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I’ve gathered the best secular science resources for an eclectic, and well rounded elementary science education. Read on to find books, activities, curriculum, and media resources that will excite and engage STEM enthusiasts and absent minded professors alike.
We are passionate about secular science.
My oldest lived and breathed dinosaurs from age 2-4, and since then it’s been astronomy, the inter workings of the human body, archaeology, and bubbly vinegar mixtures all over the kitchen. Most of which bubbled over to his little sister and brother, who now love science, too.
I have to admit, I’m not the most science-minded individual. In fact, I took most of my public school science education for granted. Yes, I can identify a few rocks and birds and have a general sense of what and what not to mix in the kitchen, but I didn’t really think hard about science education until we started homeschooling.
If you’ve just joined the homeschool world, you might have noticed that finding secular (non-religious) science resources can be challenging. I’ll just go ahead and say it – I was pretty shocked to see science lapbooks with people riding their dinosaur pets and texts that insist that the world is only 6,000 years old. Mixing pseudo history and science into education is confusing for kids – and makes it hard on parents who find themselves over-explaining or modifying curriculum to take out the strange bits.
It’s important to teach real, secular science from a young age. You won’t find us shying away from evolution or the history of the universe here. The following is a list of curriculum and tools that we love. These engaging and inspiring resources have inspired my kids to dig deeper into science.
7. Hands-On Science Toys
Learning through play is not just for toddlers! So much learning happens through hands-on experimentation and play. For young kids, science toys are great to have on hand. Some things we have laying around on the toy shelves. Others, like the Snap Circuits, I pull out on rainy days when the kids need something to do. The fact that I can pull out something educational makes me feel like a super mom while I quietly sip coffee and half-watch them play.
- The hands-down favorite is Snap Circuits. These inspired an entire electricity unit study at our house, and he has been interested with playing with them for more than a year (unheard of in this house)!
- Magnetic Blocks are a fun and creative way to experiment with magnets. All three of my children love playing with these educational toys.
- I love the durable Nancy B. microscope and telescope. My son has taken this little guy out into the yard to examine rocks and leaves, and we’ve used it in our lessons frequently. We will have to replace this with a more powerful microscope when he is older, but it’s a wonderful tool to start with.
6. Homemade STEM Activities
I love incorporating STEM activities into our homeschool routine because they are FUN and teach more than just straight science. We are hitting other topics as well. (If you’re not familiar with STEM, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.) Most at-home STEM experiments and activities can be completed using simple materials you already have at home.
There are a slew of STEM activities, projects, and challenges online, but it can be difficult to find good ones – especially when you find yourself scrolling and scrolling through Pinterest and finding lots of dead links. For that reason, I started creating seasonal STEM resources – lots of options with less searching. Find a big list of STEM activities here.
5. Hands-on Subscription Boxes
There’s nothing more motivating for my kids than getting a subscription box in the mail. And honestly, there’s nothing easier as a parent. While I have no problem putting together or directing a simple STEM activity, more advanced projects can be a little outside my comfort zone.
Science subscription boxes have more intricate and advanced projects – but broken down into simple steps for your kids to follow. Many sub boxes include lessons to go along with the project, making these great to use to supplement homeschool science or as a base for your secular science curriculum.
From MEL Science: Hands-on science education with virtual and augmented reality lessons accompanying each box:
Kids Box (ages 5-9): STEM activity boxes with AR lessons
Physics Curriculum (ages 8-14+): Full physics curriculum with VR & live physics lessons
Chemistry Curriculum (10-16+): Full chemistry curriculum with VR & live chemistry classes
THiNK OUTSiDE Boxes is a nature-focused program with seasonal activities and lessons. You can use these as a stand-alone supplement or take a look at their outdoor homeschool curriculum based on the monthly box themes.
Kiwi Co. has expanded their line in recent years to provide STEM based subscription boxes for all ages of kids with exploratory hands-on fun for little kids to more serious and involved projects for older students.
Kiwi Crate (ages 5-8)
Tinker Crate (ages 9-14)
Eureka Crate (ages 12+)
4. Science Experiments in a Box
If you’re nervous about committing to a subscription, the KidzLabz kits are super simple to use and reasonably priced – which is awesome because we’re always trying to encourage independent learning. Each kit comes with several experiments which can fill a whole afternoon. Many are even simple enough for my 6 and 8 year old to work on independently.
3. Secular Science with National Geographic
With a wealth of knowledge on their website, documentaries, YouTube channel, and huge variety of books covering almost every subject, National Geographic Kids is one of our top favorite resources for science education.
I love how National Geographic makes science accessible for every age group. Nat Geo Kids’ resources start introducing real science concepts in preschool and will engage and excite you all the way through adulthood. You can find National Geographic books on Amazon or at your library. Be sure to check out their themed encyclopedias!
Epic! has thousands of STEM Books & videos on every subject – and carry a ton of National Geographic titles! I love that reading online encourages my kids to learn independently. See what Epic! has to offer >>> sign up for free here.
2. Field Trips
We can look at videos and pictures all day, but there’s nothing like holding a real boa constrictor. Or seeing the eclipse through those weird, dark glasses (see below). Or going on a nature walk and finding poop! We’ve learned about a huge variety of science topics from kitchen experiments to plant parts, but our very favorite experiences are the real-life ones happening at our local museums, parks, and nature center.
If you’re looking for real-life experiences, be sure to check out what’s happening at parks and science centers near you. No activities on right now? Reach out directly and tell them you have a science enthusiast on your hands. You might be surprised how happy a guide will be to share their passion for science!
1. Secular Science Curriculum
If you’re looking for a more structured approach to teaching science, or if your kids are getting into the upper elementary or middle school years when you’ve covered general science and need something a little more in depth, you will need a solid secular science curriculum.
A few of the top homeschool programs and curricula companies that offer science that is specifically secular/non-religious and are also not neutral (To be clear, neutral science usually omits human evolution and/or presents religious theory of the origins of the earth as possible fact.):
Real Science Odyssey by Pandia Press
Text book based curriculum with hands-on activities and labs with a variety of topics to choose from. Options for elementary through high school. Can be used with multiple age groups to teach all of your kids together. As a side note, we’ve used Pandia and really enjoyed the style.
Nancy Larson Science
A hands-on approach to science for K-5 which incorporates reading, exploring, and observation.
Janice Vancleve’s for Every Kid Series
Books containing hands-on experiments, activities, and projects that can be used to dig deep into science topics. Great to use as a base for scientific discovery or interest-led learning, too!
For more secular science options check out our Secular Homeschool Curriculum Guide
Bonus: Your Library Card!
I love online resources as much as the next mom, but you might notice Google is not on my top ten science resources. When my kids ask me a science question it would be easy to tap it into the computer and see what comes up – too easy. I tell them that all the answers he needs are at the library.
Get to know your librarians, and encourage your child to ask them for help! Be sure to check for free library classes in your area – sign up and go! And bring a cart – those encyclopedias get heavy!
Never underestimate the power of your library card and a friendly librarian.
Where to go next:
- Hands on STEM activities
- Electricity unit study
- Rainforest unit study
- Jane Goodall unit study
- Secular Homeschool Curriculum Guide
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.