How can I get my scientist to be neater with his “experiments”?


As parents, we want to encourage our children’s natural curiosity, but we just wish our little scientists could find a way to be a little less messy! Here are a few ways to minimize the mess, while still encouraging your son to explore and learn about the world around him. The first is to find a location for him to conduct his “experiments” that is easy to clean up such as the kitchen, bathtub, driveway, or backyard. Lay a vinyl shower curtain, plastic tablecloth, splash mat (I like Mimi the Sardine Splashmats), old bed sheet or drop-cloth on the ground to make clean-up fast and easy. If you don’t have time to clean up a mess, look for toys that are less messy but still encourage important scientific skills such as creativity (e.g., Lego, Goldie Blox), exploration (e.g., bug catcher, binoculars), observation (e.g., “I Spy” books and games), and flexible thinking (e.g., the cooperative game “Obstacles” by Eeboo).

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.