How to Surround your Kids with the Periodic Table of the Elements


Journal of high school Chemistry, day 1: Find a seat. Get moved by the teacher to a different seat. Wonder what that silver pointy thing attached to the top of the desk does (blows up balloons?) take out notebook, write down the first science fact of the year: hydrogen is the first element on the periodic table. Teacher says, laser pointer in hand: “in January, you will need to fill in an entire periodic table from memory.”

Just like that, a passion for science dies before it even has a chance to live. Memorizing? Table?

When do we get to blow stuff up? When do we get to learn the secrets of the universe?

As you can see, science-loving parents, your child’s passion for science is entirely up to you. If you bring them up to love and respect the periodic table, they will be both prepared for and fortified against the soul-killing task of high school memorization tests.

Know what kids like? Kids like to build stuff with blocks. If your kids are sick of all those ABC blocks, toss some of these excellent periodic table blocks their way. While they may just make forts with them at first, with your guidance they can use this toy to begin to see how the elements are related to each other.


If kids are a little older, you can combine learning the numbers of the elements and learning to tell time with this nifty period table clock.


To help kids connect with the elements, try making it personal with a customized name sign.


Want other kids and parents at your playgroup to know how serious you are about instilling an appropriate amount of love for the periodic table in your baby? Just grab a periodic table onesie, of course.


To add the final, very important and fuzzy touch to the nursery or playroom, the easiest way to teach the PTE by osmosis is to add an area rug.


For older, more advanced kids who are hungry for more elements, check out the Periodic Table Coloring Book. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s a “coloring book,” it’s a tough challenge and an excellent learning tool.


If your family is into card games, try out the game that teaches the elements, Elementeo.


Once kids get really into learning about the periodic table, have them play around with this interactive and dynamic online PTE.


Ready to start combining the elements into atoms? Turn it into a fun art project for a rainy day.

Header image: Elementeo play via Christy’s Houseful of Chaos.

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