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Starting a lab for my daughter. Input appreciated!!!


Shijune
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Well I'm new here and this is my first post, so I hope I picked the right place to post this. My daughter is turning 6 in about two weeks. For her birthday I asked her what educational things she would like that she wants to learn about and would find fun. She specifically told me she wanted to learn about DNA, more about life cycles (plants and animals), etc. and she asked me for a microscope. Then she blurted out that she really wanted her own science lab.

I am going to give a bit of background on my daughter so maybe my questions could be easily answered. My daughter has been watching documentaries with me voluntarily from the age of about 3 1/2. She loves all things dinosaurs and is very knowledgable about them, including their eating preferances, names, etc. I was watching a documentary with her about ecosystems. At this time she was about 4 1/2. She specifically asked me what would happen to the ecosystem (in her words) if all of one type of animal or organism disappeared. I'm mentioning this because I'm not sure a kid at that age normally would have the comprehension or presence of mind to even think of a question like that.

Anyhow, because it is educational and she got so excited I decided to get her a table and chair for her own lab area, along with microscope, slides, slide covers, a box to keep permanent slides in, lab coat, safety glasses, disposable gloves, trash can, desk lamp, etc. I also got her a mini indoor greenhouse kit with seeds for the tickle me plant, a DNA kit, a science experiment book, and a microscope book. She is also getting an ant farm. I still need to pick up a lab journal. I realize this might be a bit overkill for a 6 year old's birthday but I am excited to see her so excited about this and really want to encourage her love of science.

With all that said, I would not let her store unsafe chemicals or instruments in her room and would obviously be helping with experiments, reading, and journaling. What I am wanting to know is, is there anything else that I should add to what I've already purchased to get her started? I am trying to keep this as child safe as possible while keeping it challenging. I realize she is young still, but she does tend to ask me questions about things I am learning in college classes.

I am going to rearrange her room so her 2x4 ft. lab desk will be in there (along with storage cart). Also Some of the things I ordered say they are for ages 8 or 9+ (the books and DNA kit specifically) but I felt that with the scope of questions she asks me and random facts she tells me that the books and things for younger kids would not hold her attention as much. Am I on the right track here?

I tried looking online for kid science lab setups and tried several word combinations but couldn't find anything suggesting what would be sufficient to start with or how to decorate the surrounding area to make it seem like an actual lab. I want to make it feel as authentic for her as I possibly can. I would have listed the specific microscope, DNA kit, and books I ordered but think I saw someone flagged for doing that. Sorry for the long ramble! But I feel like I had to get that out there in order to get some good suggestions. And thanks for reading! 

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9 minutes ago, Shijune said:

Well I'm new here and this is my first post, so I hope I picked the right place to post this. My daughter is turning 6 in about two weeks. For her birthday I asked her what educational things she would like that she wants to learn about and would find fun. She specifically told me she wanted to learn about DNA, more about life cycles (plants and animals), etc. and she asked me for a microscope. Then she blurted out that she really wanted her own science lab.

I am going to give a bit of background on my daughter so maybe my questions could be easily answered. My daughter has been watching documentaries with me voluntarily from the age of about 3 1/2. She loves all things dinosaurs and is very knowledgable about them, including their eating preferances, names, etc. I was watching a documentary with her about ecosystems. At this time she was about 4 1/2. She specifically asked me what would happen to the ecosystem (in her words) if all of one type of animal or organism disappeared. I'm mentioning this because I'm not sure a kid at that age normally would have the comprehension or presence of mind to even think of a question like that.

Anyhow, because it is educational and she got so excited I decided to get her a table and chair for her own lab area, along with microscope, slides, slide covers, a box to keep permanent slides in, lab coat, safety glasses, disposable gloves, trash can, desk lamp, etc. I also got her a mini indoor greenhouse kit with seeds for the tickle me plant, a DNA kit, a science experiment book, and a microscope book. She is also getting an ant farm. I still need to pick up a lab journal. I realize this might be a bit overkill for a 6 year old's birthday but I am excited to see her so excited about this and really want to encourage her love of science.

With all that said, I would not let her store unsafe chemicals or instruments in her room and would obviously be helping with experiments, reading, and journaling. What I am wanting to know is, is there anything else that I should add to what I've already purchased to get her started? I am trying to keep this as child safe as possible while keeping it challenging. I realize she is young still, but she does tend to ask me questions about things I am learning in college classes.

I am going to rearrange her room so her 2x4 ft. lab desk will be in there (along with storage cart). Also Some of the things I ordered say they are for ages 8 or 9+ (the books and DNA kit specifically) but I felt that with the scope of questions she asks me and random facts she tells me that the books and things for younger kids would not hold her attention as much. Am I on the right track here?

I tried looking online for kid science lab setups and tried several word combinations but couldn't find anything suggesting what would be sufficient to start with or how to decorate the surrounding area to make it seem like an actual lab. I want to make it feel as authentic for her as I possibly can. I would have listed the specific microscope, DNA kit, and books I ordered but think I saw someone flagged for doing that. Sorry for the long ramble! But I feel like I had to get that out there in order to get some good suggestions. And thanks for reading! 

