30 ELI5 Topics for Evie

Random Observation/Comment #799: I feel like I only have 5 more years before she becomes a tween and doesn’t even want to hang out with me any more.

Why this List?

5 is an incredible age of wonder and why’s. To elevate my conversation with Evie, I’ve thought about different complex topics we can discuss on our drive back from pickup/drop-off (~7 min). I haven’t brought up all of these yet, but it’s better than asking “What did you learn at school today?” and getting “I don’t remember.”

As a bonus, I asked ChatGPT for an alternative answer. ChatGPT’s answers are in italics.

I think my answers are clearly unique to how I chat with Evie about things. Perhaps AI will just be a learning guide for facts rather than creating stories and pulling the relevant history of interactions.

  1. How do school buses work? – School buses leave at a set time and go pick up kids at different places before dropping you off at school for class. When coming home, the school bus will drop off kids that are closer to the school first. Maybe you’ll ride a school bus next year! – School buses are designed to transport students to and from school safely. They are typically big and yellow, with flashing lights and a stop sign that extends when the bus stops to pick up or drop off students. The buses are driven by trained drivers who follow specific routes and safety protocols to ensure that everyone arrives at school and home again without any problems.
  2. Why do we have traffic lights and stop signs? – We all need to take turns on roads. Traffic lights help with letting people know when they need to stop or can go. When the light is green, the people in cars have the “right of way.” When I stop at a stop sign, the car on my right has the “right of way” to go first. – We have traffic lights and stop signs to help keep drivers and pedestrians safe. They tell us when to stop, go, and be careful, so we can avoid accidents.
  3. Why do we need to add gas to the car? – The car needs gas to run. The car engine uses gas for explosions called “combustion.” The combustion creates energy that moves the wheels of the cars. – We need to add gas to the car because it’s what powers the engine. Gasoline is a type of fuel that burns to create energy, which makes the car move.
  4. Are wild animals dangerous? – Animals in the wild can be hungry and want to eat other animals. Imagine if we didn’t feed our kitties. Wouldn’t they first ask for food and then they might get attack us because they’re hungry. This is why we don’t want to get too close to wild animals. – Some wild animals can be dangerous, especially if they feel threatened or cornered. It’s important to be careful and respectful around them.
  5. How do we have pets? – Since we raise the animals at a young age by feeding them and taking care of them, our cats are super nice to us. The pets learn from how we treat them. – We have pets because they can be great companions and bring us joy. People have been keeping pets for thousands of years, and many animals have been domesticated to live with us.
  6. Why do we have to clean our room? – When you’re drawing on paper, do you like a clean paper or one you’ve drawn on? In a clean room, you know where everything is and you can enjoy the space more. – We have to clean our room to keep it tidy and organized. It can also be helpful to reduce clutter and make it easier to find things.
  7. Why do we have a tongue? – The tongue helps with pronouncing words. It’s also used for eating and tasting food. Try talking without using your tongue. *holds onto tongue* “s-thee? is-thent thith s-tho haaad to do?” – We have a tongue to help us taste and eat food. It also helps us speak and make different sounds.
  8. Why do we wash our hands? – There are germs and bacteria everywhere and you touch a lot with your hands. If your hands are dirty with germs and you eat then you can accidentally eat germs and get sick. You also don’t want to get other people sick. – We wash our hands to remove dirt, germs, and bacteria that can make us sick. It’s an important way to stay healthy and prevent the spread of disease.
  9. What’s the difference between “much” and “many”? – Use the word “many” when you can count things. Say “there are so many books in the library” because you can count the books. I can say “I love you so much” because there’s so much love I can’t count it. – “Much” and “many” are both words we use to describe quantity. “Much” is used with uncountable nouns, like “much water” or “much time”. “Many” is used with countable nouns, like “many books” or “many cars”.
  10. Why do we have to make sure food is cooked? – When I cook food on a hot pan or in the oven, the heat kills the germs on the food. It takes a long time for cooking chicken for example because the meat is thick and the center needs to reach a temperature. This is why thicker foods taking longer to cook. – We have to make sure food is cooked because there are tiny things called bacteria that can make us sick if we eat them. When we cook food, it gets hot enough to kill the bacteria and make the food safe to eat.
  11. How do you keep warm? *grabs blanket and wraps around Evie* Your body makes heat. When you want to stay warm, you want to store the heat close to your body. To do that, you add layers of blankets or clothes so the heat doesn’t get out. That’s why we wear long sleeves and jackets in the winter and shorter sleeves and shorts in the summer. – To keep warm, we can wear clothes that are thick and cozy or stay in a warm place like inside a house or near a heater.
  12. How do candles work? – Candles are made of wax and a piece of string called a wick. Wax is fuel for the fire to keep burning so when you light the wick, the fire burns and melts the wax. We want to be careful with candles because the fire is hot and can spread to burn other things. – Candles work by using a small flame to melt the wax that the candle is made of. When the wax melts, it becomes a liquid that the flame can burn, producing light and heat.
  13. Where do we live? Neighborhood? City? State? Country? World? – We live on the world, also called Earth, the third planet from the Sun. The world is made of many countries. We live in a country called United States of America or USA. USA has 50 states. We used to live in New York, but we moved to Colorado. Inside Colorado, we live in a city called Denver. – We live in the world, which is a big place with many countries. Our country is made up of many states, and our state is made up of many cities. The neighborhood is a smaller area where we live, usually with houses and streets.
  14. How do languages work? – Language helps with communication. We speak English, Cantonese, and Spanish. Each country speaks a different language because it depends on the teacher and community. If we lived in another country, then we would maybe speak in a different language if all our friends and teachers also spoke that language. – Languages work by using different sounds and symbols to represent words and ideas. Each country can have its own language or several languages that people speak.
