Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

August 31, 2009

Feeding Inquisitive Minds

Filed under: Family Activities — Erin @ 10:08 pm

Children are naturally inquisitive.  They like to ask questions and when those questions are answered, they have more questions about the answer!  Children are even more inquisitive when the subject matter is personal to them.  So today I want to share a safe and fun way for you to take your child on an information journey online.  Now most journeys online start with a search engine (like Google or Yahoo!), but for this journey we are going to use a new site called WolframAlpha.  Unlike search engines which point you to other websites for information, when you ask WolframAlpha a question, it will simply try to answer it for you.  This means you don’t need to worry about stumbling into sites you would rather your child not see!  It also means that setting up a little scripted journey is easy to do.

So Abbie (our 5 year old) and I started our journey with me telling Abbie that we are going to learn a little bit about her name and the day she was born.  She was immediately interested and promptly told me her full name is Abigail, so I simply typed Abigail into WolframAlpha


I told her that her name was a pretty great name since it is the 8th most popular name right now!  I also told her that many more children are named Abigail than adults since adults just realized how cool of a name it is and started naming their girls Abigail.  I asked her which she thought was more popular, Mark (my name) or Abigail, and she said Mark.



Abigail is a *much* more popular name these days, and I told Abbie that it looks like most of the Marks in the world were my age or older.

Then I asked Abbie for her birthday, which she responded with July 4th (which, by the way is a great birthday since it means I get the day off for all her birthdays!).  It turns out that numerous famous people were born on the 4th of July including the following:


Finally, WolframAlpha has a really cool feature where it has weather information on specific dates in the past, so I asked Abbie if she knew where she was born, and she knew she was born in Boston.  So we put in her birthday and Boston MA into the search box and I told her a little bit about the weather on her birthday.


After this little journey Abbie wanted to go on another journey, and she asked if we could “go under the sea” and take pictures with the photo booth software on my Mac.  So we had Samantha join us and took some pictures for fun:


So go ahead and take 20 minutes and feed your child’s inquisitive mind by taking them on a safe journey online.  Try out WolframAlpha and then keep playing online with Zoodles!

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