For my younger children there is very little difference between science and technology, art and and crafts… in fact no difference at all. They are all about creating and discovering and exploring… new things and new topics. I have been searching for a new book, for my junior scientists, one they haven’t seen before and one that they can dive into and explore with a fresh enthusiasm. Let me introduce the book that my youngest three will be using for school science this year:
My requirements for a science experiment book
- It has to Inspire: My first requirement is that it has to look enticing. The photographs and directions in this book are very clear and one very much gets an “I can do this” feel from it. More than that it looks so fun that it has an “I want to do this feel to it.”
- A Wide Range of Topics: I am looking for a good introduction to many scientific topics. This book has a wide menu: gases, light, plants, electricity, motion and magnets… and a heap more to choose from. Something that tells a child, “I really like to experiment with plants,” let’s explore plant experiments further or, “I really like magnetism,” let’s look for more experiments like these magnetic experiments is a giant win for me.
- There Must Be Easy Access: Any parent wants science to be fun and accessible to their kids, and I need experiments that my kids can do with materials that we have lying around the house… each experiment comes with a photograph of exactly what you need and it is indeed things like: a candle, an elastic band, food colouring and so on. A lot of the requirements can be found in the kitchen, the stationary drawer or the recycling bin. A basic magnet set would be a nice addition and a bulb holder or two for the electronics would be great for one or two experiments.
- It Must be Empowering: I love a book that is enabling. For most of the experiments, they can follow the photographic instructions and do them themselves, with almost no help at all. For a child on the brink of a scientific enquiry it is fundamental that they do the experiments and exploring themselves… watching someone else make a volcano is never quite as magical as when you make it yourself.
- There have to be Interesting Facts: It’s not just experiments, there are little information boxes throughout the book, on almost every page. Short and to the point for beginner readers, just above the level of easy readers… nice for me, because my kids will ask what it says and them I have a fairly good idea that our kitchen is about to become an electronic workshop or concoction laboratory. The fact boxes really explain the reasons behind the experiments or provide a real life application, for example you can make a banjo out a box… but this is how an electric guitar works.
- Good Scientific Method and Directions: There is a lot to learn in science, and with this book being a DK book, the experiments are beautifully laid out and the photography fantastic… in real life, things might not look quite as good. The clean crisp work surfaces that you find in the book, might not quite be what you are working with on your kitchen counter. No to mention, with some young gung-ho scientists… experiments don’t always work well and they can look back carefully and see where they might have left out a step or not been precise and gone wrong.
- Cater for a Range of Abilities: I have to say that while there are lots of simple experiments that children can perform over and over again, while playing at the kitchen sink… there are a fair number of really excellent technology experiments that my kids would never have dreamt they could do, let alone on their own. Immediately my children wanted to make marble paper… but equally they wanted to make their own simple camera. We grow enough mould as it is, but they have never built a wobble detector. My middle school kids are dying to get to grips with some of the technology projects in this book… dying!!!
- We All Have to Like It: My final requirement is really my own… I have to like the book as much as they do. There is nothing better than a book that my kids want to dive in and explore, that I think is great too. So often they bring books from the library that have a couple of steps missing, or explanations that leave you pondering over, with no solution. You know those books that cause more conflict than anything and leave parents struggling with ridiculous experiment fails while their children wander off and play. This book has none of that… it looks fun, the kids are keen and ready to go and so am I.
And the se7en +1th…
This book meets all our requirements for a great science experiment book… and you can take a look inside the book at the DK Website.
This book was given to us by Penguin Random House, South Africa, for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post and the opinions expressed are as usual, entirely our own.