  15. How do plants make food? – Plant leaves are green because of photosynthesis. The leaves grow and open up in the spring so it can take sunlight energy and convert the water and carbon dioxide into food. Do you know when we water the plants? This is so it can absorb it in the roots under the soil and bring it up the tree trunk. The carbon dioxide is in the air because people breathe in air with oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. – Plants make food through a process called photosynthesis. They use energy from the sun to turn water and carbon dioxide into sugar, which they can use as food.
  16. What is science? – Science is a whole process for studying the world. All of the questions we talk about have a lot of research and observations. For example, when we go to the zoo, there’s a science around studying animals and how they interact. – Science is the study of the world around us. Scientists ask questions, do experiments, and gather evidence to learn more about how things work.
  17. How does gravity work? – *drops ball* Why do things fall? Why don’t we just float around? When we jump, we come back down. This is because of gravity. It’s a force that keeps us on the ground. – Gravity is a force that pulls objects toward each other. It’s why we stay on the ground instead of floating away into space.
  18. What is the moon? – *Points to the moon at night* There it is. It’s moving around the Earth. The reason why it’s bright at night is because it’s reflecting sunlight. – The moon is a big rock that orbits around the Earth. It’s our closest neighbor in space and looks bright in the sky at night.
  19. How do keyboards work? *shows keyboard* Daddy uses this for typing letters to make words. Do you see the full alphabet on the keyboard? This button is a space bar which creates a space between words. – Keyboards work by using small switches or sensors under each key that send a signal to a computer when they are pressed. The computer then shows the letters or symbols on the screen.
  20. Why does it rain and snow? – Look at those white clouds *points to the sky*. These clouds are so fluffy because they have water inside of them. When there’s too much water inside the clouds then it releases it as rain from the clouds. – Rain and snow happen when water in the air gets cold and turns into tiny droplets or ice crystals. These droplets or crystals then fall to the ground.
  21. How does ice work? – When you put water in the freezer, you get ice. This happens because the water gets very cold in temperature and it goes from a liquid to a solid. When you bring the ice out and it’s warm around it, the ice will turn back into water. – Ice is a solid form of water. It forms when water gets cold enough to freeze and turns from a liquid to a solid.
  22. Why are there so many different types of cars? – Different people like to drive different cars. There’s a big truck for carrying food to grocery stores. There’s a larger car if families have kids and need more room. There are smaller cars that have less room, but might look cool to some people. – There are many different types of cars because people have different needs and preferences. Some cars are better for carrying lots of people or things, while others are faster or more efficient.
  23. What are routines? – We do routines all the time. We want to get into a habit of doing things that are good for us like brushing teeth so your teeth stay healthy and showering so you don’t get smelly. – Routines are things we do every day or every week, like brushing our teeth or going to school. They help us stay organized and make sure we get important things done.
  24. What are symptoms? – A symptom could be a snuffy nose or maybe a high temperature fever. It means your body is reacting to something wrong and it’s telling you to take some medicine or get some more rest so it can fight off the sickness. – Symptoms are signs that something might be wrong with our bodies, like a cough or a fever. They can help doctors figure out what’s going on and how to make us feel better.
  25. What is covid? – Covid is a virus that we found out about in 2020 and caused the whole world to shut down. We couldn’t go out and had to wear masks before a vaccine came out. We had to do this because we didn’t want to get the virus and/or spread it to other people. Covid is still around, so be careful and always wash your hands. – Covid is a disease caused by a virus that can make people sick. It can spread from person to person and can be prevented by washing our hands, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated.
  26. How does baby teeth work? – Right now you have baby teeth. Look how small they are. These teeth will eventually fall out so you can get adult teeth like Mommy and Daddy’s. After your adult teeth fall out, you don’t get any more teeth, so be sure to brush your teeth to make sure they stay clean. – Baby teeth are the first teeth that babies get when they are born. They help babies chew food and learn how to talk. Eventually, they fall out and are replaced by adult teeth.
  27. What are text messages? – When I want to talk to Mommy, I usually just send a text message. I type with the phone keyboard a sentence and then I send it to your Mommy’s phone so she can read it. You can also add fun emojis like this *adds random cat emoji*. Or you can add gifs. *adds funny gif*. – Text messages are short messages that we can send to other people using our phones or computers. They are a quick way to talk to someone without having to call them on the phone.
  28. How do units of measurement work? – When you just say a number, like 5, it’s very hard to tell what that number means without a “unit”. The unit gives context, so you can say 5 seconds, which is 1-2-3-4-5 long or 5 years, which takes a much longer time. How old are you? Yes, 5 years old. So without saying the seconds or minutes or hours, 5 can mean a lot of things. – Units of measurement are ways we can measure things, like length, weight, or time. They help us compare things and understand how big or small something is.
  29. What’s a blockchain? – Blockchains… they’re everywhere. This is a technology Daddy works on to build some of the tools we use on our phones and computers. – Blockchain is a technology that is used to keep track of information or transactions. It works by creating a secure digital ledger that can’t be changed or tampered with. It’s often used for things like cryptocurrency or online contracts.
  30. What is Mommy and Daddy’s main job? – Our main job is to keep you safe and make sure you grow up to be kind and help the world. We are going to have lots of fun along the way. – Mommy and Daddy’s main job is usually to work and provide for the family. This means they go to their workplace and do their job to earn money, which can be used to pay for things like food, clothes, and a place to live. They also take care of their children and help them grow up healthy and happy.

~See Lemons ELI5