They call it the summer learning slump. As the school year comes to an end and kids go from desks to the sand and surf, they are at risk of losing important knowledge attained in the classroom. This is especially true in subjects such as science. Parents can help beat the slump by keeping kids’ minds sharp and engaged in fun educational activities. When you consider how critical science skills are in today’s society, making sure our kids are proficient in science should be a top priority, especially during the summer months.
The Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE),works with teachers, principals and district administrators throughout Union County to make science a priority in schools and cultivate lasting improvements in science education. Carlo Parravano, executive director of MISE, feels parents are resistant to involve themselves in science because they feel uninformed. He encourages parents to not shy away from science because they don’t know the answer. Parravano says, “Instead, turn it on its head: look for the answer together with your child. You just might develop a love of and interest in the sciences along the way.”
Below are some ideas from Parravano of things parents can do to encourage their child’s interest in science this summer.
1. Library – Encourage kids to select books in science. For children who are into multimedia and like to watch television, make sure to include a certain amount of science programming.
2. Toys – Encourage your child to play with science toys such as LEGO® or K’NEX . These are excellent construction toys that help students learn about force and motion.
3. Nature Walks- Go for a walk and talk about what you observe. It’s amazing to turn over a leaf and look at all the bugs underneath. Take a small magnifying glass to look at what you find more closely.
4. Museums – Visit science and natural history museums and participate in their activities. Ask your child questions about what he or she saw and experienced.
5. Pets – If you can, allow your child to care for fish and small mammals. Watch how they grow and speak of science issues related to the pet’s care.
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