Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ask A Silly Question

If curiosity killed the cat, it surprises me that there are so many children alive still echoing the age-old question “why?” You will lose the challenge by answering them. Your answer will simply lead to the next why, and undoubtedly, the next. Why? I don’t know.

My father’s response to our questions was “Look it up.” In those days, the encyclopedia was the information highway. Today, of course, the web is the blazing fast way to get information. My parents’ attitude was to teach us to be independent thinkers by reading to get the answers. Children today are pretty savvy at navigating their way through the maze of web based resources creating new and improved independent thinkers.

Questions Children Ask by Edith and Ernest Bonhivert compiled a series of questions on a variety of subjects. Children submitted all of the questions. Why don’t fish drown? Do I breathe when I sleep? Can a bird fly backward? And despite the age of the 1974 publication, there are relevant questions about why there are different kinds of families and who belongs to a family.

Between the swimming and the camping this summer, plan a Game Show Mania day. Have books and computers at the ready along with a list of questions and see how quickly your grandchildren can come up with the answers. Prizes can range from cookies for each correct answer (of course if the answer is wrong, they must forfeit a cookie) to higher stakes for the grand prize – a banana split!

Trivial Pursuit is available in a children’s edition and the Cranium series offers great ways to make questions and answers a less painful way to increase your grandchild’s knowledge and retain your sanity. Play a game of "when you chauffeur them to their summer activities.

You don’t need a teaching degree to mentor your grandchildren. You not only know things, you have lived in places and times in history that make you a living resource. One of the questions that our generation can certainly answer is “Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated?” One that readily comes to mind is “Where were you when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon?"

Offering our grandchildren fun and simple ways to explore learning, supports and develops their natural curiosity and intelligence. Summer vacation may be a time for slipping out of a desk and into a swimsuit but it doesn’t mean we should stop teaching them. Why? Because that’s what a wise grandma would do.

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