How early do you start science education? Well, hey, that's simple. The answer is this: science education is no different than other types of education. As a matter of fact, you know all of that mushing around of goopy stuff and watching it intently? You know all of that putting different colored solutions into one another and watching as they change color? (This is from the Ooey Gooey lady website) How about cooking: watching what happens when you mix and egg in with flour and goop it around with your hands and then add some more stuff, cook it and -- oh my goodness, it's a COOKIE! (magic!)
All of the above is science.
I have a sneaking suspicion, furthermore, that the really GOOD scientists have never lost that "cool!" feeling about trying new things, seeing what happens, and so forth.
Personally, I am not a scientist and (I admit this now) I hated chemistry with a passion reserved up until then for hard math and physics. But you know what? That's because I found sitting in a classroom, memorizing moronic two-letter abbreviations in some table to be massively, stultifyingly boring. I had no context for the information. No reason to care.
Yet, I ask you now: Isn't cooking chemistry? Isn't a whole bunch of really interesting stuff in this world chemistry? My husband is great at this stuff and I am continually saying "really? wow, that's cool" when I talk with him about scientific stuff (Of course, have I mentioned the fact that I live in California and my brain apparently lives in Cleveland or something now, so almost everything, including the location of my keys, gives me this same "oh wow. neat!" intellectual rush, but I digress...)
My point is this: sneak this stuff up on your kids. MAGIC POTIONS!! Cooking! Neat layering of wierd products to see which one weighs more than the others! (Check out oil and water. Then how about catsup?) Look hard in your life for uses and context in which your kids can experience the fun part of chemistry and science. And ASK the questions. Why is this happening? Oh wow - did you see that? Want to do it again? Give them ownership. Let 'em make a mess.
Here's another opinion in my raging opinion-fest for the day: If a science teacher is making your kid hate science, try your darndest to make it fun again. Teachers shouldn't be allowed to steal the joy from learning.
Here's an activity called the magic snake which uses a spiral cut snake and some static electricity.
General Science Sites
BBC has a science site. Not mind-blowing. About a 3.5 on the fun scale. Oddly enough, they seem to think that people's scientific interest (in the pop market) wanes after 2.25 paragraphs. Must be some "read it on the air" thing.