Have a Budding Scientist or Engineer on Your Gift List and Don't Know What to Do?

Give the gift of hands-on discovery - science. Last minute gift giving recommendations from Sophic Pursuits, Inc.

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Guidelines for Conducting Hands-On Science with Children

Learning through discovery is the best teacher. It promotes excitement and wonder and ultimately encourages life long learning.

Ponca City, OK (PRWEB) December 21, 2013

How about giving science as a gift this year? You can spark a world of wonder through hands-on discovery of science either through books or a kit. Books are always a great choice for that last minute gift. Your local book store probably has a host of science and hands-on titles as well as your online book retailer. Check out the recommendations from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org) or the winning books from the National Science Teachers Association for 2014 (http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2014.aspx). The key is to pick a book that interests the intended recipient. Science activity books focus on a variety of topics – airplanes, chemistry, rocks, bugs, plants, ocean life, yo-yos, toys, etc. So surely there is the perfect topic for that special someone.

Don’t just want to give the book – how about a book and an activity? KlutzTM, Discovery StoreTM and other specialty retailers have a host of kits and activities that are available. The old chemistry set and electronics kits have been revamped and redesigned. There are a host of likely candidates for that inquisitive child, student, budding inventor or scientist.

As science activities tend to become group and social activities, safety is a critical consideration. If you are a grandparent, friend, aunt or uncle, you may want to think about a resource or two for the parent of that budding engineer or scientist. Dr. Frankie Wood-Black has published a book titled “Staying Safe while Conducting Hands-On Science: Guidelines for Parents and Adults Conducting Hands-On Science with Children” that may be useful, particularly if you think that hands-on science is going to be a regular home activity.

Some other tips to help you pick a safe and fun activity include:

  •     Keep the Age Guidelines in mind. These guidelines are based upon the developmental skills and abilities of a child at a particular age.
  •     Read the Box or Label. Look for trigger words and suggestions. If the box suggests additional safety gear that is not included, purchase it at the same time. (Safety goggles are an example.)
  •     Get the Appropriate Safety Gear and/or other Parts. Remember when you got that great model but did not have the glue? Or that wonderful remote controlled toy with no batteries? The same can be said for the safety gear – it should be an integral part of the kit or package as well as batteries, etc.

In addition to the specific information included in the kit or activity, you can also find additional safety recommendations on-line through some non-profit organizations such as http://www.safekids.org or http://www.toyinfo.org.

So give the gift of encouragement and continuing fun by giving a science related hands-on activity.

Dr. Frankie Wood-Black is a Principal at Sophic Pursuits, Inc. an environmental consulting and educational materials provider. She can be contacted at fwblack(at)sophicpursuits(dot)com or at 580-761-3703. She also writes a science activities blog sophicpursuits.wordpress.com.


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