Physics for Babies

Kate and I made a run to Babies “R” Us today, and looked at a bunch more baby stuff. We got a little punchy after a while, so it was perhaps not surprising that I was tremendously amused by the idea of Penguin Bowling.

On further reflection, though, it’s really only natural. After all, the toy is really nothing more than a child’s introduction to the study of physics. It’s really an educational tool that captures the very essence of physics: we learn about the world we live in by throwing things at other things, and seeing what happens when they collide. Sometimes we throw photons at atoms, or protons at anti-protons, and sometimes we throw rattly plush bowling balls at crinkly stuffed penguins (or farm animals or fuzzy monsters).

Whatever the target, and whatever the projectile, it’s all good physics.

Comments

  1. #1 acmegirl
    May 11, 2008

    OMG! My toddler LOVES Monster Bowling! My favorite was when she just ran at the monsters, ball in hand, swinging wildly! Be the ball, as they say!

  2. #2 CCPhysicist
    May 11, 2008

    It’s a good thing none of them look like Tux
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tux
    or I’d be getting that from my brother for my birthday.

    Who would like them more: the kid, you, or Emmy?

  3. #3 sandswipe
    May 11, 2008

    That’s not entirely true! What about astronomy?

    Oh wait. . . that’s a lot of astronomy too.
    http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/large/heic0717a.jpg
    http://www.physics.mcmaster.ca/research/Astrophysics/collision.gif
    http://www.cinestatic.com/infinitethought/uploaded_images/collision-724737.jpg

    I love science. I just wish we could keep bowling all the way up. It’s such a pain having to wait until something happens to crash into something else.

    I’ll have to remember this for my niece’s birthday.

  4. #4 joannamm
    May 12, 2008

    I think you might appreciate this book about baby development.

    http://www.amazon.com/Scientist-Crib-Early-Learning-Tells/dp/0688177883/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210614325&sr=8-1

    It’s called “The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind.” The premise is that babies are experimentalists that constantly gather empirical data about the world around them to try to figure things out. As an experimentalist myself, I found this to be extremely appealing. So when junior was in the phase of dropping his peas on the floor all the time, rather than getting all annoyed, I was proud of the little tike for doing his research so well.

  5. #5 Clay B
    May 12, 2008

    What is it with penguins? My son has some plastic toy penguins and came up with the idea to use them for bowling without ever seeing this product.

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