Last week I was reading The Lorax out loud to my six-year-old son, Owen, when he suddenly stopped me mid-sentence.
“Wait,” he said. “Why do all the Bar-ba-loots have to leave?”
“They’re out of Truffula fruit because all the trees got cut down,” I explained.
“Couldn’t they just eat something else?” Owen asked.
Then it occurred to me that something that seems so obvious to me is not at all obvious to a little kid who watches his mom choose the week’s food from packed grocery-store shelves. In Owen’s world, things don’t really “run out – if you pick all the berries off of one bush, you move on to the next. If you eat the last bowl of cereal, you wait for Mom to pick up another box on grocery day.
A lot of families are out seeing The Lorax this weekend (we hope to catch a matinee next Saturday!), and I’m guessing there will be a lot of the same kind of semi-confused conversations Owen and I had last week. It’s always good to be armed ahead of time for those conversations, since it’s not always easy to figure out how to explain tough topics at the spur of the moment. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Make it fun. Check out these 10 games that teach about the environment and conservation.
- Set the stage. If you don’t already know the premise of The Lorax, read the book before you see the movie and talk it over. The movie is a lot longer and more packed with details, but at least you and your kids will go in with a basic understanding of what they’re about to see – and what it means.
- Ask leading questions. These Lorax-inspired discussion questions were created for educators, but are a perfect way to talk to your kids about what they learned in the book or movie.
Did you see The Lorax this weekend or have you read the book to your kids? Did it raise any tough questions?