As a cool mom in my 30s (a title I decidedly gave myself), I have to say, most days I feel pretty hip, with it, and even … young.
As cool moms do, I took my two children to the New York Hall of Science in Queens to learn with Disney Junior and XPRIZE about “Miles from Tomorrowland: Space Missions.” I figured it was a clever and fun way to engage my unsuspecting offspring in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) lessons.
On the way to the Hall of Science, I talked to my kids about Walt Disney’s idea of “The Future” when he was building Disney World in the 1960s. “The Future” at that time was typically imagined replete with robot maids, insta-foods, very figure flattering jump suits for men, women, and children, stark interiors, asymmetrical roofs, and houses being high on poles because flying cars were a thing.
My kids, who are 7 and 10, asked why he thought the future would be this way.
Well. This led to a very long and arduous People’s History of Technology, my attempt to explain life without smart phones, instant-anything (except pudding and Tang. We have always had instant pudding and Tang.), microwaves, the internet, video streaming, and perhaps most confusing, the inability to pause or rewind live TV.
These were all things I could easily remember living without, yet suddenly I was keenly aware that through my children’s experience, this reminiscence sounded like something written by Tolkien.
The tone in which my 10-year-old says “back in the 90’s” makes me believe that he’s referring to the pioneer days. But when I look at his life experience, this attitude kind of makes sense.
My 10-year-old creates stop motion animation videos with his toys, which he shares on YouTube with his classmates. They have a “production company.”
Ten-year-old me collected cool pencils, which I kept in a cigar box. The cool pencil collection was not allowed to be sharpened and actually used as pencils.
My point is this: science is changing EVERYTHING about how our kids experience the world, and the heights to which they can rise.
At the “Miles from Tomorrowland” exhibit, we saw 3-D printers in action, and I couldn’t help but think of the agony of waiting for an image to download pixel by strip of pixels on a dial-up internet connection as we stood and watched a toy rocket go from someone’s mind, to an app, to concrete form in no time at all. The 3-D printer lady told me there are even printers for FOOD. And they PRINT FOOD FOR ASTRONAUTS IN SPACE.
We saw toys developed by engineers that had such innovative and complex technological parts and purposes that I couldn’t even begin to explain or describe them, except for muttering “incredible” repeatedly.
It took everything within me to not scream “What sorcery is this!?” with each beep, buzz, and response we witnessed. Proudly, though, I was able to hold it together.
The toys and information that children have access to today will undoubtedly enable them to access their creativity in a practically limitless way. In fact, I’m a little jealous. As parents, though, we have to do our best to keep our open-jawed envy in check and encourage our kids to get involved in STEAM any way they can. We might be living in Tomorrowland now, but there’s still a future to be built, designed, and discovered, and our kids could be the ones to do it!
To get your kid involved today, check out the Miles from Tomorrowland Space Mission Sweepstakes! Just a little imagination could win your kid the chance to watch a rocket ship blast off into space, and more!More On