The Ultimate Guide to Science for the Frightened Mom

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Are you reluctant to teach science at home? Nervous about keeping up as your kids get older? You’re not alone.

I’ve talked to a lot of homeschool moms who are a bit frightened when it comes to teaching science to their children. Interestingly, in my decade of teaching public school, I found that many teachers were nervous about teaching science, too.

So, what is it about science that worries so many of us? 
I think part of it stems from the misconception that scientists are “different” somehow, and that everyday people can’t possibly understand scientific concepts easily. When I taught, one of the first tasks I gave my students was to draw what they thought a scientist looked like. Most of them drew old men in lab coats with crazy hair surrounded by smoking beakers.

Science seems mysterious. It seems unattainable. It seems like something only “super-smart” people can “get.” Right?


Science is everywhere and for everyone. 

  • Science is for the curious. 
  • It’s for the creative. 
  • It’s for the dreamer. 

If you’re reluctant or frightened about teaching science to your kids, the good news is that, especially in the early years, it doesn’t have to be difficult at all because little ones are natural scientists. The better news is that there are so many wonderful resources to help you and they’re all just an Internet search away. 

The best news is that I’ve gathered tons of those resources right here so you don’t have to search for them yourself!

Science Should be Easy

What is science, exactly? It’s true that science is a collection of facts and subjects to be learned. But more importantly, science is a process.

It’s discovery.

It’s observation.

It’s ongoing.

Really, science is a never-ending process of discovery and observation. And that’s why it’s perfect for kids. 

Think about it, aren’t your children discovering new things everyday during the process of every-day living?

Mine are. 

And I’ll bet yours are, too.

I think one of the hardest tasks facing parents is keeping that thrill of discovery and questioning instinct alive in kids throughout childhood and into adulthood. As homeschooling parents, we have an edge over some. We can help our kids keep the wonder alive by encouraging them to be lifelong learners. Let them know that it’s not only okay not to know something, but it’s exciting.

Not knowing an answer is an invitation to learn. It’s a chance to discover a truth about God’s world for themselves. It’s science.

To make science easy for yourself and your kids, keep it:

  • fun
  • hands-on
  • stress-free
Since I know you’re wondering how to keep these things in mind as you teach science, I’ve gathered ideas for you in each of these categories.

Science Should be Fun

Make science playful. There are lots of games and toys that encourage scientific thinking. Here are some of our favorites:

Board and Card Games are a great way to teach kids without them knowing they’re learning. Game night, anyone?

Another great {and easy} way to incorporate science into your everyday home life is to read nonfiction books to and with your kids. There are so many fabulous books on the market for kids. Nonfiction is anything but dry these days. Below, I’ve linked to some wonderful lists of science and nature books. Check out some of the great books on these lists:

Science Should be Hands-On

When kids have the opportunity to experience what they are learning, they learn it better and retain more. Watching my own kids, I believe that they become more interested in topics that they have an opportunity to explore as well. Check out these wonderful kits that can help them gain exposure to lots of different topics.

  • Big Bag of Science — several fun, oversized test tubes filled with great explorations for kids.
  • Snap Circuits SC-300 — safe, but exciting electrical play.
  • Primary Science Set — oversized beakers, test tubes, and simple activities for your littlest scientists.
  • Kitchen Science Kit — ten activities using everyday kitchen materials.
  • 4M Tin Can Robot — this is one of a series of fun, simple robotics kits. I’ve actually found these at hobby stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby where I can get them with a coupon.
  • My First Backyard Explorer Kit — a fun kit for ages 4 and up with simple explorations to do in your own backyard.
  • Fizzy Foamy Science Kit of Safe Chemical Reactions — this part of the Scientific Explorer series. We have a few of these kits and the kids enjoy them. Trevor can do the activities on his own.
  • The Magic School Bus Adventure Science Series — we get this as a monthly subscription, and the kids love receiving a white, padded envelope in the mail with a series of simple activities and experiments they can do together. You can buy 8 of the 12 kits at once here on Amazon and stash them away for a rainy day.
  • Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden — we have raised painted lady butterflies for the last 7 years with this same kit. We bought it once and buy new caterpillars each year. Each of my kids — even two year old Logan — have a nice understanding of life cycles from simply watching these beauties grow in our family room.
  • Antworks Ant Farm — I like this ant farm much better than the old sand-filled ones. I think the ants have less of a chance of getting out in the house — and while I don’t mind observing ants, I don’t want them crawling around my home.

