One of the joys of grandparenting is gently nudging our grandchildren toward top-quality learning experiences. We can buy them books for their birthdays and take them on educational field trips. We can champion local museums and introduce them to the arts.
Another way we can enrich their lives is to direct them to online websites where they’ll learn rather than just play games. Educational websites are popping up all over the worldwide web and here are some of the best ones for science learning.
How Stuff Works
This site is designed for teens and adults. It originated in 1998, the brainchild of a college professor and has grown to an award-winning source of unbiased, easy-to-understand answers and explanations of how the world actually works.
Offering articles, videos and podcasts this site is absolutely bursting with information. If you’re wondering how honey is made, how the new autonomous cars run or the latest on cures for cancer, you’re at the right web address.
Browse www.howstuffworks.com to see the vast array of information available to the public. Topics cover science, money, technology, health, education, government, culture and more. Search the site and you’re bound to find information both you and your grandkids can use and enjoy.
The Exploratorium is a real live science museum located on Pier 15 of the Embarcadero district of San Francisco. But their website is nearly as exciting.
“The online Exploratorium is an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception—a vast collection of online experiences that feed your curiosity.” So says the blurb on the website’s home page. Your kids aged ten and up will love this site.
You’ll find tons of articles, activities, blog posts, videos and apps for ipads and iphones—all focused on science topics such as geology, electricity and magnetism, the arts, astronomy and space, energy, earth, ocean and the atmosphere… and the list goes on.
Spend some time at www.exploratorium.edu and you’ll be captivated by the sheer enormity of information to be gleaned at this amazing science website.
Try Science is a power-packed website that collaborates with the New York Hall of Science, IBM, plus hundreds of member institutions of the Association of Science-Technology Centers. It is a site to be used as a resource by adults to plan science lessons and field trips. It also offers live cams to support lessons.
Try Science also has a Kids Try Science tab with dozens of hands-on experiments to use with your grandkids. You can build and test a paper bridge, explore the elements of sound and sound waves, make a marble run or a rocket pinwheel. These STEM projects are just what kids need these days to be current with their science understandings.
Hop on Try Science and research a unique science experience near you, or gather information on a topic of interest to your grandkids. You might even choose an experiment and conduct it together with your grandchild—just imagine what you might learn. www.tryscience.org
Science Toys enables average grandparents and their grandkids to create science toys at home using only common household items. You’ll create and demonstrate basic scientific principles in your own home!
Projects are taken from a wide variety of science topics including thermodynamics, biology, electromagnetism and aerodynamics. Would you like to extract DNA from that old Halloween pumpkin? Or maybe you’d like to learn how to do photography through a microscope. You can make a solar cell, a homemade battery or a Bernoulli ball.
It’s a wonderful thing to encourage your grandkids to learn independently and this site has what it takes to go beyond classroom learning to hands-on projects that really boost learning. www.scitoys.com
National Geographic Kids
This website focuses on nature, animals and habitat, ecology, plus world geography and history. It offers educational videos on a wide variety of topics plus games to support these topics. You might watch a video on life in a jungle and then play the game called “It’s a Jungle Out There.”
Click on the animal link to learn all about a nudibranch or a sun bear. Find puzzles and quizzes on your favorite desert animal. Watch a video on Science with Sophie or watch a battle between a centipede and a mouse.
Nature comes to life on National Geographic Kids and kids of all ages will enjoy it. www.kids.nationalgeographic.com