"Mom, how do elephants turn into other things?"
I was puzzled by this question at first but then I looked at the video he was holding and remembered, "Oh yeah... Incredible creatures that defy evolution..."
I got those videos a couple months ago from Vision Forum and have been very pleased with them. These, along with Moody Bible Institute's Science Video Classics set, are pretty much the only videos that Hunter watches, with the exception of a few foreign language DVDs here and there.
They're not exactly "preschool level" but I have never believed in limiting kids to that which we think they understand. I know from experience and common sense that there is no possible way of ever really knowing how much he understands, and that he probably understands a lot more than I think. So, just as we don't wait until babies understand language before we start talking to them and exposing them to it (but rather we talk to them so that they will understand), likewise we shouldn't wait until we think kids understand before exposing them to other concepts - we should expose them so that they will understand them.
Anyway, these DVDs are high quality science videos with great shots of animals, experiments, and much more, and they present a lot of interesting concepts. Yet, when Hunter watches them he usually isn't paying all that much attention for a significant portions of it, which is fine - I know that little kids don't need to sit there staring intently in order to be learning. Tiny kids just absorb.
Yet, even though I know these things, because of his lack of "paying attention" I sometimes wonder how much he is getting out of them. It's funny though how on occasions, like today, he will make funny comments like that that show me that he is picking up on things.
I'm sure though that you're wondering what on earth these videos are teaching that would make Hunter say that elephants turn into other things. I will have to admit that he did get it a little confused but, what he was thinking about was the section where they were talking about manatees. They talk about how evolutionists theorize that manatees are somehow the decedents of elephants, who supposedly one day decided that they were going to be water mammals and started living in the water and growing fins.
I explained to Hunter that what the video was saying that no, elephants actually didn't turn into other animals but that God had specially designed the manatee with all of its incredible features. So even though he did get his facts a little mixed up, it did show that he was absorbing it, and later, once it had already been stored in his brain, he was reflecting on it, sorting it out, and analyzing the information with his growing amount of understanding. Give kids the facts, they'll figure out the rules that govern them. Which, might I add, stands as another reason for not waiting till we think that kids can understand before exposing them to interesting and advanced subjects - with little kids' ability to absorb raw facts, they have the benefit of absorbing and storing the information now, while being able to understand it deeper and deeper as they grow.
Here is a little clip off some of the content of these great videos...
"And now will I shew thee the truth..."
Hunter is 4 years, 2 months old