Wednesday, August 12, 2009

10 QUESTIONS !

Ten of the best kids' questions.

A report has found four out of five parents have been left vexed by science questions asked by their children. Could you do any better? Here are 10 of the best questions posed by children and sent in by readers - scroll to the end to offer an answer.

Father shaving in bath as daughter sits close by

Where do babies come from? What makes a rainbow? Why is the sky blue?

When it comes to tough questions, every parent knows Jeremy Paxman is a pussycat compared with the interrogative demands of a typically curious child.

A survey of UK parents with children aged five to 16 found four in five mothers and fathers were flummoxed by the scientific ponderings of their offspring. We asked readers to submit children's questions which had left them similarly vexed.

Here are 10 of the best. And here, also, is your chance to offer up an answer. Using the form at the bottom of the page, pick a question and send us a response - but remember it should be worthy of engaging and enlightening a young child.

1) Why don't all the fish die when lightning hits the sea?

"My daughter tends to come out with a question like this, which totally confounds you, about once a week", says Will Sharpe, from Sandy in Bedfordshire. It was asked by his daughter, Kimberley, now six, when she was five, and may have followed a trip to feed the ducks. "This is just one of those which stuck with me, I think I tried to fob it off. She can be quite dippy at times, but can come out with these questions which seem totally profound," he says.

2) How much does the sky weigh?

I must admit all I could do was just laugh and say, 'because it is!'
Angela Fraser

This question was posed by Ken Bright's son Ben, who is now 11, when he was four, as they drove from their home in Brighton to a children's zoo. He says: "It's stuck with me. I think he was just looking out of the window of the car and just came out with it. I looked at my partner Jane and said, "well, that's quite a question. What prompted it, I don't know. I said something along the lines of, 'It's the weight of the universe minus the earth, because that's what the sky is.' I don't think he understood."

3) Why can't people leave other people alone?

"This is a good one. What can you tell your nine-year-old as to why people can't keep themselves to themselves?" asks Martina, from London. "Do you say, 'people just can't contain themselves,' or 'people aren't aware they are doing it,' or 'people are clumsy things?'"

4) Why are birds not electrocuted when they land on electricity wires?

"My daughter, then six, threw me when she asked me this. I had no idea," says Jo from, North Yorkshire. But I Googled it and got back to her. It is important not to just say, 'I don't know, shh,' like I see some parents do. Feed their inquisitive minds, and you may learn something yourself too."

5) What is time?

"I once heard a child ask a parent this. A tough question perhaps, but unfortunately the parent replied, 'tick tock, tick tock,' a far from satisfactory answer," says Naomi, from Exeter. "Although, 'the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as whole' might have been a bit much," she adds.

6) Why is the Moon sometimes out in the day and sometimes at night?

Emma Geertman, from Pembrokeshire says she was stumped by this question from her five-year-old. "Thank goodness for the internet," she says.

7) Why did God let my kitten die?

Is the tricky question posed by a child and sent in by Darrow, from Leicester.

8) Why do I like pink?

"If my children ask a question I don't know the answer to, then we'll go and look it up together. I've learnt some interesting things like that," says Debbie Welch, from Surrey. "Mind you, I was stumped by this question posed by my then four-year-old."

9) Why is water wet?

"My eldest daughter, who was about four or five at the time, once asked me this while she was sitting in the bath," says Angela Fraser, from Swaffham in Norfolk. "I must admit all I could do was just laugh and say, 'because it is!'" she says.

10) Why does my best friend have two dads?

This is the sensitive question which has been posed by a child close to Daniel White, in Aberdare, Wales.

BBC NEWS MAGAZINE

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