So I have been a little lucky - my 11yo seems to have inherited my penchant for science. At 8 years of age, he took it upon himself to learn the Periodic Table of Elements by looping The Element Song until he learnt it..
School holidays a few weeks ago saw a week of us voiding warranties on lots of things while making rockets. Not little kid water/air pressure based rockets (we've done those to death) but proper rockets that burn fuel.
First Yoga mat rockets inspired by this youtube video - we had ignition issues (later diagnosed as a combination of a faulty bbq igniter, then fuel:air ratio problems. Second, we pivoted and had much more success with an isopropyl alcohol based rocket - so much success we blew the bung in the end of the tube back almost 2/3rds of the way down the tube.
We tried (successfully and unsuccessfully respectively) to grow crystals from sugar and salt.
Yesterday, my kids were drawing on the pavement outside our house with coloured chalk. When my 11yo asked me what he should draw, I asked for a rainbow.
"Ew, boring!" he said...
So I "scienced it up" with him and suggested he draw white light going through a prism.
This got him going straight away...
When I renewed my New Scientist subscription last year, I decided to upgrade to the subscription that included the actual paper magazines. Many a night has seen my 11yo falling asleep with the stack of New Scientists by his bed, having seen him avidly reading articles and writing questions for us to discuss in the morning. (He has a notepad and a pen next to his bed for just such a purpose, avoiding the constant calling out with questions in what is supposed to be a wind down time...)
Today, while I am recovering from Jetlag, my kids got up at 6am before I had actually slept, and my 11yo has been busy googling molecules and drawing them in stick/ball format all morning - for no other reason that he thinks it is cool.
Conversations about getting angry and punching brothers see me winding a diagram of the Amygdala into the conversation so that my kids can understand what is going on in their bodies when they snap at each other. I feel these lessons help to better arm them to take control of their own emotions and reactions.
What is the point of me writing all of this? I am unsure. Maybe it is to allow me to skite a little bit about my kids.
Maybe it is so that other parents out there with inquisitive kids know there are others out there.
Maybe it is just to say this: you don't have to be an expert in science to encourage science in our children. There has never been a more science enabled place in time for parents. All it takes is a little time and courage.
Time to do a little internet research and to build it with your kids.
Courage to try something new with the kids and to sometimes fail.
If nothing else, if the science doesn't stick, the time spent with them will, and so will learning that failure is part of success and growth.