An excerpt from my column, originally published in 2006. Proof positive that you're never too old (or too young) to learn.
It’s Wednesday as I write this, and I’ve just come from “school”. To be specific, the Community Arts Council Preschool-Aged Art Classes. It’s a fancy way of saying “Fun Stuff With Little Kids”. The classes are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays under the able direction of Miss Janie, Miss Abbi and Miss Jo, plus a host of “guest speakers”. I get to do the storytelling and craft part, which involves writing and acting out our own stories, plus a yarn project.
This week we did things a little differently. After practicing sound effects (They were really good at being tigers!), I decided to have the kids tell ME a story. A real, grown-up interview involving all things natural. I asked the questions and they provided the answers. It was a very educational experience, especially since my interviewees ranged in age from three to five!
Everyone agreed on the answer to the first question: Where does grass come from? The ground, of course. Brittny added that grass is green to help it grow. Speaking of growing, did you know that the tallest tree is five feet tall? That’s what Ainsley told me, anyway. It’s apparently a very rare specimen called the Purple Tree.
Brady and Quin gave me the lowdown on flowers. Water makes them grow, for one thing. And they have colors because they want to be pretty.
Wanna know how birds fly? Ask Baylee. She says that when birds turn eighteen, their arms get longer so they can fly. Jackson agreed, and mentioned that we have bugs so that there are other things that can fly around.
I thought I had asked Belle a hard question, but she was ready with an answer. Why is the sky blue? Because the wind blows the color up there. Probably from water.
Water was a big part of our interview today. Jay explained that rivers come from oceans, while Mark said that you can find seashells, fish or anything in those rivers.
Jack thought quite a while to get his answer just right. The question: Where does rain come from? After much deliberation the answer came: Rain clouds are full of rain, and they drop it because people need water in their pools.
Reese gave a very logical answer to the question, “Why does the sun come up?” Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Because it’s awake!” Makes sense to me.
Cross was given a real puzzler, so the rest of the kids pitched in to find the answer. Why do people grow gardens? It took some time, but we figured it out. People grow gardens so they don’t have to go to the store, and so other people can see flowers.
As these kids get older, they’ll learn the “real” answers to the questions, but I hope they never learn how to turn off their imaginations! Use your imagination this weekend to stave off the icky weather. Get your kids and a handful of colored pencils and plan your garden for next spring. Make up stories about where snowflakes come from. Talk about the origin of chocolate over cups of hot cocoa. Most of all, enjoy time with your family, the best crop you’ll ever raise.