A few months ago I found out that our local Geological club holds a monthly rock club for kids. Kaleb has never had a particular affinity for rock or geology, but he does love science, and he does love elements, so I thought we’d give it a try.
It ended up being a great fit. It’s a large group with kids of all ages, and as a bonus he comes home every month with a new rock! He loves it.
This month, they held a rock fair and invited the kids to do a project on their favourite rock, mineral, or gem. Kaleb debated for weeks about what he should choose, but eventually settled on Copper. I am not at all surprised he chose an element off the Periodic Table.
He had never done anything of this magnitude before, so we bought a poster board and I showed him some examples off the internet. I explained to him how you get information from a book or website, and then put it in your own words. I prompted him with the questions the kids were given. I helped him type one of the particularly long pieces and on piece with tricky formatting, but other than the he read, typed, cut and pasted his entire project all on his own. Not bad for 4!
I did make him practice his presentation a few times. But making this kid’s practice anything is like pulling teeth, and I mean he is 4, so pick your battles you know? He practiced it a handful of times, and I was certain that if given the option he would opt out of presenting to the group. He can be pretty shy sometimes, and has had to be shoved on stages not once, but twice, with his karate studio.
Maybe it was all of that karate, or maybe it was just his excitement to get to talk science, but he got up in front of the room full of people and excitedly chattered about his project. My favourite part was when he interrupted his presentation to explain that he’s “a big fan of science.” How freaking cute is that? Oh, and it was pretty adorable hearing him explain atoms and compounds and electron configurations with fresh eyes.
Needless to say, he was in heaven. I think it’s so important to find somewhere – anywhere– where a kid can just be themself completely. And for a few minutes, Kaleb had a whole room of people held captive while he played scientist. You just can’t replicate that in any other way.
And if I’m being totally honest, it was sooooo nice for me too. Not only to see his joy and happiness, which of course is more than enough, but I didn’t feel weird bragging about his love of science. Yup, I use the word brag because I totally did not bat an eyelash when I was told that I must “feed him science.” Instead I just laughed and said he taught himself to read at 2 and the periodic table at 3, this is all him. And it felt damm good.