How to Raise a Little Scientist

Embrace the mess, says mom of three curious kids

Earlier this week we posted Neil deGrasse Tyson’s video about how to not squash a kid’s curiosity, which prompted Utah mom Krista Whipple to share this video of her own future scientists:

Krista writes:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of my greatest teachers. His talks and podcasts have inspired my curiosity for years.

When my boys were very little, Tyson became one of my parenting inspirations as well. He’s spoken often of encouraging kids to explore their environment and allowing them to run little  experiments on the objects and substances they encounter, even if things get messy!

This advice informed our daily routine for years: walks in the morning where my kids would stomp in puddles, examine bugs, rescue baby birds, collect rocks, and climb trees. Messy sensory play was encouraged almost daily, and they always helped me in the kitchen…even when “helping“ made everything sticky and created a lot more dishes! 

Today my oldest son, now 10, regularly makes full meals for himself and his siblings and even frequently surprises me with breakfast in bed on weekends. My younger son, 8, is in love with nature, is always inventing new tools to use in his outdoor experiments, and wants to be the next David Attenborough. My daughter was still pretty young when I had to return to work but I’m happy to say my boys picked up were I left off and made sure she also got plenty of opportunities to play in the mud! – K.W.

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Krista lives with her husband and three children in Southern Utah. She is Prevention Specialist who works with teens on substance abuse and suicide prevention. She is an artist, writer, nature lover, and Free-Range parent committed to allowing her kids to play, learn, and explore their big messy world.