- Dana Villamagna, Toca Magazine Writer
Young kids are born scientists. Exploring and experimenting is just what they do naturally. We hope all kids build on that desire to discover the world and how it works through preschool and beyond.
Supporting your kid’s natural love of science and nature is easy, and it can be fun for you, too. Introduce them to lots of new experiences in a wide range of subjects – plants and animals, chemistry, weather, simple physics, the solar system and more. Follow an interest for as long as they’re interested. Kids can switch from collecting bugs one week to making slime the next … there’s a whole universe to understand!
Check out these apps and websites that can help your kid tap into their inner scientist with images, ideas and DIY experiments.
- 1. Science360. View stunning nature and tech photos, videos, and stories on this app created by the National Science Foundation. Kids can watch videos about everything from “cheeseburger chemistry” to the ecological role of wolves. Parents may need to read the text-based stories to younger kids. There’s also a Science360 Radio app so kids can listen to science-related stories. Best for kids age 8 and up. (iPad only)
- 2. Sid’s Science Fair. Explore an interactive science fair with adorable PBS Kids star Sid and his friends. Kids can play simple, engaging science-related games that involve collecting, charting, and sequencing. Best for kids age 4 to 7. (iOS and Android devices)
- 3. DIY Nano. Watch funny videos and try at-home experiments to discover nanotechnology. Adults will need to help kids collect supplies and set up most of these awesome DIY activities. Check out the app’s companion website Whatisnano.org for more information. Best for kids age 8 and up. (iOS devices)
- 4. Bloom by Megalearn. Learn about seed dispersal on this deceptively simple yet beautiful app. Kid can make coconuts float, birds poop seeds, and dandelion seeds blow in the wind, then watch as the seeds grow into plants again on this highly engaging interactive app. Best for kids age 5 and up. (iOS devices)
- 5. Bobo Explores Light. Meet Bobo the Robot who leads kids through 21 interactive lessons about forms of light, including photosynthesis, sunlight, lasers, electricity and more. Younger kids will enjoy the app’s free-play aspects, while older kids can dig into reading about scientists like Thomas Edison and finding out details of how light works. Best for kids ages 7 and up. (iPad only)
- 1. Lawrence Hall of Science. 24/7 Science: Created by University of California Berkeley, this site is a treasure trove of science games and activities. There are games and activities for biology, nanotechnology, weather, electricity, and a galaxy of earth- and space-related learning. Best for kids ages 7 and up.
- 2. DragonflyTV Science Fair. Get inspired for the next science fair by watching the dozens of science “investigations” from PBS’s Dragonfly TV show. Kids can also watch scientist profiles, solve science-related riddles, and play simple games. Parents: Read the site’s “Simple Steps to Science Fair Success” tip sheet. Best for kids age 6 and up.
- 3. Exploratorium. If you can’t get to the San Francisco-based Exploratorium in person, the next best thing to visiting this incredible learning lab is browsing its website. Kids can get ideas for experiments, links to more science-related websites and videos. Search by dozens of alphabetized science topics — from Arts to Waves – or just click what looks interesting. Best for kids age 8 and up.
- 4. NASA Kids’ Club. Young astronaut wannabes will love this website. NASA created the games with young kids in mind, but the Images of the Day, NASA TV, pages specific to major missions (for example, the Hubble Telescope and International Space Station) are incredible for the entire family to explore together. Best for kids age 7 and up.
- 5. BrainPOP Jr. The free Movie of the Week and “free stuff” sections on this subscription-based learning site give kids terrific five-minute introductions into many science topics, including ocean habitats, classifying animals, and more. Best for kids ages 5 to 9; Check out BrainPOP for ages 6 to 17. (Access to the full BrainPOP Jr. site is $9.45/mo. or $99/year.)