How can I help my child to think scientifically?

Scientific thinking is based on things that children naturally have in abundance—curiosity, energy, and playfulness! While it may sound too easy to be true, a great way to develop scientific thinking is to let children explore and play. As children explore the everyday world, ask questions, and start developing theories about how the world works, they are well on their way to thinking like a scientist. And, research shows that it is extremely important that children have early exposure to scientific thinking. According to science education professor Robert Tai, “most young people’s science aspirations and views of science are formed during the primary years and have solidified by the age of 14, by which point the idea of science as ‘not for me’ becomes very difficult to change.” We can change that dire path by capitalizing on children’s fascination with the everyday world.

Elizabeth Bagley, Ph.D.

LeapFrog Learning Expert

At LeapFrog, Elizabeth works with toy and game designers to teach science concepts in developmentally appropriate ways using research-based techniques. Before joining LeapFrog, Elizabeth studied game-based assessment at the University of Illinois, taught science, and served as a naturalist at Glacier National Park. Her two boys bring lots of inspiration and exploration to her life. Elizabeth earned joint doctorates in Educational Psychology and Environment and Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.