There is an amazing stage of child development where children not only have a vocabulary explosion but they discover the power of the question. They discover how questions can capture the attention of an impressed adult even when this adult is extremely tired and has exceeded their daily dose of answering questions. “Why? Why? Why”. “Where does …. come from?” “Why do I have to ….”. “Why? Why? Why”. This phase is amazing because there are so many facts and concepts kids can absorb. There is one question they may or may not have asked yet. It is “where does sugar come from?”
Sugar’s fine, grainy crystals are rather unassuming when you see them packaged uniformly on store shelves but its history is as rich as its sweet taste. So as your girls try to sneak in more of that crunchy, grainy, raw cake batter or as they scoff down spoons of any sweet dessert, here are some rare, historical facts about sugar you can share with them.
- (Insects – bees) Before sugar ruled the world, in 10, 000 BC there was honey. People domesticated bees to get their daily source of sugar.
- (Plant – sugar cane) The Slave Trade is a well known historical event that connects sugar to Africa and Western civilisation. But what few know is that sugar was first used by a man in Polynesia. In 510 BC it was known as “the reed which gives honey without bees“. Centuries later came the slave trade. Labour from West and Central Africa and then India was used to cultivate sugar cane in the Americas for profit.
- (Vegetable – beet root) During the mid-1700’s, the German chemist Andreas Margraff discovered that both white and the red beetroot contained sucrose, which was similar to sugar from sugar cane.
Reading these facts on screen or paper isn’t a particularly thrilling exercise, but when we weave these nuggets of wisdom into chat time with a child whilst having a sweet treat, the facts are very easily and happily ‘digested’. Furthermore, as parents we have seen one too many times that kids have amazing capacities to understand facts and when it comes to asking question after question, they are unbeatable!
One way to encourage kids to ask more meaningful questions is by giving them open ending activities to work on or play with. My Book of Awesomeness is an ideal activity book for curious, young girls. They are given the space to express themselves, be creative and ultimately find out that each of them have amazing talents and are uniquely beautiful. Rest assured, there will be questions during or after they complete an activity!