If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you've probably noticed that my kids like earth science. This year Gareth has decided to make high school level earth science his focus, and as is often the case when one child becomes interested in a thing, the interest spills over into the rest of the family. A couple of weeks ago, his reading about plate tectonics (the theory of continental drift) sort of collided with the boys' love of shovels and their collective invented universe (I'm sure I have pictures on the blog of the "cities" they built in New York, but I can't find it now) and Minn of the Mississippi, and this is what happened:
The kids found a good place to dig in the backyard and dug a river system. Then they added mountains, mesas, and plateaus. They discussed and defined all the terms. Gareth explained continental uplift to the 7 and 5 year olds. The 3 year old was identified as the primary cause of erosion; one of the twins earned the nickname "Earthquake". Of course, forts were constructed, too, for empires that rose and fell.
In the midst of all the digging, Katydid decided to also dig a model Mississippi, using the maps in Minn of the Mississippi as a guide. It's still under construction.
My role in all of this?
I let Gareth read a book he wanted to read instead of one I planned for him to read.
I chose Minn of the Mississippi as a school book for the little boys and I read it to anyone who would listen.
I provided access to shovels and dirt.
But most importantly, I let them dig.