Common Questions Kids Ask During Summertime

Kids are naturally curious. They want to know how everything works. They want to understand how A goes through B to become C. And most importantly, why normal, everyday stuff is the way it is. So while we can’t know exactly what your little one will ask you, we’ve put together a pretty handy list of questions we hear during the summertime months from our kids. Let’s dive in…

Where do fireworks come from?

Now this is one of those questions our little ones like asking, especially around the 4th of July. We can tell our 8-year-olds that fireworks consist of an organic salt and an oxidizer like potassium perchlorate. We can also tell them a little bit about the history of fireworks. Most people think of fireworks as an American product but they were actually invented in China. They roasted bamboo stalks till they turned black and sizzled, then the air inside would explode. Later on, they started filling the bamboo shoots with gun powder and adding steel dust and iron shavings to create a sparkle. Fast forward to when Europeans migrated to North America: One of our earliest Founding Fathers — John Adams — wanted to mark Independence Day with “bonfires” and “illuminations.” And that’s how fireworks become a 4th of July tradition.

Why do we sweat?

To answer this question, ask your child to look at the lines on their skin. Can they identify where those lines meet? Well, that’s where humans have their sweat glands. During summertime, it can get really hot and the sensors on our skin will let the brain know about the increase in temperature. The brain then tells the sweat glands to work, and we sweat. Has your little one also noticed how salty sweat is? It’s because sweat comes from the salty fluid in our bodies. Once sweat gets on the surface of the skin and evaporates, our bodies cool down. That’s why humans sweat.

Who invented s’mores?

Though nobody knows for sure who invented s’mores, the first published recipe for this sweet, gooey treat was in Loretta Scott Crew’s Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts 1927 book. Some believe that s’mores are a popular Victorian-era dessert similar to other jam, cream, and lemon curd desserts like sponge cake and sandwich cookies.Others say the inspiration for the s’more recipe came from the 1917 MoonPie — two graham cracker cookies with a marshmallow filling and dipped in chocolate — or the 1913 Mallomar, which was a graham cracker and marshmallow, coated with chocolate. So even though we don’t know for sure who invented s’mores, pediatric dentists recommend you always brush your teeth after having this delicious campfire snack.

Why do flowers smell?

Flowers smell to attract insects. Because plants don’t move from place to place like you and me, they need a different way to move pollen (the part of a flower that grows into a seed) from one end of the flower to another. Sometimes the wind helps transfer pollen. Gravity can also push it into the right place. But for most plants, it’s insects, birds, and other small rodents that do most of the work. One way plants can attract creatures to transport their pollen is through a sweet-smelling scent.

Why is there a school break in the summertime?

The origin of summer break has to do with the rising temperature and the need for rest. Before the invention of air conditioners, schools and even entire cities were too hot to stay in during the hot summertime months. Since the brain is a muscle that also needs to rest, it made sense to suspend school in the summertime, giving kids a break from school and allowing families to travel to the cool countryside. Even though we now have air conditioning, our school calendar has yet to change.

Do butterflies remember being caterpillars?

It’s difficult to say for sure whether or not a butterfly remembers being a caterpillar. What we do know is that butterflies can remember what they learned as caterpillars — which is surprising in itself. During metamorphosis (the process of change) the caterpillar undergoes a biological undertaking that turns its insides into a soup. All the ingredients are then rearranged to form the beautiful butterflies we see swirling in the backyard during summertime. The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is so dramatic it’s sometimes hard to believe we’re talking about the same species. Kudos to your little one for knowing the two are the same animal.

Why do I need to visit the dentist?

This is perhaps the most common question we hear in our Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry waiting room here in Salem, Oregon. Hearing, “Don’t worry. It won’t hurt” only makes our little ones zero in on the word “hurt.” So next time they ask why they need to visit the dentist, tell them how regular dental checkups can help prevent oral issues like cavities (holes in the teeth) before they start to hurt.

If it’s your child’s first visit and they’re still a little nervous, let us know when you’re scheduling your appointment with us. We’ll make the necessary arrangements for you to visit our office before the day of their actual checkup. Both of you can meet the team, walk through our office and treatment areas so your child can get acquainted with the environment. Now everything won’t seem so scary when it’s time for them to say “ahh”.