I got my lesson planned. I had all the websites ready to explain to P why the sun went to bed so late in the summer. As I tried to breakdown how to explain all this science to a 2.5 year old I realized that I needed to start with the basic concept like day and night.
First I showed her a map of the earth. Then I showed her what the earth looked like in space. Then I showed her where the earth is in the solar system and it’s relation to the sun. Then I grabbed an orange, a bbq skewer and our desk lamp. I tried to draw an outline of the continents (sharpie didn’t really work). I grabbed one of my pink pins from my sewing drawer and pinned it in the orange. The basic principal is to explain how one spot on the orange, (her on the earth), rotates from light to shadow(day to night). I explained how the earth rotated on an axis with the orange and the bbq skewer and with other pictures I had pulled up online. She fully got the principal of day and night. I was amazed we got this far.
Next I showed her how the earth rotates around the sun. That is as far as we got. The whole concept of seasons and sun rays right on the earth was too much. Maybe it’ll be a subject to cover on another day. I know the maximum amount of time to fully focus on a subject with a toddler is 10 minutes….pretty much the amount of time it took to explain day and night.
I did show her a graphic of the different positions of the sun in the sky in winter vs summer. Not sure how much that sunk in but the initial steps are set. D is taking P to the planetarium later today. I’m blown away she got as much as she did. I guess I shouldn’t be as the concept of day and night is so much a part of her world right now. I guess I’m amazed she grasped how it happens on a bigger scale outside herself and outside our planet. We’ll see just how much she did grasp it as we go along.
P kept talking about sleeping on an plane as it flies on earth as I was showing her pictures of earth in space. She loves sleeping on airplanes, which we do every time we go to Florida to visit my family. She does get that traveling from here to China is a long flight around earth. (She wants to go to China). So, our planet earth and it’s size is a concrete concept in her mind. I’m in awe!
On another note, P isn’t getting colors as much as I thought. She knows when one color matches another but she doesn’t get their names right. Shapes, she can match in puzzles but rarely gets their names right. At school the teacher plays a game where she hands out one shape to all the kids and she’ll hold up different shapes. When she holds up a triangle all the kids with triangles should hold theirs up. P never gets this right. She raises her shape when it’s not her shape and doesn’t when it is.
I find this interesting. How does she not get something basic like shapes but does get how large our planet is and how day and night happens. I don’t believe in drilling her with shape exercises. I believe that children, people in general really, will get things when it’s relevant to them and when they are interested in knowing it. This is why I sat down to teach her this solar system lesson. She constantly asks why the sun won’t go to bed now and about flying around the earth…..so I figure although this kind of stuff isn’t taught until who knows when in school I’ll teach it to her now because it’s relevant and important to her now….at 2.5.