Cloud Watching….or Pareidolia education for the young

As a teacher I often chose to teach all year by taking part in the Summer Camp run by the school.  The camp allowed parents that worked to have a safe, but enjoyable place for their children, and was an excellent source of extra income for the staff.

For the older children, there were courses in photography, biking, art, and about any other subject a teacher had a yen to pass on.  The younger children had themed play camps.  I loves these, one week was pirates, the next castles,  even farming and space were included.  It was all songs on the theme, art projects (we dug for booty in the same box) and in the afternoons, restful activities like napping.  3 to 5 year olds really can’t keep going “all day”.

Image

a dolphin, swimming through the sky? I think so…

One favorite afternoon restful “activity” was simply reclining outside and looking at the clouds.  Soon enough, those that were able to stay awake, were pointing out “oh look a duck, a dragon, a horse…look THERE!”  It was enough to just keep them on the sleep mats we had pulled out side, and soon most of them were snoozing so as to be rested for late afternoon playground fun.  As a teacher, it was often hard for me to stay awake myself.

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a singing cloud? or whistling?

Someone asked me how I had “thought” of this terrific way to entertain children. I was shocked, surely everyone liked to look at clouds and pick out what they looked like.  It’s got a fancy official name, pareidolia, but I considered it a wonderful way to sneak in some critical thinking.  If a cloud can look like a dophin, then a tortilla that looks like the Virgin Mary is probably just a tortilla.  Every child knows about pareidolia, it’s just that sometimes as adults they forget.

I found the cloud watching game great fun myself.  People ask me how I can enjoy working with small children so much, and I usually reply by saying “I find something I enjoy also that I can share with them!”  I cloud watch even when I am not around small children.

Here are some photographs from last summer, whenever I am out on our boat, which is a very slow moving pontoon boat, I enjoy watching the loons that live on the lake, and the clouds.  As people zip by on a jet ski they are having fun, but the loons don’t like them, and you miss out on a lot of other things, like clouds.

Image

hmmmm, maybe a cave painting of horses, going in different directions? but painting on the sky not a cave wall.



Categories: Family, Science, Skeptic

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  1. 31 Inanimate Objects With Secret Inner Lives – Pareidolia | Illuminutti

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