We are raising a scientist. Our days usually revolve around science and math. Teaching science in the younger ages is very simple, but if you have a future scientist in your house, you may have a slight fear that eventually you will run out of quality curriculum or that your kid will become smarter than you and you will have no clue what you are doing anymore.
This post will assure you that running out of fun, easy to use, quality materials for science is very unlikely to happen. (Even if you have sped through every decent science curriculum and you’ve purchased a microscope, a telescope, and every packaged kit you can get your hands on.)
What you need to keep the joy in science
1. A subscription to Scribd
Scribd has dozens upon dozens of How It Works magazines. You can also find fun little gems like The Way Kitchens Work: The Science Behind the Microwave, Teflon Pan, Garbage Disposal, & More, The Science of Sherlock Holmes, and Batman Science: The Real-World Science Behind Batman’s Gear. A subscription is $8.99 per month and you can receive a 2-month free trial if you use my affiliate link.
2. A subscription to Netflix
There is a huge list of science-y shows on Netflix (like The Science of Doctor Who, Brain Games, The Inexplicable Universe, Good Eats, NOVA…) but most importantly, Netflix has Star Trek. All 5 shows, 28 seasons, 9 movies, plus that dumb animated series from 1973. Did you also know that hundreds of engineers and scientists proudly proclaim that their career choices were influenced by Star Trek. How many tv shows can claim that kind of success and influence? The big wigs at NASA, for many decades, have been Star Trek fans. Read more at Teaching With Star Trek.
3. A membership to a local science museum
Visit the Association of Science and Technology Centers to see if you have a museum close by. Many have reciprocal admission programs, so you can buy one membership and get free or discounted admission for others all around the world.
4. Frequent YouTube sessions
Even if you have trustworthy teenagers, it can be dangerous to give your kid free reign of the Internet, especially YouTube. I love YouTube. There are some incredible gems among all the trash. As a parent, you could subscribe to certain channels like CrashCourse, SciShow, It’s Okay to be Smart, BrainCraft, and AsapScience. Set up a playlist of appropriate videos and let your kid have a daily or weekly science fest.
5. Feedly and Pocket
You know how easy it is for someone to go looking for something completely innocent online and either end up seeing something inappropriate, or more innocently, just getting lost in the fun, nonsense of the Internet. BuzzFeed does that for me. 5 minutes turns into an hour. So I hate sending my son interesting articles, because I know that once he clicks on them, it can lead to browsing on whatever website it was, and that becomes a time suck.
My husband and I subscribe to dozens of websites and blogs through Feedly. Almost every day we come across things we want to share with our son. However, sometimes there are articles on our favorite websites that are not appropriate for a 13 year old, so we don’t feel comfortable just sending him a link to the article. This is why we use Pocket along with Feedly.
The image above is a screenshot of the feed reader called Feedly. I was reading an article on the website The Kid Should See This. When you are in Feedly, there is a one-click option on each article that allows you to send the article to Pocket.
The image above is a screenshot of Pocket. When my son logs into Pocket, he sees simple stripped down versions of all the articles I share with him. No sidebars, no ads, no popups.
6. Your time
Your child needs to be able to share his thoughts and curiosities with someone and that person should be you. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers to all his questions. The Internet is at your fingertips. (Not to mention that it is a GOOD thing for your kids to see that you are not a super smart robot who knows everything in the world.)
7. Careers by DK Publishing
It’s never too early for your child to start thinking about a career, and this book is the perfect tool. It covers more than 400 careers, organized into 15 different job categories – from science and research to construction to business management. These categories are then broken down into specific jobs. Each job covers a two-page spread and encompasses preparation, interests, qualifications, lifestyle, realities, industry profile, related career paths, necessary skills, and compensation levels.
This book showed my son areas of engineering and science that he had never even considered before. Now it is ladened with dozens of sticky notes.
8. Basher Science Books by Simon Basher
This collection of REALLY cute books include The Periodic Table, Physics, Biology, Rocks and Minerals, Planet Earth, Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy. These books are very unique and can show you the world of science like you’ve never seen it before.
Yes, catalogs. This is one of those items that are so common that their genius usage is often overlooked. Your kids probably do not even realize that many of these products exist, so hand them several catalogs, along with a Sharpie marker, and ask them to circle items that interest them. If you find that your child circles mostly chemistry sets, you’ll know you have a future chemist on your hands. Visit Pitsco, Home Science Tools, Steve Spangler Science, Edmund Scientifics, and NASCO to request science catalogs.
10. TED-Ed videos
TED has a website devoted entirely to lessons for students of all ages. Each video is roughly 5 minutes long and is packed with information students will find fascinating. After each video, there is a quiz, additional resources, and a guided discussion.
*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.