Expert Advice

Why those ‘Why?’ questions are so important

Why those ‘Why?’ questions are so important

Although 100% of parents who took part in our latest survey said that they considered science education to be essential and over half believe their children are receiving more science lessons than they did, parents are still looking for tips on how to make science fun for kids. Our expert Dr Amanda Gummer believes that combining science with play is the most effective method. Here she explains why:

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As such a broad topic it can be hard to know where to begin with science and for parents who weren’t ‘science-y’ at school, the subject can seem daunting.  It doesn’t need to be and encouraging and enquiring young minds is a great way to help your child engage with science both in and outside of the class room.

Science is basically how things work – our bodies, plants, machines, the universe – all of those ‘….but why’ questions that toddlers ask incessantly are borne out of a desire to understand their world. 

This can be frustrating at the time. But how you deal with this can lay the foundations for a child’s future engagement with science.  Try to answer those ‘why’ questions honestly, and don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know. If the question doesn’t have an easy answer – ‘e.g. ‘why do people die?’ What sound does blue make?’ you can explain that you don’t know and that you’re not sure that anyone does – it’s always a nice idea to ask the child what he/she thinks the answer is.

If it’s a question that has an answer that you don’t know, (e.g. ‘what’s the smallest bird in the world?’ or ‘how many countries are there?’) say you don’t know, but that you’d like to and you could find out the answer together.

Science doesn’t always have to be Bunsen burners and lab coats, the simplest experiments can just be questioning the world around you and how things work. Start each day by asking your child a new question, it doesn’t have to have an answer and it can be as seemingly silly as you like – the main aim is to get them thinking and to definitely not get frustrated with enquiring minds.

What ‘why’ questions does your child ask – and how do you answer them?

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