Explaining why mornings get darker in autumn to a 4 year old. Lesson 1.

Our 4 year old daughter, Amelia, asks a lot of questions at the minute. Well not this minute, she’s not with me, she’s at school. Actually she probably is asking a lot of questions. You understand.

Every morning she comes and climbs into bed with us and we have a little chat while we feed the baby and try stay awake. She’s normally up at 6.30, and she’s obviously noticed that it’s now very dark at this time. Several times she’s asked why it’s still dark, and we’ve answered with “It’s still night time”, but she now knows it’s getting dark earlier, it’s dark when we’re getting ready for work, so this morning I decided to answer her question.

“I’ll bloody well tell her then” I thought.

“Well love, you know how I’ve told you before that the Earth travels round the sun, and that it takes a whole year to go round? And that I’ve told you that the Earth spins round too?”

“Yes, it spins really, really, really fast doesn’t it”

“Yes it does. Well, the Earth spins round once a day, but while it’s spinning, it goes right around the sun. But the Earth is bent over a bit, so in summer, the top part of the Earth where we are can see more of the sun, but in winter, because it’s bent over, the bottom of the Earth sees more of the sun. So when the top sees more of the sun, where we are, we have sunny mornings and nights, but when it’s coming to winter, the people at the bottom of Earth see more sun and we have darker mornings and nights. See?”

“Yes”

“So are you going to tell your teacher today? Go on, say: Miss it’s getting darker in the mornings as the Earth is on an angle 23 degrees from perpendicular”

I said smugly. This will stop her asking.

“Are you listening?”

Wife, who has been present the whole time: “I don’t think she’s listening”

Me: “Are you going to tell your teacher then?”

Amelia: “Smack my bum” [waves legs in air]

Wife: “Told you”

Brilliant.

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