Update March 13, 2011: Due to the frightening Earthquakes in Japan last week, I recalled and referred to this post with my family and friends as we found ourselves once again defining an Earthquake. Leticia Barr at Tech Savvy Mama shares more suggestions in her March 2011 post Teaching Kids About Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Japan Through Online Resources.
Originally posted on Philly Moms Blog after the Haitian Earthquake in 2010, this post introduces preschoolers and Kindergartners to Earthquakes, making the scares a little more understandable.
“I don’t know what an earthquake is,” Middle, my 4-year-old, stated this morning while we were watching Good Morning America.
“I do! It’s in my encyclopedia!” responded Big, age 6. He raced off to get it.
Without discussing it, the Huz and I have decided to view some of the coverage of the Earthquake with our children. We’ve been openly discussing disaster relief and how compassionate (most of) the world has been. Its been a novel lesson of charity for our children.
What we failed to realize was that watching the aftermath didn’t clearly explain what had happened. Unbeknownst to us, Saturday night, Big pulled out his children’s encyclopedia and Earth science books to research it himself. So when Middle asked about it, Big ran off to grab all of his books. Then he performed a lesson.
He read the captions in the encyclopedia aloud and shared images. Following, he showed pictures of the Earth to Middle, showing that the core is hot and it caused the land to move. He took this time to also explain a volcano and how Earthquakes and Volcanos are related, as they release gases (and hot lava, something our kids love to imagine playing with). The huz followed using 2 pillows to show the land with a fault line and how the pillows shift, causing a rumble in the ground.
For 2 non-trained-teachers, they did an excellent job. I filled in a blank or two, trying to soften the blow by reassuring that we don’t live on a fault line like the one in Haiti, but found I was barely needed.
It amazes me the things that kids are capable of learning, and often on their own. We’re more worldly with the resources we have available but, sometimes, it’s an easy discussion with a quick definition that answers enough questions to explain just what’s needed to children.