Thursday, July 16, 2015

Evolution for Kids

So the other day, I gave Archie the most awful explanation of human evolution, humanly possible.

It went something like this:

"Mommy, how did the first person in the whole world get here?"

Me: This is the big moment, I can't mess this up! I turn down the music, because this is important stuff.

"Hmm, well. We all started out as mud, wait no, amoebas, do you know what that is? And then some of the amoebas were able to live longer because they had arm shaped blobs on them and this made it easier to collect their food and so when they had babies with another amoeba (OMG this is so wrong, amoebas can't even have babies (or arms) but am I supposed to describe cell division/fusion, uh, just go with the babies, we can correct the details later when he's older, its the general theory that matters), they had longer arms because their mommy and daddies did. Then some had sort of like eye type things and so were able to live better because they could see their food and so the ones without eyes died and that only left the ones with eyes... (OMG seriously! And do I have to say this about every single body part!? I'm, already exhausted) and eventually the amoebas turned into other animals and then they turned into humans!"

Archie: "Is that what you believe?"

Me: "Uh yeah, its a little more complicated than that, but basically yeah. (Already given up and determined that I have to find a book for this ASAP because I just ruined my son's critical thinking skills.

Archie: "And what do some other people believe? Jesus?

Me: "Well, some people believe that God put the first man and the first woman on Earth and then everyone else in the world is their baby and their baby's baby and so on." (Wow, that sounds WAY more plausible than that amoeba crap I just told him!!)

That night I did some research to find the best kids books that could help me to repair the damage I had done to my son's mind lol.

After reading reviews from various blogs and on Amazon, I decided to go with these three: Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story, Older than The Stars and I Wonder.

I was so excited when they finally came in the mail! Before reading them, I was most excited about Our Family Tree which turned out to be great.

After reading though, Older than The Stars was my favorite. It starts from the beginning of the universe as opposed to just life on Earth (as in Our Family Tree) so it talks about the big bang, the stars, the sun, etc. It has a cool rhyme going on in it too!

I Wonder is great too, but it actually poses more questions than it answers because it celebrates wonder in its own right and explains that some things we will never know for sure and that's ok. Beautifully illustrated.

All three books were really good and complement each other. Archie listened raptly to all of them and asked all the right questions. But if I had to choose just one, it would be Older than The Stars.

Now Archie has a basic understanding of words like proton, neutron and DNA and they make sense to him. They explain the things he's been wondering about!

I'm guessing that nobody else will be quite as bad at this explanation as I was, but just in case, these books may help :)


  1. Have you read "The greatest show on earth" by Richard Dawkins? I haven't read it myself, but from the quick summary I saw around the web, I would gladly give it a chance. :)

  2. I would also recommend "The magic of reality" by the same author of course. It is a graphic science book aimed primarily at children and young adults. Dawkins has stated that the book is intended for those aged around 12 years and upwards, and that when trialling the book prior to publishing, younger readers were able to understand its content with additional adult assistance.

    1. Both books sounds great, thank you! Archie is only 6 for the second one, but maybe I'll have a look at it for myself :)