Family Time

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Mummy, why is the sky blue?

Nothing can make you feel more intellectually inadequate than the random life questions of a toddler.

When you're only four years old, the whole world is an exciting wonderland, just waiting to be explored and discovered. The downside? The only tour guide on this magical voyage of discovery is Mum and Dad.

Nearly a quarter of parents admit they have invented an answer to their children's questions.

If you regularly find yourself baffled and bewildered by the inquiring mind of your information-hungry offspring, it's time to bank a few Grade A answers.

Here are seven questions that are almost guaranteed to crop up... and a handy answer to have ready when they do.

1. How is electricity made?

Electricity is made in power stations. It all starts in a big machine called a turbine; when the turbine turns around very fast, big magnets turn around a wire inside it (a generator) making an electric current. The electric current then goes into a transformer so we can use it in our homes and schools. Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb.

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2. How do birds fly?

A birds wings are extremely strong, much more powerful than a human's arms. When a bird flaps its wings, the air underneath allows it to soar into the sky. Not all birds can fly - the ostrich has wings but doesn't use them. Instead, it can run very fast!

3. Do dogs have feelings?

Yes. In the same way a little boy or girl can feel happy or sad, scared or angry, dogs experience all these emotions too. When you pet a dog or feed it a treat and it wags its tail, that's a sign the dog is happy. Dogs use their tails to communicate their feelings with humans. If a dog's tail is low down it means the dog may be worried. If the tail is hidden between its legs, it means the dog is scared.

4. What are rainbows made of?

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A rainbow is a big colourful arch in the sky, but it's really an illusion caused by the light. When rain falls from the sky far away, sometimes the sun's rays shine through the raindrops, reflecting different colours.

5. Why is the sky blue?

The air around our Earth is full of invisible molecules. When the sun shines, the rays of light bounce off these molecules, scattering lots of colours into the atmosphere. Blue is the strongest colour (humans are especially sensitive to blue light) so this is the colour we most commonly see when we look up into the sky.

6. Why do we need to go to sleep?

If you look at all the animals in nature, every one of them goes to sleep at some stage - bears find a cosy spot in a cave, horses lay down in their stables and your pet dog cuddles up in his basket for a snooze. This is because sleep allows your body to rest after a busy day. While you sleep, your brain organises all your thoughts and memories for the next day.

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7. Why is sea water salty?

More than 70 percent of the Earth is covered in water. This water splashes against the land and dissolves the minerals in the rocks. These minerals are also known as salts and when they dissolve, they mix with the water in the ocean. River water is not salty because it doesn't contain as many minerals.

 

 

For Science Week 2017, Science Foundation Ireland is asking everyone to get involved and to #StopAndAsk questions about the world around them.

If there is something you have always wanted to know whether it is why the sky is blue, if there is a science to the perfect penalty kick in football or how come some smarties taste different, #StopAndAsk to find out more!

 

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