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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

6 ½ Henrys Wide

I think that Henry and I were among Sid the Science Kid’s very first fans. Sid was his favorite for a long time. Nowadays Leo and I do most of the Sid watching while Henry is at Jr. Kindergarten. But one episode this week brought back a great Sid-inspired memory with Henry.

The Whale Episode about non-standard units of measurement was a big hit in our house. As soon as Henry saw the classroom measured in “Geralds,” he insisted on trying it himself. I mean right away. He wanted to know how many “Henrys” our living room measured. At that point, we lived in MA in a teeny tiny house and our cramped living room was decorated in Early Century Toys for Boys. I had to clear a Henry-sized path across the room for our investigation. With lots of giggling and a train track as a block we learned that our living room was in fact 6 ½ Henrys wide. Henry promptly asked for a “real” ruler and told everyone about the measurement for weeks.

It was obvious that the activity stuck with my little scientist when a few days later he asked if we could make a “paper measure of himself.” It took a moment for my cluttered brain to realize he was talking about the Kid Ruler from the Whale episode. With more giggling and planning we made a traced cutout of Henry. (I used the roll of paper from our easel. At the time it was the perfect size, which is hard to believe when I look at him now.) Neither Henry nor I really gravitate towards art projects but this one was a blast. We were excited to dig into our markers and “dress” the Henry ruler, give him a face, hair, and shoes. When we measured the living room again it was fun to verify our earlier calculation: 6 ½ Henrys wide.

Then the activity became something extra special. I suggested that we send the Henry Ruler to Uncle Jeff in Seattle. Henry loved participating in packing up the Henry Ruler and putting it in the mail. My brother was thrilled to receive a life-sized portrait of Henry. He has it hanging in his apartment to this day. I loved the idea that Jeff could see how much Henry had grown since our last visit and it was fun to listen in on their next phone conversation as Henry told Jeff about the investigation. It was sweet.

Measurement is a tough concept to teach a preschooler. They need concrete background knowledge. Of course, the folks on the show know their stuff. What I appreciate is that the episode taught the concept from Henry’s perspective and then, by extension, gave him an outlet to express himself creatively in a hands-on way. I learned that Henry likes to participate in art projects that have a purpose and a story behind them. My son may not like to sit with a blank piece of paper and crayons, but tell him to decorate a paper airplane and he is all for it. I am happier with some structure as well. I may have to steal the Henry Ruler back someday!

Have you had any lasting Sid fan moments? How does your child like to express him or herself creatively?


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