Enlist the Internet to help you find low-cost science fair projects that require minimal or cheaper supplies. Several government-sponsored, school and commercial education sites, including PBS Kids and Kids.gov, offer resources, so try perusing them first. In addition, magazines, online experiments and even TV shows can introduce students to ideas for their projects. Watching a science documentary on cable with your child costs less than purchasing guides or reference books.
Local universities and labs also boast outreach programs for students interested in a particular area of science. If your child has a focused experiment but needs special equipment, school and university labs might be able to lend a hand. Special microscopes and machines in these facilities can cost thousands of dollars, so asking to collaborate takes little away from your budget while improving the project.
For poster visuals, check with libraries and schools to see if students can borrow cameras to photograph their materials and track their experiment. Librarians and teachers are usually willing to help out in advance or can redirect you to a better option for your request. Visiting the public or school library gives you and your child access to search tools and background reading that might be behind a pay wall (and would cost money otherwise).
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