Countless studies analyze to what extent kids take their cues on how to react and how to behave from their parents. A devotee of the PBSKids show Wild Kratts, my six-year-old has absorbed an astonishing amount of animal facts.

When she calmly and with interest told me there was a snake on the swimming ladder, I should have taken a cue from her to remain calm.

Needing to redeem myself, I tried to turn the snakes into a Wild Kratts-worthy research project. At our seasonal cottage, we just recently replaced the rotary phone. Technologically, the snake question would not be answered with a quick Google search. I got out a relic – the phone book.

We started by calling two local environmental groups. I asked frantic questions on getting the snakes to leave and what to do if they have a nest, and both people offered ideas of who to call next. My daughter and I talked about how to follow their leads in the white and yellow pages.

After successfully finding three contacts (and unsuccessfully one), we went with consensus expert opinion and scared the snakes away every hour. We bravely went swimming after the third check was snake-free.

While the computer might have saved time, it does not hold the same sense of accomplishment for solving the problem.

While a nightmare-provoking experience for me, it reinforced for her how useful books can be and how to creatively approach problem solving. To the Kratts Brothers – a budding research assistant lives in Vermont!




Featured image: Bill Gillette, “Girl Uses a Magnifying Glass to Study Plant Life…”, National Archives and Records Administration. 1972, Public Domain

Above: Meredith Scott

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