God created this amazing world. It is only natural that we should be curious about it. In Genesis 1:26, God commissions Adam and Eve, in His image, to rule over all He has created. They are entrusted with stewardship of this world, and the creatures that live here. I think He delights in us when we work with plants and animals and explore the mysteries of nature and the universe that He made for us.
Children love to ask “Why?” about the world they see and hear. They are always exploring. How can parents encourage that curiosity? Through science.
Historically, the church fostered the growth of science and medicine. You can keep this spirit alive by introducing science to your kids. It may even end up capturing their imaginations so much that they pursue it as a career!
There are lots of books in libraries, schools and bookstores to inspire kids, but what I encourage is a lifestyle of discovery. Children learn best from hands-on experience. Let me describe some broad categories that may give you ideas on how to introduce science into your kids’ experiences.
Nature is a beautiful place. Wherever you live, there are places you can go—from your backyard, to a local park, to a state or national park—to see nature at work. Kids love to observe insects, pick up rocks and sticks, and compare leaves from different trees. Take nature walks or serious hikes, go fishing, or go camping. Encourage your kids to take pictures of these places or make collections of rocks, shells or pressed leaves.
Depending on where you live, raising a 4-H lamb or calf, caring for a dog or cat, or even a small tank of fish invites a child into the wonders of animal reproduction, growth, and how to deal with the reality of death. Our kids cared for silk worms one year—we got the worms from a school project and procured a supply of Mulberry leaves for them to eat. It was fascinating for our kids to watch worms transform into moths, leaving behind beautiful silk cocoons.
Science kits excite kids who like to build and experiment. You can find these at educational stores, toy stores, and department stores. Some of these require adult supervision, especially for younger children. There are chemistry sets, rock-polishing machines, radio kits, magnet kits, crystal-growing kits, and more. You can go online or to the library and get ideas for doing fun projects at home like making goo with corn starch or building simple electronics.
Gardening is amazing: a seed in a pot with water and sunshine makes something grow! You can choose flowers or vegetables. If you have more space you can plant a window box or a whole kitchen garden. Kids may even want to eat their veggies!
If the street lights are not too bright in your neighborhood, you can study the night sky, memorize constellations, get up at one in the morning to watch a meteor shower or take a trip to a local planetarium or observatory telescope.
Somewhere nearby there is probably a science-themed museum. Kids like looking at dinosaur bones, rocks, old scientific machines, and dioramas. Aquariums and zoos also offer a fun look at the natural world.
There are lots of movies and books that can enlighten your children, answering even more questions. Once they’re intrigued, kids will do research for themselves. If you have concerns about content, preview the material before they launch into it. Here are some suggestions: field guides to birds; guides to rocks and minerals; books listing breeds of cats, dogs, or horses; gardening books; age-appropriate anatomy books for those with interests in nursing and medicine. There are lots of great science documentaries and nature shows. You can check out Moody Science Institute products if you want a faith-based perspective.
As kids get older, they can experience science through community. They can participate in school science fairs and clubs. If your child likes teamwork and competition, they may find clubs that compete nationally and internationally, some for college scholarships. There are general science clubs as well as clubs that specialize in areas such as robotics or engineering. If your school doesn’t have such a club, you may be able to sponsor and help organize one.
Children can grow passionate about taking care of the world God has given us through the application of science to world problems. They even take up a cause such as keeping the planet clean, providing water to people in parched countries, finding new ways to feed the hungry, or finding cures for debilitating diseases. Science can help them express the love of God to others.
Coming full circle from the miracle and mystery of creation to the ways we can help others, science is a language worth learning for children in today’s world.
Famous Christians in Science:
Isaac Newton—scientist and theologian
William Thomson Kelvin—engineer, physicist
Louis Pasteur—chemist, microbiologist
John Glenn—astronaut, senator
Francis Collins—physician, human genome mapper
Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.
Mrs. Fujimoto has a collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge, available as an e-reader at Amazon. Find our review under “N” in the alphabetical listing: Titles We’ve Reviewed.