My Child (aged 11) just dropped the first heavy question on me. We were talking at dinner tonight when the question was asked "Who created God?". I tried to explain that the question was a very good one, and that many before had asked it.
I was unsure how to elaborate to my child and began looking for books and websites to assist me in explaining evolution to my child.
Any advice on books, sites, or conversation topics to discuss?

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There are a surprising number of evolution books for kids. Here's just a few that are on my list to get down the road. Check out Amazon for more. I think there are also a few people on Amazon that have lists for the atheist parent. I just can't locate one right now.

The Tree of Life by Ellen Jackson is a picture book. I read it to my 5 year old, it might be a bit to juvenile for an 11 year old but if you can find it in the library it's worth a read.

Born With a Bang by Jenifer Morgan is one I haven't read yet but it's on my list. There are actually two more books that follow this one. All are well received on Amazon.

Life on Earth: The story of Evolution
Also looks good.

Also, if you have access to the History channel there is an awesome new series called Evolve. I've been watching it with my son (with the exception of the sex episode). He really seems to enjoy it as do I. There's also an older series called The Universe which comes on every now and then on History.

You might want to join our parenting group to get an idea of how other parents here are addressing similar questions. There are also some links for other books there that might interest you.

Since my boy is only 5 we really don't address god directly yet. My hope is that by teaching him the concepts of evolution and big bang early we'll be better prepared to have discussions about god when he gets around to asking.
Dan Barker has written quite a few children's books.

You can purchase them from the FFRF website or EvolveFish.
I remember when I was 11 I started to watch the discovery channel a lot. There are some really cool documentaries out there that talk about the creation of the planets, dinosaurs, our moon, etc. It may be a little heavy, but these documentaries typically have a lot of animated scenes of someone's concept of how a heavenly body was formed. I know a lot of kids eat that stuff up!

Because dinosaurs are cool...

...And there were a lot of explosions, crashes, fire and lava during the formation of planets....

I'm sure you can have a lot of fun with this! Take a family trip to a science museum and talk to the people who work there, they have a lot of experience talking to kids about evolution. The planetarium is another fun place you could visit.

Also try and find a observatory near your town. I took an astronomy class in college, and we were required to go out to our local observatory. I think most of them have free viewing. The only problem is you have to go late at night in the middle of nowhere. But the experience is amazing!

I think this is a good opportunity to encourage your child to take an interest in science. If s/he takes an interest, then you can go from there and find some books s/he would want to read.

God knows we need more people to take an interest in science! (hehe....)
I've got to agree with LoLo on this one. It sounds like you've got a kid ripe for sciencing.

Science museums and home lab kits (Make Your Own Slime, etc) are a good start, but I think the real trick is to not always have the answers. When you don't have a ready answer, you have an excellent opportunity to say, "I don't know, let's go find out."

This is really just speculation on my part, but I figure the way to handle the big metaphysical questions is to guide your child to the resources and tools and let them figure out the answers for themselves.
Thanks for the input, and keep it coming. We picked up a great book by Steve Jenkins at the library. The title is Life on Earth. Cool artwork and a not too detailed explanation about the "origins of everything" on earth.
We will definitely be spending some time at the observatory.
Try looking for a book on teaching philosophy to children.

Teach your child to think and discuss explain that there are different points of view and different opinions.

I think philosophy should be taught in all schools it is far more important than teaching religion.
When mine asked I always moved them though it using ideas they were familiar with or could visualise:

So you two kids look a little different to me and your Mum right? Maybe you'll be stronger or shorter or slower or faster or better swimmers or have bigger ears or longer fingers - lots of little differences.

Well it's the same with animals. Suppose a cheetah has some children and some of them are faster than the others. Well when times are hard the slower ones won't get any food and they'll starve and the faster ones live on to have more kids.

So the differences that are useful carry on and the differences that make things harder die out etc. etc.

They just seemed to get it like it was obvious.




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