As parents, our responsibilities to our kids are never-ending. Of course, there are the basic needs â€” like food, clothing and shelter â€” but increasingly there is this unrelenting media pressure being heaped on us to keep our kids up to speed educationally so that they’ll eventually be able to compete in a progressively cutthroat workforce.
I hate the fact that I feel compelled to sign my son up for extra-curricular educational-based programs rather than letting him acquire knowledge in a more old-fashioned and natural way â€” like playing with his superhero figures, or building foam block castle and forts.
And I’ve been warned, it becomes more difficult as our children get older, when it’s no longer about whether your child can recite his ABCs or color in the lines, but what his SAT scores are and what college he’ll attend. So, I’m trying to live in the moment with my kids, and what it really boils down to is finding innovative activities that incorporate subjects like science and math and will inspire them to want to learn more â€” so eventually they’ll only need a few small nudges from me!
Keep reading for information about two science complexes and one back-to-basic junior science club â€” all three of which I know your kids will enjoy. And, if nothing else, it’s a good way to spend an afternoon with your kids, enjoying quality time together and maybe even getting a bit of an education in all things science.
LIBERTY SCIENCE CENTER
Thanks to a $109 million makeover, this 4,000-square-foot center features kid-friendly, hands-on exhibits about the environment, health, inventions and how to best live in an ever-changing world. Kids will go gaga for The “I Explore” section where they can see what’s beneath a city sidewalk, use a large-scale ball machine and make music on ringing rocks. Older kids can don a harness and walk across an I-beam 18 feet above the exhibition floor in a skyscraper! Visiting Infection Connection and taking a ride in the subway car theater to discover where microbes lurk or trying to speak a new language at Language Karaoke.
Address Liberty State Park, 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City, N.J.
Age appeal: Two years and older.
Overall:There is so much to do, you’ll need to visit several times just to get it all in. The perfect way to sneak some science into your kid’s activities and give them a better understanding of how science and technology are deeply embedded into all facets of their lives.
Information: 201-200-1000; www.lsc.org.
JUNIOR SCIENCE CLUB at The Staten Island Museum
The Staten Island Museum hosts a monthly junior science club. Founded by professionals who cared deeply about the natural sciences and resources of Staten Island, the club encourages future scientists to keep these traditions going. On Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:00am – 12:00pm kids taking part in the Jr. Science Club: Making Light of Optics will Build kaleidoscopes and use lasers to study the reflection and refraction of light while having fun and honing skills in construction & alignment.Parents will love giving their kids the opportunity to observe and understand how their child learns.
Address: 75 Stuyvesant Pl.
Age appeal: Eight to 13 years old.
Information: 718-727-1135 extension 105; www.statenislandmuseum.org.
SONY WONDER TECHNOLOGY LAB
At the lab, kids can experience and better understand electronic technologies in workshops, where they’ll get busy building, inventing and learning how gadgets work from the inside out. kids will go gaga for engaging in activities like jamming in a band in the “Wonder of Music,” playing with virtual sand in the “Shadow Garden,” screening programs like “Elmo and Arthur” in the 73-seat HD Theater, designing their own racing games in “Game Maker” and editing and playing back their own movie trailer using real movie clips from popular films in “Movie Maker”. And of course parents will appreciate their family workshops which promote lots of collaboration between parents and kids. Best part; Exhibits are geared for a variety of learning levels and appeal to all ages.
Address: 550 Madison Ave. (and 56th Street).
Age appeal: All ages.
Information: 212-833-8100; programs and screening reservations: 212-833-7858; www.sonywondertechlab.com.