Sounds like you are already doing lots of good things for her.

Hopefully you realise she will not see DNA with the sort of microscope you are talking about  - That sort probably costs more than your house.

Thnking and asking about abstract things she can't see at age 6. Wow.

May I also suggest some horizon broadening ?

Cooking with mummy helps learn how to handle materials.

I don't know where you live but perhaps you could take her to a Science Centre, there are some really good ones in Europe (including the UK).

Also try to link to things you can see such as plants, animals and the world around her. The changing seasons. some fresh air. Maybe visit a farm.

Tell here the world is one big laboratory.

But don't get to heavy.

That's my advice for starters.

:)

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13 hours ago, Shijune said:

Well I'm new here and this is my first post, so I hope I picked the right place to post this. My daughter is turning 6 in about two weeks. For her birthday I asked her what educational things she would like that she wants to learn about and would find fun. She specifically told me she wanted to learn about DNA, more about life cycles (plants and animals), etc. and she asked me for a microscope. Then she blurted out that she really wanted her own science lab.

I am going to give a bit of background on my daughter so maybe my questions could be easily answered. My daughter has been watching documentaries with me voluntarily from the age of about 3 1/2. She loves all things dinosaurs and is very knowledgable about them, including their eating preferances, names, etc. I was watching a documentary with her about ecosystems. At this time she was about 4 1/2. She specifically asked me what would happen to the ecosystem (in her words) if all of one type of animal or organism disappeared. I'm mentioning this because I'm not sure a kid at that age normally would have the comprehension or presence of mind to even think of a question like that

Anyhow, because it is educational and she got so excited I decided to get her a table and chair for her own lab area, along with microscope, slides, slide covers, a box to keep permanent slides in, lab coat, safety glasses, disposable gloves, trash can, desk lamp, etc. I also got her a mini indoor greenhouse kit with seeds for the tickle me plant, a DNA kit, a science experiment book, and a microscope book. She is also getting an ant farm. I still need to pick up a lab journal. I realize this might be a bit overkill for a 6 year old's birthday but I am excited to see her so excited about this and really want to encourage her love of science.

With all that said, I would not let her store unsafe chemicals or instruments in her room and would obviously be helping with experiments, reading, and journaling. What I am wanting to know is, is there anything else that I should add to what I've already purchased to get her started? I am trying to keep this as child safe as possible while keeping it challenging. I realize she is young still, but she does tend to ask me questions about things I am learning in college classes.

I am going to rearrange her room so her 2x4 ft. lab desk will be in there (along with storage cart). Also Some of the things I ordered say they are for ages 8 or 9+ (the books and DNA kit specifically) but I felt that with the scope of questions she asks me and random facts she tells me that the books and things for younger kids would not hold her attention as much. Am I on the right track here?

I tried looking online for kid science lab setups and tried several word combinations but couldn't find anything suggesting what would be sufficient to start with or how to decorate the surrounding area to make it seem like an actual lab. I want to make it feel as authentic for her as I possibly can. I would have listed the specific microscope, DNA kit, and books I ordered but think I saw someone flagged for doing that. Sorry for the long ramble! But I feel like I had to get that out there in order to get some good suggestions. And thanks for reading! 

Ok so this wat i needed....

Edited by Phi for All
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That is a rather precocious child!  There are many things children can do to learn about scientific activities and which don't require dangerous chemicals or tools.  Microscope is a good start, for sure.  (she sounds a lot like me at around age 7-8, mere words can barely describe my excitement looking at my first samples of pond water, and human blood)  Ant farms are classic, and fun.  At the other end of the scale, there's the telescope (though those can require a bit more parental participation if you live where there is a lot of urban light pollution and need to drive out into the countryside -- an older child can join an astronomy club and join group trips to "star parties").  There are also simple kits for making electrical circuits and which don't require household current, just batteries.  There's also that classic naturalist's observational tool:  binoculars.  Some quality instruments are a bit heavy for a six year old to hold steady for prolonged periods, so a small tripod is handy.  I love the idea of a miniature greenhouse kit - neither I, nor my kids, ever tried one of those.  Damn, I want to be six all over again!  :-)  

 

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If I may inject a word of caution from experience?

The child may be very bright and very keen, but she is also very young. The attention has not yet stretched to adult proportion, and the world is till growing. Some children do discover their vocation early in life and stick with it for life, but it's far more common for interest and enthusiasm to wax, wane and shift in the developing years.

Be careful not to overwhelm her with stuff and information and activity. Or invest too much, both in material resources and parental concern, in this one area of her education. Most importantly, be extra careful not to overwhelm her with your own enthusiasm! It can lead to complications.

(PS Not mad keen on the ant farm idea. They usually die - right in front of the little kid who's learned to care about them. Far better - and infinitely more instructive! - to study real ants, living their natural life. Especially if she's interested in how they fit into their ecosystem. Bonus: the two of you get to spend quality time outdoors, crawling on hands and knees, on the same level. No magnifying glass, okay?)

 

Edited by Peterkin
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