Hosting a family science night at school is a great way to get parents, siblings, and grandparents engaged in their kids’ studies. Not only will a science or STEM night give families a chance to see what their kids are learning, but it can also help them take an active role in supporting their learning at home. Students enjoy involving their families by showing off their work and getting to play the teacher while sharing interesting concepts. Family science night is also a great time to reinforce concepts that you’ve just introduced in the classroom.
I’m sharing tips on planning a family science night at school. Plus, I’ve included some fun science and STEM ideas to make your event exciting and memorable!
Family science night is also a great opportunity for parents who want to support their kids’ learning but may not feel confident in their own abilities. Science nights give parents the chance to see what their kids are doing in class and to ask questions about the subjects.
It can also be a great way for families to bond and have fun together while learning something new. So if you’re looking for a way to get everyone involved in your child’s education, family science night is the perfect solution!
Planning Your Family Science Night
Deciding to plan a family science night is a great way to strengthen the relationships between teachers, students, and parents. Since you will be inviting families, you’ll first want to be sure you will have enough space and activities for everyone who attends. Keeping students and families actively engaged throughout the night will make for a successful event. Consider having at least 8-10 science or STEM stations plus some additional hands-on activities to keep the crowd flowing efficiently.
You can host the event in your gymnasium or multi-purpose room if you’d like to keep it contained in one area. If you have plenty of help, consider setting up the stations throughout your building to avoid congestion. Teachers can host activities inside their classrooms or outside their rooms in the hallway.
Keep the excitement up by minimizing the amount of downtime families will experience. Here are some suggestions for hands-on activities your families could do while waiting for science stations:
- a photo booth with science-themed props
- a community effort mural (think science themes like outer space, under the sea, the water cycle, etc)
- science board games and matching games
- science-themed refreshments or snacks
Your Family Science Night Support Team
Science nights can bring out a large crowd of excited families. You’ll want to ensure you have enough hands on deck to run your activities and demonstrations successfully. Involving your fellow team members, other grade-level teachers, and faculty is a great way to bring a mix of skill sets to your event. If you’re in need of even more helpers, consider asking community members, parents, and local businesses if they’d like to get involved.
Including All Teachers
Science night doesn’t have to include just teachers who teach science. Invite all faculty and staff to participate in your event. When the students see everyone involved, it will help reinforce the idea that science is all around us!
If some fellow teachers aren’t keen on the idea of hosting their own experiment or activity, there are plenty of other jobs. Assign someone to work the door, give instructions for the science and STEM activities, run the refreshment table, and even help with setup and tear down.
Involve The Community
Businesses can set up a science station that involves their industry. Here are some examples of ways community members can contribute:
- local meteorologist set up an activity about the water cycle
- local bakery or restaurant can make gummy bears to show the states of matter
- veterinarian, vet tech, or wildlife officer could bring in an animal or a display
Perhaps you have parents or community members who have careers in the science realm. They may have ideas for great science and STEM stations. Start your search for support well in advance so these helpers have time to come up with and organize their science activities.
You could even invite these community members as guest speakers. One of the best parts of a family science night is getting to hear from experts in the field.
You can invite a local scientist, engineer, or medical professional to come and talk to families about their work or hold an “Ask a scientist” booth so students and parents can ask questions.
Involving people outside of your school network is a great way to build a sense of community and show students how science connects people.
Types of Activities to Plan
When planning your family science night, be sure to include activities and stations for all ages. Younger siblings will love feeling included when you have activities that are geared toward them. Your students can even plan lower elementary activities on the topics they’ve been studying.
Parents and older siblings will enjoy getting to participate in activities alongside their children. You’ll probably find that they’re also just as amazed and engaged as the kids!
Mix up the activities throughout the event, so participants are able to see a variety of scientific topics and concepts. Make sure your stations give everyone plenty of opportunities to be involved. This might mean ensuring you have plenty of supplies on hand, encouraging parents to participate, and having clear directions available for everyone.
With just a little bit of planning, family science night can be a huge success! And it’s an excellent way to get everyone excited about STEM. Science and math are more than just school subjects – they’re real-world tools that we use every day. By showing families just how interesting and useful science can be, you might just inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers!
Here are some easy science and STEM activities that families can do together at the event without a guide or helper:
- Make homemade slime! This classic activity is always a hit with kids of all ages. All you need is some glue, Borax, food coloring, and a little bit of patience (the slime takes a few minutes to form).
- Build a simple circuit. You can use batteries, coins, paper clips, and LED lights to create a working circuit. Try making different shapes or patterns with your circuit.
- Make a lava lamp. All you need is a clear bottle, vegetable oil, water, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer tablets.
- Display the moon phases using Oreos
- Holiday related science investigations
If you are looking for even more science activities, try this set of 10 science activities, experiments and investigations!
Age Appropriate Activities
You’ll probably have attendees at your event of all ages. Here are some tips and suggestions for age-appropriate activities for different age groups:
– simple science experiments using common household items (great to show parents what can easily be done at home)
– sorting and categorizing objects by properties
– matching games
– hands-on science experiments
– engineering challenges
– observing and recording data
– making predictions
Middle & High School Students
– more complex science experiments
– designing and conducting their own experiment
No matter what age group you are catering to, be sure your activities are safe and age-appropriate. You’ll also want to have a plan for clean-up so your event runs smoothly from start to finish.
Planning and hosting a family science night is a great way to bring families, students, teachers, and the community together. By following these tips and using the included STEM activities, you’re sure to have a successful event!
I hope this has inspired you to plan your own family science night at school! Do you have any tips for hosting a family science night? Share them in the comments below!