There are so many great books out there that contain simple activities and demonstrations for you to do with your kids. Here are a few to get you started: {Note: The first four are ones I’ve written for Prufrock Press. If you decide to order any of them to use with your kids, enter the code KESSLER at check out for free shipping on your entire order.}

  • Real Life Science Mysteries — this book offers descriptions of real-life scenarios that people working in scientific field face in their work. It’s designed to help answer the question of “when will I ever need this” through fun activities and experiments.
  • Hands-On Ecology — a book of activities, projects, and experiments to help kids explore the world around them.
  • Super Smart Science — 180 quick challenges, brain teasers, demonstrations, and experiments to help get kids’ minds ready to focus and learn.
  • Survival on the Reef — one of my first books. This is a short unit on the adaptations of animals found on the coral reef. It contains experiments, activities, and worksheets.
  • Chemistry for Every Kid — Janice VanCleave has so many science books it’s amazing. I linked to one of our favorite, but while you’re on Amazon checking it out, take a look at her others.
  • Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes — Steve Spangle is one of my favorite science guys. He’s fun, exciting, and a little bit crazy. 
  • Science in Seconds — we just ordered this and I’m looking forward to having something to pull out when we need something quick and exciting to do.
  • 101 Great Science Experiments — I have had this book forever. My students used it at home with their parents and my kids still pull it off the shelf after trying everything several times. It’s just fun.
  • Science is Simple — this book was written for preschool teachers, but I love it. I’ve used the activities to give my preschoolers concepts to explore and have beefed up some of the ideas for my bigger guy.
  • Exploring the Solar System — this book is by one of my favorite contemporary nonfiction authors, Mary Kay Carson. It contains a history of the solar system {read beforehand if you’re concerned about evolutionary content} with 22 cool activities to do.

Bloggers are sharing the great {and easy} things they do with their kids on a daily basis. Finding fun hands-on things to do with your kids is as simple as typing in a topic + the words hands-on activities and tons of links will pop up. The following is a list of some experiments an activities some of my favorite bloggers have done with their kids. While this is a long list, it is in no way a comprehensive list.

Science Should be Stress-Free

One of the easiest ways to begin incorporating science into your homeschool day is to take your kids outside. Being in nature reduces stress. There are scientific studies that prove this, and you’re free to Google them if you wish {I’m talking about other things today}. The simplest way to incorporate nature study is to gather a few tools and step into your backyard, but there are more structured curriculum and kits to help you if you need guidance. The links below represent a variety of ways to approach nature study.

Lapbooking and Notebooking are two fun and simple strategies for making science fun and engaging for kids. They are also a great way to keep track of what your kids are learning in a way that will make them eager to show off to visitors. If you plan to study a specific topic, or your child is interested in one, search the Internet for the topic and the term notebooking or lapbook. You’ll find lots of free mini books, activities, printables, and more that can all be printed, completed, then assembled to form the finished product. Here are a few to get you started:

Sometimes, as homeschool moms, despite encouragement from others, resources available, or our best intentions, we just can’t get comfortable with a particular subject. If, after checking out some of these resources, you still feel hesitant about teaching science on your own, it’s okay to go with a premade curriculum. There are some wonderful companies publishing curriculums that fit every style and comfort level. Here are a few that I like:
The most important thing to remember when you’re teaching anything to your children, especially something you may feel reluctant to teach, is to relax and have fun. Loosen up and learn alongside them. While you may not be completely comfortable, you’ll be showing your kids what it takes to become a lifelong learner.

Did I miss a science resource, blog, or curriculum you love? Leave me a comment and tell me about it. I’d love to check it out and share it with my Facebook community.