Did you know that microorganisms were the first life on earth? And their existence to this day illustrates how tenaciously they’ve adapted and survived through the eons.
Microorganisms are diverse, and they’re capable of thriving in a variety of environments. But why should parents bother to teach kids about microbiology?
I have two primary reasons:
First, microbiology gives insight into the plausible causes and mechanisms of diseases, which means we can take care of ourselves better when we’re aware of how microorganisms operate.
Second, microbiology is one of the most lucrative STEM careers out there, so you might as well give them a leg up in this wonderful scientific discipline. Who knows? You might raise a future microbiologist!
If you’re looking for ways to teach kids about microbiology, we have 5 unique ways to help you!
5 Ways to Teach Kids About Microbiology
1. Read Fun Microbiology-Oriented Children’s Books
Books are always an excellent source of information, including microbiology, but I don’t mean textbooks. The last thing you want is to bore the boots off your child with boring microbiology manuals. Giving the appropriate material for the right age is important, and here are some microbiology books I recommend to get them started:
(Perfect for ages 4-8)
This book narrates the story of a microbe called Min as she treads on different surfaces. Aside from the delightful narrative, your kid will also be greeted with microscopic images of things like teeth, fabric, or snow, making the learning experience engaging and educational!
(Appropriate for ages 4-8)
This picture book features large-scale illustrations of microorganisms to help your child visualize things that are imperceptible to the naked eye. The author craftily made the case that microbes may be minute in size, but they perform the world’s impactful responsibilities — an excellent way to introduce microbes to children.
(Excellent for ages 8-12)
Microbes are not all rainbows and sunshine, and this book perfectly illustrates the good, the bad, and the ugly of microorganisms. The author outlines germs and the diseases they cause to build your child’s awareness and hopefully enforce good hygienic practices.
Your child will feel engaged and disgusted at the same time as they learn everything they need to know about microorganisms!
2. Engage in Fun Microbiology Experiments
Aside from learning concepts, truly immersing in the field of microbiology also means conducting experiments. And what better way to teach kids about microbiology than performing home-based experiments with them!
I published a dedicated article on kid-friendly microbiology experiments, and you may freely visit it to learn more. But I recommend your parental supervision to ensure the uttermost safety of your kid.
Suppose you’re not a big fan of going to stores to buy experiment materials. In that case, the MicroExplo science kit contains all the tools that your child needs to perform three engaging and fun microbiology activities!
3. Buy them a microscope
Most microorganisms are practically invisible to the naked eye. So if your child wants to see microorganisms, you’ll need to equip them with the right device — a microscope!
Truly, microscopes are expensive tools used by professionals to see microorganisms up close. But you don’t need to buy premium devices with bank-breaking price tags to support your child’s microbiology learning.
Here are two microscopes that can be your child’s perfect companion as they see the world up-close:
This is a budget pocket microscope for kids that packs a magnification capable of unmasking microorganisms like fungi.
Although its lens is not as powerful, the STEMscope makes perfect companions for outdoorsy kids that love to explore, thanks to its portable, shatter-proof, and kid-friendly build.
If you have the budget to shell out on a more powerful yet equally beginner-friendly microscope, then consider the Superscope. The device packs a powerful magnification to see bacteria, blood cells, and protozoa. Making it one of the best microscopes for students in the market.
Additionally, the Superscope can be disassembled to acquire a portable microscope. And it also comes with a free camera that can be connected to a computer to project the magnified images.
4. Play some microbiology-themed games!
Another fun way to instill a passion for the world’s micro-mysteries is through children-friendly games. There are tons of games out there that revolve around microorganisms, and these can be entry points to teach them a thing or two about microbes.
Note: We recommend this for older children capable of performing competitively in playing board games.
Here are some microbiology-themed games you can play with children:
This cooperative-style board game calls on players to work together using their individual strengths to stop the outbreak of 4 diseases that threaten the world. Pandemic is a fun strategy game to bring family and friends together to find a cure and save humanity from the brink of global demise.
This game puts you on the opposite side of the battle. Up to 4 players are pitted against each other as diseases fighting to infect the world first. The concept sounds a bit morbid, but it’s an interesting spin-off to the Pandemic game that works to counteract diseases, not spread them. Ultimately, the goal of the game is to infect as many countries. While some find the game distasteful, it has its qualities.
This deduction card game focuses on up to 6 scientists trapped in a research lab infected with an unknown virus, and the goal is to deduce the antidote. It is a semi-cooperative game which means you may bluff other players to lengthen the game and create more tension. A quick and fun game for family game nights.
5. Get them Some Plush Microbes
Sometimes, it takes some cute plushies to get kids hooked on something. And if you’re looking for affordable plush toys that scream microbiology, GIANTmicrobes offer some of the best plushy renditions of the world's most popular bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Their current always-sold-out best seller is the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) plushy that directly depicts what the viral strain looks like under the microscope. Another cool plush toy is the Jirms the Bad Cold which is reminiscent of a Pokemon, and the Influenza vaccine is also another cute plush toy to get.
Why should kids learn about microbiology at a young age?
It’s easy to overlook and underestimate the things we cannot see. But mishandled microorganisms can negatively impact the welfare of people. Introducing microbiology and the existence of microbes are not only interesting topics, but they can also encourage kids to practice good hygiene to prevent diseases.
Is microbiology a good career for kids?
Yes. Microbiology is a booming career, but it’s also one of the most lucrative STEM occupations in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the annual median salary of microbiologists in 2021 is $87,820, which is 33.65% higher than the annual median salary across all occupations in the U.S. at $58,260.
Microbiology is a fun subject matter to teach children. Although kids might not be keen to learn the deeper concepts surrounding microbiology, it’s enough for them to learn the existence of microbes, understand the benefits and repercussions caused by different microbes, and learn the need to practice proper hygiene to keep themselves from contracting diseases via microorganisms.
The above-list are some of the best tips to teach kids about microbiology. If you’re looking for experiment kits and microscopes to help kids learn more about the world's most fascinating micro-wonders, our complete catalog of science toys got you covered!