The Top Science Sites For Kids
So you are a parent and would like your kids to get better at science. What do you do? Buy them more and more books on science. Get them science kits, chemistry sets, do it yourself experiments, models that they can build?
The answers are tough to find. But since we are in the age of the Internet, there are sites that offer solutions for exactly this need of parents. Before we start looking at the specific benefits that these sites offer, let us go ahead and figure out what such sites should contain.
1) They should be appealing: All of us are driven by appearances. But our fickle-minded, short attention spanned children all the more so. That is why the overall appearance and visual layout of the site should be appealing and engaging for children. Luckily for us, the Internet as a medium is visual. Hence, it is not too tough for sites to be visually appealing.
2) Sites that are easy to use: One thing that really bugs me is that some sites require you to have a high degree of familiarity with the site to be able to make it work. In fact this can get to be so bad that even if a visitor has come to a site earlier, they are unable to find the relevant page on their subsequent visit. The basic idea that I am talking about is that the site should have good navigation. Regardless of where you are on the site, you should be able to get to another point without too much of a headache.
3) Sites that develop the right attitude in kids: As any teacher will attest, it is not about the information that a site transmits. It is a little bit of the clarity of communication. But it is mainly about the attitude that one develops in the minds of students. Promoting the right attitude can be done in many different ways. One of them could be to simplify concepts. Another could be to present scientific facts in a way that are interesting to kids.
4) Sites that are interesting: By its very nature science is really interesting. So the site should leverage on this factor. I really hate sites that make science seem much tougher than it really is. And the big crime is when a site presents science as something that is boring, or something that needs to be memorized. And ultimate bad science site is one where the site solely focuses on diagrams, theorems, definitions, jargon, and formulae. That is the stuff that puts off people.
5) Sites that are interesting: I know that I am repeating this heading. But that is for a purpose. I rate this quality of a site as the most important quality in a science for kid’s kind of site. There is treasure all around us. There is magic and wonderment in science. There is a sense of discovery and adventure. And when things go right, there is a sense of achievement if not miracle. All of these need to be nurtured in a child.
Having established what makes a good science site for children, you as the parent-user need to think about the best method to make it work for your kids. Here are some thoughts on that:
a) Make sure that you are hand holding the process at least a bit. This means that there are going to be situations where a child might need to turn for help. Online help can take you some distance. But a grown up, a parent or minor, can be much better at helping out a child.
b) Be around to inquire. Often a child can lose interest in the process. If the parent inquires about the learning process, the child can get motivated to make an exhibition of their learning. This will inspire them to study further.
c) Encourage and reward the little ones I am not a big fan of giving rewards and incentives to children for every little thing. Sometimes the success or achievement itself should be the reward. In keeping with that sentiment, I think that you should encourage children by telling them how proud you are of what they have achieved.
When you find the right site and approach the mentoring process in the right way, you can find your children getting really good at science. This is not something to be taken lightly. I am convinced that science is not just about information and knowledge and concepts. It is also about developing a scientific temperament. And that is a gift you can give your children. They will find it invaluable for the rest of their lives.
Of course, as with other aspects of parenting, you need to ensure that you are not getting unduly hung up on minor matters. After all kids are kids and need to be given a lot of latitude when they so desire. As an experienced parent you already knew that, right?