Summer Science Resources for Families

Tackling a science project or exploring a science museum (virtually, of course) can help your child beat boredom and teach them some useful skills. If your kid loves hands-on projects, or if they just like making a mess, there is an array of free science experiment videos available online.

School is out, summer is here, and many parents are looking for ways to keep children entertained during these long, hot months. Tackling a science project or exploring a science museum (virtually, of course) can help your child beat boredom and teach them some useful skills. If your kid loves hands-on projects, or if they just like making a mess, there is an array of free science experiment videos available online. Perhaps your child is a wildlife or outer space enthusiast or is really into insects. Science museums all over the county are offering appealing virtual exhibits and activities around these topics. Your family can also check out science shows on YouTube or listen to a science podcast designed for younger listeners.

We have rounded up a host of science resources to keep your child engaged and nurture their natural curiosity until school is back in session.

 

Science Museums

Science museums across the country are offering a slew of virtual activities and programs. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City presents a number of virtual field trips, including tours of outer space and a visit to its beloved butterfly conservatory. AMNH also has updated its website and app for kids, called OLogy, which features games, projects, and videos, and it includes sections on zoology and archeology. For dinosaur lovers, AMNH’s multimedia activities about the Tyrannosaurus rex are sure to be a hit.

The National History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) invites families to learn about crawly creatures in its new online exhibit, ”Spiky, Hairy, Shiny: Insects of L.A.” NHM virtual visitors can also explore videos of fascinating animals, such as a rattlesnake and a skink.

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum offers guided virtual field trips as well as online programs and talks from astronauts and veterans that can be watched on Zoom.

The Exploratorium in San Francisco has a vast collection of online resources on many different science topics, including a collection of videos and activities called “Viruses and Us” to help kids learn about coronaviruses.

 

Science Podcasts

A number of science podcasts for kids have started up in recent years.

Tumble tells stories about scientific discoveries with the help of scientists. Recent episodes explore where viruses come from and explain how to become an astronaut.

The Show About Science podcast was started by Nate Butkus and his dad when Nate was just five years old. In each episode, Nate interviews an expert guest to learn about science topics and how the world works.

Another popular podcast for kids is Brains On!, a science variety show from American Public Media that now has more than 100 episodes. Each week, a different child co-host joins host Molly Bloom to find answers to kid questions about the world. Topics are wide-ranging and include everything from why we lie to how elevators work.

Wow in the World, produced by NPR, tackles scientific topics such as climate change and the science of trees and makes them accessible for kids. This podcast recently added an interactive, science-based daily game show called “Two Whats and a Wow.”


For more entertaining science programs online: 

Betsy Bird Recommends Science Videos for the Reluctant Homeschool Teacher.


 

Science Shows and YouTube Channels

On YouTube, families can find all kinds of videos about space and the natural world, and also learn how to do experiments at home.

The NASA channel has more than 2,000 videos, covering all things related to space exploration. You can see an astronaut brush her teeth on the International Space Station and learn about a new rover headed to Mars.

Another popular channel is TheDadLab, which is run by a stay at home father who performs simple science experiments with his two young sons. His videos teach viewers how to make a lava lamp and melt ice with salt, for example. These experiments use household items and can all easily be done at home.

National Geographic for Kids has a fun YouTube video series called “Cool Science Experiments.” Videos show kid-friendly experiments done with water, ice cream, eggs, and more.

Physics Girl is a channel hosted by a physicist named Dianna Cowern. In her videos, she teaches viewers about physics and other scientific concepts through experiments and demonstrations. These videos are best for kids ages eight and up, since some of the concepts are a little advanced.

SciShow Kids is geared at younger children, and uses animation to help explain scientific concepts. These colorful videos cover everything from plant life to simple machines, and there are also plenty of experiments kids can try at home.


Melanie Kletter is an educator and freelance writer and editor.

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