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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Random Acts of Science

I don’t think that science is supposed to be random, but sometimes the boys come up with science when I least expect it. By now, I should probably expect it all the time…Henry and Leo are such charming young scientists. Maybe it is just that this year of science has opened my eyes to the things Henry and Leo investigate and explore every day.
For example, we were sitting at the dinner table the other night when Henry asked: “What are calories?”
Uh oh.
“Well, I said, calories are the energy your body uses as fuel.” (I have no idea if that is correct, by the way.)
“Mom, what happens when your body has too many calories?” Henry continued.
Obviously, Henry was trying to make a connection between calories, health, and what he may have heard out there in his small universe. I decided to go for full disclosure about calories.
“When a body has too many calories, it stores the calories to use later.”
“As fat.” And I pointed to my hips. That seemed to do the trick because Henry nodded knowingly and went back to eating his dinner.
I also enjoy when the show itself gets one of the boys so excited that they need to tell me about it IN THE MOMENT. For example, Leo likes to watch Sid while I take a shower. I like the arrangement because I have episodes recorded on our bedroom TV, which means Leo can be close by while I have some private time. Theoretically. I always remind Leo that Mommy needs to be alone while showering and to please stay out of the master bath. This may not count as a random act of science, but it was memorable.
I was showering, hair full of shampoo, when Leo came busting into the bathroom.
“Mom! Mom! Mom!” he yelled excitedly.
I just about jumped out of my soaked skin. My moment of shampoo zen completely disturbed by 4-year old frantic energy.
“What Leo, what? Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“Mom! Bees think my ears are flowers!”
“Bees. Think. My. Ears. Are. Flowers!”
‘Wow, great Leo! Now leave mommy alone.”
I really appreciate the excitement that Sid can generate, and I may have lost a wonderful teachable moment, but I really wanted my quiet time back!
Later that day Leo was lying on the grass in the backyard waiting for patiently for bees to land on his ears. I wish I had taken a picture.
I am often reminded that Henry has the makings of good engineer someday. We’ve been having plumbing problems in our downstairs bathroom toilet. The toilet has flooded a few times leading to unmentionable messes. When the plumber was here, Henry was fascinated by the mechanics of the toilet.
The plumber suspected that perhaps a small something had been dropped into the bowl and caused a blockage. (WHAT? My kids would NEVER drop anything into a toilet bowl.) So, the toilet was hauled out to the front yard for inspection.
Henry shadowed the plumber as he used the garden hose to flush out the bowl and inner workings in the middle of the driveway. Amidst the horror of having a toilet in my driveway, I was impressed by Henry’s curiosity. Henry was armed with several different hypotheses about what may have happened: the pipe to the street was blocked, the toilet paper was bunched up in the small pipes, the bolts were loose, or there was too much water. Thank goodness the plumber was patient, because he listened to Henry with a smile on his face.
Thankfully, all we needed was a new toilet and not a major plumbing overhaul. But days later, Henry was still trying to figure out what made the water overflow and what could have stopped it. I often joke with Gerry that we would be fortunate if Henry became a plumber and Leo an electrician. Maybe I might not be that far off the mark!
Finally, I am so enchanted by the ordinary things that Henry and Leo do that clearly reflect a scientific structure. At the beach this summer the boys discovered the joys of digging holes and constructing tunnels in the sand. They spent hours up to their elbows in sand trying to dig deeper, hit water, route tunnels, and build retaining walls. In the course of an afternoon, little cities would emerge with complex designs. Henry and Leo had to come up with logical solutions to problems such as poor drainage or being in the way of mom’s beach chair. They were always so proud of their creations. A couple of days before school started we hit the beach for last hurrah. They managed to dig a hole that was so deep, they could both sit down inside and be rendered invisible. It was their crowning achievement of the summer. This time I did capture the moment on my cell phone camera. It is grainy, but you can see the pride on their faces.
How are your scientists exploring the world around them? Do you have budding engineers, nutritionists, and chemists in your house?

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