I spent an hour Googling with a 10-year-old recently. “What do you want to know?” I asked her. She thought for awhile. “Well, I’ve always wanted to know how lollipops were made.” We googled it together and ended up on a Youtube video about a lollipop factory. Then we looked up how to make lollipops at home.
She was emboldened by Google giving her such thorough answers. “I wonder,” she asked, “how long are the days on each planet?”
“OK. And how many days is in a year on each planet?”
Google showed us another chart with the length of a year on each planet. We were also learned new vocabulary to distinguish an Earth year of 365 days from a varying-length “year” on other planets: orbital period.
The 10-year-old had been exposed to Google before, but she didn’t know that it could answer so many of her questions. At the end, she reflected: “Google was really helpful. Without having Google we wouldn’t have been able to ask those questions and get answers. I’ve wondered about those questions before but I would have never searched them on Google.”
I thought about the trope of the kid who asks, “Mom, why is the sky blue?” And then a series of follow-ups: “And why is that?”, “And why is that?”, “And why is that?”
Parents often give up after a certain point, because they’re exhausted — and because they might not know the mechanics that underlie the sky’s coloring. Luckily, parents don’t need to rely on their own memory anymore. A thoughtful parent can teach their kid how to satisfy their own curiosity on Google.
Teach your kids to Google.