The Fun Side of Science
BabyBrains®' motto is THE FUN SIDE OF SCIENCE, and it is one of the rare places where fun appears at the side of Science. But is that right? What is science really? Wikipedia will tell you that it is a systematic enterprise that builds and organises knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. In other words, it is to figure out how things work, to test what you believe to be true, and to make predictions based on what you have learned.
What does a child do when she plays? She tries to figure out how the world works (for instance, how do objects move in space?), she finds way to test her ideas (for instance, by seeing what happens if you drop a spoon form the high chair) until she is able to predict what will happen (for instance, will the spoon always fall to the ground? You need to try a few million times before you can confidently make predictions!). And she has a lot of fun all along the way.
So not only children are scientists; they are happy ones. They enjoy the whole process of figuring out, testing, and revising their hypotheses. Fun is the very fuel behind their thirst of knowledge and their untiring motivation to pursue it. There is no concept of failure or frustration, just a collection of experiences that, considered together, will tell us something about “the universe”, whether it is about a spoon falling to the ground or the Earth being attracted to the Sun. (If you wish, you can read more about this in the beautiful book: “The scientist in the crib: What early learning tells us about the mind”).
Raising a child is a great opportunity for parents to connect back to that fun way of “doing science” we all know from our childhood days. Looking at the world in a scientific way does not have anything to do with how much you love maths or how long your studies have been. It simply means that you do not take things for granted, that you are willing to experiment and to take on board whatever results you might get, that you are looking for knowledge and not for a quick fix.
The good news is that your brain (like your child’s) is hard-wired to function in this way and it helps you along the way making you experience “curiosity” and “fun” as you research, experiment and learn. Sharing this with your child makes for a wonderful way of growing up together, as well as enhancing the child’s and your own cognitive functioning.