Kids Are Natural Scientists

by Ann Douglas

"Children are natural-born scientists. They have enquiring minds, and they aren't afraid to admit that they don't know something. If you think about the spirit of science -- deciding what you want to find out, setting out how you're going to discover it, then carrying out the experiment and coming to a conclusion -- that's how kids work....So it's not a case of getting kids interested in science. You just have to find a way to avoid killing the passion for learning that they were born with....We have to nurture that joy of discovery that characterizes all learning, from a child just starting to walk to the cutting edge of scientific research." ~ Richard Hammond, host of BBC television’s Blast Lab, writing in New Scientist magazine.

Mad ScientistYou can encourage your child's sense of wonder as he moves from age to stage by providing him with ongoing opportunities for discovery.

• Visit conservation areas, wetlands, and other spots (The ROM, The Science Centre) that are likely to spark conversations about science.

• Talk about how science plays out in our lives day in and day out: in the kitchen, the laundry room, the garden, in the recycling bin, when the seasons change, and so on.

• Celebrate your child's curiosity and encourage her to make her own discoveries. You want her to get in the habit of asking questions and finding the answers to those questions through reason, experimenting, and research.

• Read books and magazines, visit websites, and watch videos that will expand your child's knowledge and curiosity about the world around him.

You don't have to spend a lot (or any) money, if you're on a super-tight budget. You can borrow resources from your local library, friends and families, local toy and resource lending libraries and purchase second-hand materials at yard sales, school and library sales, and at second-hand stores.

Head online and tap into everything from project ideas to video clips about the wonders of science.

Here are a few sites to get you started:

 • Cool Science for Curious Kids
 • KidsSpace at the Internet Public Library
 • Instructables: Kids
 • Yahoo! Kids: Science
 • The Happy Scientist

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site,

Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to publish granted to