Q&A: Where to Get Ideas for a Science Project

Q&A from Living Life at Home

Q: Where do you get  ideas for science projects?

A: Most of our science project ideas come from the kids. They want to try something, or they are showing an interest in something.

For example, two years ago, my oldest son (then 8yo) was asking a lot of questions about electricity, and really wanted to play with the electrity experiment kit I picked up at a used curriculum sale a few years back, that became his science project.

Last Spring when a colony of bees moved into the eaves of our house, my 5 year old came running in asking if she could study bees for science. So we learned about bees.

But sometimes I do make suggestions, particularly if I’m trying to fill a gap in their education. 

During our Summer of Science two years ago, my oldest daughter checked out every science project book she could from the library and sent through it with her brother, marking all the experiments that they wanted to try.

 There was no way we could do them all, but it was an exercise in them figuring out what looked interesting (and they learned something in the process) and expanded their idea of what a science project could look like.

If you are trying to fill a gap, or meet the requirements for a science project needed for a science fair or outside class project,  here’s my advice:

5 yo showing off that habitat she built for her latest insect 'pet'

5 yo showing off that habitat she built for her latest insect study

Ask your child what they are interested in, or listen and watch what they are talking about and exploring.

Then do a search online for “science project” and the area of study – or go to the library and look up that area of study plus “science experiment” “science project”, or “science fair”. 

At the library, the idea books are stored in the dewey decimal system by the area of study, i.e., chemistry, botony, geology, etc. And there are some great resources available – both online and at the library.

So for example, if your child keeps bringing you rocks and talking to you about rocks, then look up “geology science experiments” and “geology science project” at the library or in Google.

If your child is interested in mixing things and seeing what will happen (aka chemistry), look up “chemistry science experiments” and “chemistry science projects.”

If they are into bugs and insects, well… you get the idea.

AND, because I’m prefer to have kids interested in what they are doing, I would let your kids choose from an selection of experiments. Let them make the final choice, based on the criteria you are trying to meet.

 One last thing, I do try to make sure that my kids have plenty of materials around. When I see a deal on a kit or tools and I have some money to spend, then I’ll buy it. That way, when the need arises we have things available to do.  Basically, I like to strew things in their path, and if they are curious, let them explore it further.

Click to Download Your Free Copy of The Non-Scientist Parent's Guide to Science Projects

Click on the picture to download your FREE Guide to Science Projects

If you are in a crunch and are looking for a science project for a science fair, expand out your google search for “science fair ideas”. 

Or, if you like things all spelled out for you, you might like my friend Kayla’s ebooks. She’s done over 25 science fair projects with her four boys, and knows her stuff.  Just download this FREE ebook “The Non-Scientist Parent’s Guide to Science Projects” and Kayla will get you started.

Either way, just enjoy the exploration. Science is a lot of fun and the key thing to remember is that science isn’t just about learning facts and information, but also exploration, and testing out thoughts and ideas and seeing if they prove to be true or not. Have fun with it!

…Shannon

P.S. Q&A posts are inspired by questions by moms just like you, if you have advice to add, please leave a comment below.  I’d love to read your insights.  Have a question you’d like answered? Just send me an email.

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