Science and Social Skills

Enrichment Therapies

February 20, 2017

By Elizabeth Drewelow

Who doesn’t love a science experiment? If I even hint at the fact that we will be performing a science activity in class, there are gasps of excitement and smiles that stretch a mile wide.  In our class, we are all scientists, making guesses and anticipating results.  However, in order for our science experiments to be a success, it is necessary for us to work as a team and to communicate clearly.

Science experiments and social skills go hand in hand.  If your child, like my students, loves to mix, measure, mold, and manipulate, taking time to engage in science activities at home can be a great way to engage them in social skill development, as well.  For example, the skill of requesting help is one that can be easily woven into a science experiment.  Through reading the directions, a child may discover that he or she needs assistance locating materials for the experiment.  Prompting them to ask for help in searching for these materials can help them avoid frustration and can also teach them about requesting help in an appropriate and specific way. 

Another social skill that can be explored during a home science experiment is compromise.  Compromise is essential to scientific experimentation.  For example, in this Expanding Balloon Experiment from Stories and Children, which can be found at, there are several opportunities for making choices and compromises.  Coming to an agreement on who adds the vinegar into the bottle and who will add the baking soda into the balloon crater may seem simple, but it can be an important opportunity for children to engage in compromise. 

Science experiments can also be a great time in which to practice giving compliments and positive feedback.  As a parent, you can model these skills for your students when they make good choices during the experiment.  Using specific and direct compliments, students will not only know that they did a good job, but also how and why.  For example, saying something such as: “I love how you read the directions fully before beginning step one.  It’s good to make sure you’re prepared for the experiment before starting an experiment. Nice work!”  In modeling positive compliments, you can also encourage your child to provide such feedback for others.  Practicing this skill in a safe and comfortable environment will give the child the confidence they need to generalize compliment giving outside of the home.

Using science as a way in which to engage children in social skill practice can be both fun and rewarding.  Experiments can also be chosen to provide children with specific challenges or to target social skills that would be of the most benefit.  So, get the safety goggles ready and let the socializing and the science begin!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131




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