Thursday, November 1, 2012

Under The Sea?

One of the best things about being a parent is watching the world open to your child as they learn new things about something that interests them, and then go on to try to find out even more and more and more.

For our little family, that has been all things ocean lately.  The Peanut is fascinated by the sea and everything that lives in and around it.

Her biggest goal in life is to grow up to be a dolphin trainer/marine biologist.  But honestly if it is a job that allows her to be near the ocean and involves science and study in some way, she just lights up talking about it with anyone who will listen.

The thing is, we live in West Virginia.  Far away from any ocean front anything, and not nearly close enough to any zoo or aquarium to make a regular thing of visits and learning opportunities for her.

On the one had, that can be frustrating as a parent. 

On the other?  It makes those times when we do manage to get somewhere with a great educational component all the more special for all of us. 

Whenever we travel, we try to be on the lookout for things like that, whether the educational opportunity involves the ocean or not.  We tend to be museum lovers and the sort of people who seek out whatever historical or cultural connection we can find whenever possible, and it has resulted in a child who loves to learn something new.

No idea if there is a connection between us trying to foster that attitude or whether it is just innate to her and we are playing it up because that spark was already there.  How can you know when it is such a chicken and egg thing, anyway?

Whatever the cause, we are raising a little learning sponge.  And I am thrilled.

But I'm also trying to figure out what Christmas presents might be good ones this year for learning.  Last year, The Peanut got a microscope from Santa and it has been a lot of fun for everyone.  What will it be this year?  If anyone has some good suggestions on things that foster learning and fun at the same time, I'd love to hear them.

(Photo by Christy Hardin Smith, taken last summer at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston.)

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