Chemistry is an important subject in any child’s education. Just like any subject your child studies at school, it’s only natural that you’d like them to do as well academically as possible.
So, if your child has:
- Shown an interest in chemistry as a potential career path;
- An aptitude for chemistry as a subject at school; or
- Struggled in the past with chemistry lessons, and could do with some additional work to help improve their marks in chemistry,
Then it can really be beneficial to supplement your child’s knowledge of chemistry at home.
Below are just six different suggestions for how you can complement the chemistry lessons your child should learn at school from the comfort of your home. Of course, it’s worthwhile noting that the below list is not exhaustive and that you might find another way to help improve your child’s chemistry marks!
The most important thing is to see which methods of learning best suit your child and adopt home learning techniques accordingly. It’s also worth taking into account how old your child is when considering the below approaches. Certain experiments, for example, may not be as suitable for younger children.
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1. Supplement Your Child’s Learning At Home
Chemistry is a broad and complicated subject that allows experienced learners to study different aspects of chemistry, including:
- Environmental chemistry;
- Biochemistry; and
- How chemistry shows how materials interact with one another.
However, in order to gain extensive knowledge of any field, the basics have to be learnt. That’s why learning about the basics of chemistry at home can be a great place to start if your child has shown an interest in chemistry, or would like to pursue a chemistry-related career in the future.
How you can supplement your child’s existing knowledge of chemistry will largely depend on how much they already know and how old the child is.
For example, if your child is already at school, has been taught a little about chemistry and seems enthusiastic to learn more about the subject, then you could look at improving their knowledge of the subject in a number of different ways. For instance, you could:
- Spend some one on one time helping your child with their chemistry homework to try to ensure they’ve fully understood the content of the lesson and accompanying homework task; or
- Encourage them to learn more about the chemistry syllabus they are studying – perhaps by looking at science topics that will be covered in future lessons, or by helping them research previous lesson topics in greater depth.
Of course, if you want to help your child learn more about chemistry but you have limited knowledge of the subject yourself, then you can also achieve the above results through the use of a tutor, who can be found through websites such as Superprof.
Equally, if your kid is not yet old enough to go to school and learn about chemistry there, there are other ways to pique their interest in basic chemistry - for example by showing them videos of different chemical reactions online, giving them a crash course in kitchen chemistry through baking, or buying them a collection of science toys.
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2. Watch A Variety Of Science Programmes
There’s no escaping the fact that we now live in a digital age. As a result, the vast majority of children are already familiar with having tablets, laptops, TVs and mobile phones as a source of information.
One of the great things about technology is that it can be used for educational purposes. Educational TV shows about science can be a wonderful way of teaching children more about the world of chemistry and science as a whole.
For instance, the BBC has some short videos that cover chemistry topics, including Chemistry: A Volatile History, which explores topics including the formation of the periodic table. There’s also the slightly older show, Bill Nye the Science Guy, which nevertheless can teach kids some interesting facts about science in an engaging way.
3. Look At Different Chemistry Sets For Kids
One of the more fun ways to get children to engage with the world of chemistry is to encourage them to try out some experiments with their own chemistry set!
A chemistry set is a brilliant way for children to play, while at the same time helping children learn more about the principles of chemistry and chemical processes.
What’s more, you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of space in your house to set up a chemistry set or station for your children – a small desk will suffice. You also don't need to recreate a science laboratory and have every microscope, beaker, or test tube to create a fun learning environment.
As with everything chemistry related, before undertaking any chemistry experiments or science projects make sure that the ingredients used in the experiment are child-safe. It’s also worth considering a variety of other factors when putting a chemistry set together, including:
- Whether you’re looking to buy a set from a shop or make your own;
- How old your child is (and so how much supervision they may need when it comes to tasks such as measuring); and
- What kind of experiments you’d like your child to try out.
For ease, we outline some easy home science experiments that you can undertake at home below.
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4. Try Fun Chemistry Experiments At Home
Building on the idea of getting your child a chemistry set, another way to teach children about how exciting chemistry can be is to encourage them to carry out easy experiments at home.
We’ve all seen a chemical volcano experiment before, which is created using a combination of baking soda and vinegar, and perhaps a dash of food colouring – so why not start your child off with similar experiments?
Often, these science experiments require just a few household ingredients, are easy to carry out and observe, and can teach your child about how certain chemical elements and substances react with one another. In short - they're a great teaching tool for any budding chemist or scientist!
For example, you could try to make slime with your child, check out invisible ink, conduct experiments that teach lessons about magnetism or static electricity, or opt for a more explosive chemistry experiment by adding Mentos to a bottle of Diet Coke.
If you want to do the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment, be sure to only do it in an outdoor space unless you want a huge stream of bubbles to soak an indoor room!
Some other common experiments that may be worth trying are outlined in a video from the BBC. These experiments should keep your child entertained for a number of hours as they observe the weird and wonderful processes that each science experiment highlights.
5. Expand Kids’ Knowledge With Chemistry Books
Although this is the more traditional way of teaching your child about chemistry, there is a lot to be said for having your child read chemistry books.
Chemistry books, just like biology and physics books, don’t always have to be stuffy and boring.
In fact, there are lots of educational books available today that aim to make learning more fun for the reader, whether those books are teaching kids about chemical change and chemical reactions, different types of fun science, or the difference between acids and alkalis.
So, if your kid enjoys reading and has shown an interest in chemistry, why not combine the two?
For example, some books you could look into are:
- Molecule Mayhem by Tom Adams;
- Fizz, Bubble & Flash! Element Explorations & Atom Adventures for Hands-On Science Fun! By Anita Brandolini; or
- Chemical Chaos in the Horrible Science series by Nick Arnold.
Naturally, educational books, including chemistry books, are often written with different age ranges in mind, so it’s a case of having a look around and seeing which books come highly recommended within your child’s age bracket.
6. Spark Their Curiosity For Chemistry
The final tip on this list for how you can help your kids learn chemistry at home isn’t strictly home-based. Nevertheless, it can be a wonderful way to help develop your child’s knowledge of chemistry in an environment outside of school.
This is because the final tip is to try and take your kids out to a local science museum, or perhaps even to a science or chemistry-related event, when possible.
There are many benefits to going to visit a museum, a science fair, or similar event. For instance:
- It can help a child learn about different aspects of chemistry that they weren’t previously aware of; and
- It shows that chemistry isn’t just a theoretical science and that it has real-world applications.
- Your child can hopefully see some science experiments or a demonstration being conducted in-person, supplementing any classroom study.
Hopefully, the above six tips will give you enough inspiration to encourage your child’s budding interest in chemistry. If you are still looking for any further advice or tips on how to teach your kids chemistry at home, then there is always the possibility of turning to a physics and chemistry tutor for some tips and advice.
Superprof has a range of chemistry tutors who are happy to provide both online and in-person tuition services – it’s just a case of searching through Superprof’s database to find the right chemistry teacher for you and your child!