Storms teach science, acts of kindness

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling and Katers

Storms like hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards grab children’s attention and are excellent times for families to teach weather, geography and how people help each other. Emergencies can bring out the best in people. One never knows how children can be inspired to become a scientist, meteorologist, first responder, builder and medical person based on childhood teaching.

Getting The Facts

Technology can be a useful tool that always needs to be monitored to protect children and to ensure the content is not too scary. However, if something is happening near an extended family member’s home, they will hear conversations and it is a good time to teach.

There are many opportunities to use maps to teach the geography of the situation. The library has atlases for children. There are also placemats of maps of the world and the United States in local children’s stores and online at the Rainbow Resource Center for under $3 so children can see geography every day and you have an opportunity to grab a children’s map quickly.

Teaching Weather Facts

Besides local news, The Weather Channel has many interesting maps and videos. You can select age appropriate ones, turn off the sound, and use your own commentary, if needed. There will be many examples of courageous rescues and acts of kindness and few minutes may be enough. Your children may have many questions so this is a good time to discuss.

Very young children will be hearing about events and may draw their own scary false conclusions, unless you help them learn the facts. is an excellent source of information, videos and pictures. You can click around the site to find exactly what you want.

Books about weather and storms include: “Weather or Not” by Maryann Dobeck; “Fly Guy presents:Weather” by Tedd Arnold; and “The Magic School Bus presents Wild Weather” by Sean Callery. Families can show some of the pictures and add their own simplified narration for young children. Older children will enjoy the creative presentation. Some good online family teaching sites include and The Google maps site is an excellent example for older children to experience how technologists work with first responders to spread information and keep people safe.

There are many opportunities for families to teach how people pull together to help each other. Children will have opportunities to help give money and donate through schools, faith organizations, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Scouts, Rotary and many other civic groups. Children can help gather and pack donated supplies. These often can include children’s drawings of courage, strength and love that may be just what people need for the challenge of recovery during the months and years ahead. For more see and Through the Seasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.