Who Is Watching and Who Is Playing: Parental Engagement with Children at a Hands-On Science Center

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Family interactions are common phenomenon at visits to science centers and natural history museums. Through interactions the family can support each other as the members individually and collectively learn from their visits. Interaction is particularly important between child(ren) and parent, which may be facilitated by media provided to parents. The author's research focused on the value added of print resources or video resources designed to support parent interactions with their child(ren) during a visit to a science center. What the author found was a variety of need and expectations for the support media that limited the usefulness of what was provided to the visitors. During the research the author also observed some variations in how parents interacted with their child(ren) based on the configurations of the families. Implications and suggestions for future research are provided.