Element Explorations & Atom Adventures for Hands-On Science Fun! By Anita Brandolini
- Chemical Chaos in the Horrible Science series by Nick Arnold
Because educational books cater for a wide variety of skill levels it’s important to find books that will suit your child’s abilities. The last thing you want to do is choose a book that’s too easy and ends up being boring while at the same time a book that’s too difficult will only discourage further learning.
6. Ignite a Wonder for Chemistry
Kids love surprises and excitement. Why not arrange an outing to a local museum that offers exhibitions on science? This is a fantastic way to add some variety to your child’s education and help them to see the bigger picture of all their chemistry studies.
Perhaps there is an annual science fair that you could take them to and they may even want to participate themselves!
Trips like these have numerous benefits:
- Kids are likely to learn about new topics of chemistry they didn’t even know existed.
- It’s good for learners to see that science isn’t all theory but has value in real-life situations.
- It’s always fun to see real scientists at work and admire their interesting experiments in person.
Hopefully this has left you with some valuable ideas and inspiration for the furthering of your child’s chemistry education. If you feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin there’s no harm in roping in someone more experienced. Sometimes a tutor that can provide tailor-made science lessons is just what you need to give yourself and your youngster that extra boost of confidence.
Experiment and have fun!