July 12, 2010 in Features

Teachable moments come in daily lessons

Donna Erickson

Nicole and Wes Weleczki board a genuine 19th-century streetcar with their daughters for a ride on the historical Como-Harriet Streetcar Line in Minneapolis.
(Full-size photo)

“Stop, everyone. A teachable moment,” called out the dad as he and his three school-age kids screeched to a halt on their bikes. Parked in the middle of a front yard was an enormous drilling rig spattering and spewing mud and water to reach heat 180 feet below the ground for the creation of a new geothermal heating and cooling system for the house.

It was a “Science 101” lesson in action, as the workers explained to the curious family how they were tapping into the free energy beneath the earth’s surface.

Teachable moments abound when you keep a watch for interesting people, places and things in your own community.

• In the morning, take your kids on a mystery outing. Walk or ride by bike, car or public transportation. Give them clues along the way and let them guess as you go.

Exciting and unique destinations might be a construction site, fishing wharf or a local historical fort where people are dressed in period clothing. Or view the city from an observation deck of a tall building.

• Visit a farmers market to show your child how to choose, weigh and pay for locally grown fresh produce such as tomatoes, zucchini, onions and lettuce. On the way home, talk about where the same vegetables are harvested other times of the year, when it is winter where you live.

• As the summer progresses, remember special times and keep the do-together fun alive with an ABC memory game. Start with someone in the family who recalls something she did or saw that starts with an “A.” Continue through the alphabet as memories trigger stories of outings, sleepover camp and ballgames.

See more ideas at www.donnasday.com.

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