Science at home, you must be mad?
I'm all for science. In fact, I encourage my four children to take things apart, to be inquisitive and I provide regular opportunities for exploration to allow them to discover their world at a level they understand.
Science-based activities nurture a child's sense of adventure and curiosity while helping them develop an understanding of everything around them; it can also encourage them to be a consistent problem solver.
If you've ever wondered how to instil an interest and love for science from a young age, I've taken the hard work out of it for you with these five simple and creative strategies to help get you started.
How to help your child to develop a love for science
Encourage scientific thinking.
Share your sense of curiosity and thoughts with your child about the world around you. Ask questions like why the world is round, why animals don't talk and why the light is bouncing off the water. Take time together to research and find the answers to all your queries.
Use every opportunity.
Watch 'Let's Find Out' a science entertainment series for kids hosted by Mark Langtry on RTEjr at 5.20 pm daily. Visit Explorium, Ireland's only national sports and science centre or Imaginosity and inspire curious minds to discover the wonders of science through sport. Go to the woods or a museum to explore and learn. Or watch science documentary channels such as Animal Planet, National Geographic and Discovery Channel.
Make it relevant.
Show your kids the science behind their interests. For example, if they like camogie or Gaelic football, watch YouTube videos together explaining the physics behind how the ball travels through space. If they like video games, talk about how technology and computer science is essential in our lives. Introduce coding by downloading one of the various free apps available on iOS and Android.
Make a DIY science kit.
Most of these supplies you might already have in your cupboards but things like baking soda, dish soap, food colouring, PVA glue, coffee filters, cooking oil, cornflour, vinegar, sugar and salt will come in handy.
As for tools, you will need a magnifying glass, protective goggles, a small mirror, an eyedropper, balloons, measuring cups in different shapes and sizes, a plastic thermometer, magnets, test tubes with lids, kid-friendly tweezers or forceps, a torch, measuring tape and, of course, a science experiment book.
Alternatively, you could always buy a prepacked science experiment kit to conduct science experiments at home.
And finally, make use of your DIY science kit - they are great to have for rainy days. Make a lava lamp using food colouring, vegetable oil and Alka seltzer. Make slime. Play with gloop using a simple mixture of cornflour and water. Safely breed bacteria by taking samples from different places and examine how it grows. Or why not put your senses to the test by tasting food without smelling it.
If you're looking for some ideas, we have an Instagram takeover coming up tomorrow with Dr. Naomi Lavelle from @sciencewows who will be showing us how to do a fun and fascinating science experiment at home!