A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

Parents: Help Your Kids Learn Cause and Effect

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Kids are always learning new things, but did you know the way you talk with them and play with them can make them better scientists?

How do you talk with your child when they’re playing? A new study shows the way you interact could affect how they learn about the world around them. Scientists examined four-to-six-year-olds and their parents while they visited a science museum. The parents were instructed to explain or explore while they played together at a gear exhibit. Explanation techniques involved asking kids to explain what happens when using the gears. Exploration encouraged kids to explore or try new things with the gears.

Results showed how parents interacted with their kids affected how the children engaged with the gears. Kids in the explanation group talked more about the gear mechanisms, while the exploration group spent more time connecting gears. Researchers say this experiment reveals that simple interventions could help children engage more deeply in learning about the scientific process.

Research has shown that simply going to museums may have a positive impact on how kids learn. For example, one study found children who visit museums have higher achievement in reading, math, and science.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Sources: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cdev.13232, https://www.imls.gov/blog/2014/04/children-who-visit-museums-have-higher-achievement-reading-math-and-science)

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