5 Reasons to Choose a Hands-On Science Curriculum And Great Hands-On Science Resources

I’ve shared before that science was one subject I really disliked in school that I now find myself enjoying as a homeschooling mom. One of the reasons I think that I didn’t like science is because our science- even in elementary school- was not very hands-on. Teaching my own children I’ve learned to love science. And I especially enjoy using science curricula that is very hands-on.

If you’re considering what kind of resources to use for your homeschool science, here are five reasons that a hands-on curriculum is a great choice. And, at the end of the post, I’m sharing some great hands-on science curricula and supplemental resources.

Hands-on science resources

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When kids have opportunities to actively do something with what they’re learning, they listen and understand better.

Let’s face it. Science concepts are often dry and dusty. Sometimes explaining a scientific principle can come across as gibberish to a young child- or even an older student. When kids just read or sit and listen to science material read, they can begin to tune out what they’re reading or hearing. If they aren’t engaging in the material, those dry science facts can go in one ear and out another.

When kids engage in a hands-on activity- an experiment, a project, a demonstration- they move from just hearing and reading to actually being involved. Demonstrating the concepts gives them a way to connect with what they’re learning and it can make the learning more relevant and easier to understand.

Some science concepts have to be explained and observed to really make sense.

Science is all about observation. We have the scientific principles that we have and use today because scientists took time to observe and record observations. These principles are based on what has been observed.

Because observation is how these scientific principles came about, students can understand them better through observation. It’s one thing to read in technical words about the water cycle. Kids may or may not understand those concepts like “evaporation” or “condensation.” But when you replicate the water cycle in a jar, kids can see it happening and understand what it all means.

Hands-on activities engage children with that learning style.

Reading and listening are learning styles. Children who are good at typical school work are often strong in those learning styles. But children who are hands-on learners aren’t so good at comprehending information they’ve only heard or read.

Bringing hands-on activities into the mix gives children with that learning style another way to get information. And any time you can use multiple learning styles to present a concept, it’s good because more kids are then able to understand using their learning style strength.

The scientific method is best demonstrated by using it in hands-on activities to answer questions.

All of science revolves around the scientific method. Throughout science education, kids learn the steps of the scientific method and how those steps have led to scientific discoveries. They also learn that when they follow the scientific method, they can test possible answers to a question, and they learn that they can use the scientific method to think through questions they come up with.

The scientific method is best understood when you’re using it. Giving kids hands-on opportunities to do experiments gives them opportunities to use the scientific method. Younger children can learn simplistic ways of conducting experiments. And as they get older, students can learn the detailed steps of the scientific method and how to use it.

Hands-on learning is just more fun.

It’s a fact: doing is much more fun than just sitting and hearing. Having kids read page after page of science material or having them listen to us read or explain isn’t very exciting. But hands-on projects and experiments are fun.

With some science books I’ve tried to use, I can see the kids’ eyes glaze over when I bring out the book to read some lengthy passage. But when I break out a curriculum with lots of hands-on activities, they actually ask to do science.

Hands-on science resources

Hands-On Science Resources

We’ve really enjoyed the Christian Kids Explore Science Series from Bright Ideas Press. Featuring biology, creation science, earth and space, chemistry, and physics, the books are for elementary and middle school. Although there are some worksheets, much of the curriculum is all about getting kids into science with hands-on activities. I shared some of our experiences with this curriculum here.

Real Science 4 Kids is an elementary/middle school science curriculum that is built on the concept of kids doing science to learn science. They have two different series. In one series, kids will cycle through the different science subjects each year. In the other, kids will focus on one science topic at a time. Both approaches are filled with hands-on activities.

Green Kid Crafts is a subscription box service that brings STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) activities to your door each month. Each month’s box has a theme. Kids get 4-8 activities and supplies as well as a book and a magazine with more hands-on activities.

Kiwi Crate is another subscription box service. With Kiwi Crate, kids get a hands-on Maker project each month that includes the materials and instructions, as well as online instructions for more activities.

We’ve loved using Janice VanCleave’s hands-on science books like this one with 201 science experiments. Her books are great for using common things you likely have around the house to do simple experiments and demonstrations to explain scientific concepts.

A few years ago we had the opportunity to review Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers by Susan Kilbride. This awesome book has twenty units covering scientific topics. Some are for ages 4-7 and some for ages 8-13 (although we found that most could be adapted for older and younger kids). Each unit is filled with fun hands-on learning activities, and most of them use easy-to-find materials. You can see my review here.

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When you’re looking for science curricula, make sure that you’re choosing one that is going to involve kids in hands-on activities. Whether it’s formal experiment labs for high school students or demonstrations and projects for young children, having a hands-on science curriculum is important…and it will make for a much more interesting and fun science time.

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