Sunday, November 18, 2012

Following the Trail

There is quite a bit of building in our neighborhood and it has launched thousands of questions in my oldest son's mind.  We know the name of every piece of equipment, the steps involved in building a house and the names of most of the construction team that do work in our neighborhood.  We have learned the basics using a book called, What Do People Do all Day.  This has really helped me to answer his questions because I had never needed to study the difference between a payloader and backhoe before this child came into my life.

While reading helps, we get most of our information just walking through the neighborhood and interrupting big burly men carrying two by fours and asking questions.  The other day, we set out of an adventure with Mickey Mouse safely buckled into the stroller.

We found a NEW piece of equipment that he had never seen before - A power washer.  If any of you have sons, you will understand the excitement that accompanied this find.  There was a LOUD motor, a hose that shot out water at high speeds and...wait for it...the guy was standing on the roof doing the job.  My oldest was fascinated.  

"Mommy!!  He's cleaning the roof!" He yelled over the generator, "Look at the filthy water!  Why is it moving?"

I reminded him of the book teaching us that a good road is sloped so that the water goes to the sides and into the drainage system.  I asked him where I thought it would end up and he shouted excitedly, "THE DRAIN!"  He ran down to the drain to find out if his hypothesis would prove to be true.

He wondered aloud why it was so slow and we talked about how the pitch of the slope changes the speed of the water.  He couldn't wait quite that long so he made a bridge with his legs and watched the water creep through them.

A simple walk turned into a really fun lesson that taught him a bit about engineering and gave him a chance to get a little dirty, too.  I love the days when we can follow the trail of learning and uncover whatever mysteries lie in his mind.  In this way we keep our learning fun and spontaneous.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

How do you tie your kids' interests into learning?  Share your ideas and I'll send a copy of the book to one of you!

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