Right Turn: Are your kids bored yet? Turn to these summer science distractions

Author: Stacey Johnson, 07/21/17

After 10 months of preparing lunches, doing homework, attending dance, hockey, piano lessons (or feel free to insert whatever else fits), the unstructured, lazy, hazy days of summer are a welcome relief. Until they aren’t anymore. If your little person or tween is in serious need of some distraction, here are some educational recommendations of the scientific variety.

Let’s start with podcasts. I found Brains On (“features science for kids and curious adults”) myself, but it’s also number one on Lindsay Patterson’s list of 19 Great Science Podcasts You Can Listen To With Kids. If your kids are older, there’s Scientific American’s 60-Second Science and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk, which “bridges the intersection between science, pop culture and comedy with clarity, humor and passion.” And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention six-year-old Nate who has his own science podcast. Blogger Laine Jaremey featured him in her post about science communications.

Looking for some good books to read? Irv Weissman – yes, that Irving Weissman – has written “Stem Cells Are Everywhere.” Buy your copy here. Another book about stem cells, for even younger readers, is Thomai Dion’s book on stem cells in her series called Think-A-Lot-Tots. Learn the backstory for this particular story here. And expanding to science books for youth, the Canadian Science Writers’ Association offers awards that recognize excellence in promoting a better understanding of science by the public. Here is their 2016 winner and also the short list. (The winner and short list in the adult category are mixed in so you might find a good read for yourself.)

Further to books above, here’s some more great reading in the form of journal articles. Frontiers for Young Minds, with the tagline “science edited for kids, by kids,” features content from “distinguished” scientists that is adapted, as needed, by the young editorial staff to make it suitable for the journal’s young readers. The American Library Association recognized Frontiers as a great website for kids in 2014. You can find stem cell articles here and some regenerative medicine content here.

If your child likes videos and you don’t mind him or her getting hooked on physics, Physics Girl, aka Dianna Cowern, produces videos that are hours of fun and learning. You can learn more about her here.

And finally, here’s an interactive video, produced by the University of Utah, that will keep your young one engaged for the next few minutes. Let me know in the comments what you/your child liked best or other content you recommend.

Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stacey Johnson

Stacey Johnson

For almost 20 years, Stacey has been providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health organizations. Prior to that, Stacey was at the CTV Television Network, first as a researcher, then as a story producer for “Goldhawk Fights Back,” a special ombudsman segment that aired weekly on the National News and Canada AM. Before joining CCRM as the Director, Communications and Marketing, Stacey was the Director of Communications for the Canadian Arthritis Network. Stacey is editor of Signals. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.
Stacey Johnson

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2 Responses

  1. Hamideh Emrani says:

    Such a great list and quite timely too.

    For younger kids like mine what we do every morning is to walk to the park and look around for interesting stuff. We sometimes even research about them afterwards. So far we have seen Cicadas, learned about their 17 year life underground, spiders and the difference between spider web and cob-web. Today we spotted a family of raccoons just wondering around the park, will research about possibility of evolution in their nocturnal life style.

    Will definitely add activities from your list to their routine.

    Thanks Stacey!

  2. Stacey Johnson says:

    Great ideas Hamideh. Thanks for sharing. Fresh air, free, learning about the world around them…smart mom!

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