Engage in science exploration and fun at Michigan fairs

Fairs provide lots of fun science topics for families to explore together.

Michigan counties will host more than 85 county fairs and festivals this summer. Check out the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibition website to find locations. These events can be fun for the entire family filled with cotton candy, midway rides and games, and animals to see. Fairs also provide lots of fun science topics for families to explore together.

Help your child to question the why or how of something at the county fair: a game, a ride or the animal barns. Depending upon their age, your child may wonder how cotton candy is made, why the swings they’re riding fly outward so much, how they can knock all of the bottles down to win a prize or why that cow is doing that?

You don’t need to have the answers to all of their questions, but you can lead them to the next step by asking them, “How can you try to find the answer or explore this more?” This may lead to you helping them make cotton candy at home. Experiences with food can lead to all sorts of scientific discoveries for children.

They may want to create different experiments focused around the carnival games and what works best to win a prize. In the animal barns, you might direct them to a local 4-H member or animal owner who may be able to answer their question. Michigan 4-H Youth Development has many local programs that participate at county fairs. Or you can guide them to discover the answers later through books, websites or professionals.

These explorations may lead to a greater interest, and more importantly, a greater understanding of the world around them.

Check out Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s science literacy website to learn about more resources and activities that your child can become involved in.

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