Two in three UK parents puzzled by their children’s savvy science questions

Forget simple questions about the birds and the bees, 65% of UK children are puzzling parents with complex scientific ponderings – and it’s leaving a quarter (24%) of mums and dads frustrated and embarrassed, according to a new report.

In the nationwide study by The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair among 2,000 parents, almost one in three (30%) say they take a grilling from their curious kids on a daily basis.

 The conundrums leaving parents most vexed are (see Appendix 1 for full list):
1. “Why is the moon sometimes out in the day?”
2. “Why is the sky blue?”
3. “Will we ever discover aliens?”
4. “How much does the earth weigh?”
5. “How do aeroplanes stay in the air?”

And the findings suggest that it’s not going to get any easier for mums and dads; science and maths top the subjects their children enjoy the most and yet these are the subjects that fill more than half (52%) of parents with fear.

While a third of parents (31%) would actively research answers to clever questions, many are using sneakier tactics to save face when flummoxed by their child’s musings. A fifth (21%) make up answers or pretend nobody knows and one in six (16%) put the burden on their partner.

One in six (16%) believe their children’s curiosity for science and maths is heavily fuelled by educational TV programmes, such as Frozen Planet (35%) and Wonders of the Universe (20%). 

Professor Brian Cox, spokesperson and supporter of The Big Bang, said: “With more and more youngsters getting stuck into science and maths both in and out of school, it’s no wonder they are constantly questioning the world around them. Inquisitive minds are fantastic, but clever questions can often leave parents in a tricky situation if they don’t have the answers.

“The best thing parents can do is work with their children to find the answers – not only can it be fun, but you’ll both learn something new along the way. And there are lots of exciting opportunities to learn .out there such as The Big Bang – the UK’s largest celebration of science and engineering which helps feed children’s imaginations and inspires them to learn more – it’s free to attend too.”

The Big Bang takes place at The NEC, Birmingham from 15-17 March 2012.  Register online for free tickets at

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