My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Tell me, mummy ... What makes lightning flash?

Here we are with our 2nd offering of our new linky, Tell me, mummy.

If you are in the UK, anywhere in the UK, you have probably witnessed some pretty erratic weather in the last few days. We have had hot sticky sunshine one minute, and torrential rain the next, and we have also been treated to one of the liveliest electrical storms I have ever seen. This is what prompted Munchkin's question of the week for Week 2.

Munch had her Nursery Graduation Prom last weekend. A day she has been very excited about for a long time. On Friday evening, I decided to take her on a little shopping trip, just the two of us, to complete her outfit with a few hair accessories. On leaving the shopping centre, a little after 9pm, we walked out to the bus stop area, which is all sheltered and usually very busy. This night was no exception. However, as we reached the shelter, a flash of lightning filled the sky, so bright you could have read a book in it! Munch was fascinated. This was followed by a series of phenomenal flashes, which had captured the full attention of every person waiting for buses. Munchkin sat herself down on the floor at the edge of the shelter and watched in awe, like a child watching fireworks for the first time. She was a little uneasy at times, but the curiosity and wonder overtook any feelings of discomfort, and then she asked the question ...

"Mummy, what makes lightning flash?"

Great, another 'sky related' question! And so the conversation began. This is how my reply went ...

"Clouds are made up of millions of tiny drops of water and ice, and sometimes those pieces of ice move around very fast and hit each other. This makes electricity, which fills up the clouds. That is what you see when we get lighning."

Again, I did feel as though my answer could have been better, but again, it seemed good enough for Munch. It actually then prompted further questions to follow, such as "Why doesn't the rain wash the lightning away?" and "Why do some storms have rain and some storms don't have rain?" 

This was clearly a topic that was interesting her!

From previous experience of working with children, I know that many kids have some very imaginative ideas when it comes to the weather and explaining its habits. This has always been especially true for thunder and lightning. These are the 'alternative answers' I will focus on this week. 

I remember teaching a lesson to a class of 7 year olds about the weather, and the theories behind thunder/lightning storms seemed to be the most popular, not to mention interesting! I therefore changed the direction of the planned lesson slightly and concentrated on this topic that seemed to be exciting them all so much. Their exercise was to draw a stormy picture using a variety of mediums, with a sentence explaining what they thought caused thunder or lightning. I can remember some of the responses, vividly!

"Lightning & thunder are from the Gods arguing and throwing the furniture around."

"Lightning is caused by the sun getting too close to the clouds."

"We get lightning when the Gods leave the lights on and make a power cut."

"Lightning is God's way of saying there are too many trees on Earth!"

The last one did make me laugh, and was an answer by a little boy that will always stick in my mind! He believed that trees were the only things that were ever struck by lightning, and therefore drew this conclusion himself!

This week's real answer has been taken from Science Kids

Lightning is a powerful burst of electricity that happens very quickly during a thunderstorm.

Lightning is caused by an electrical charge in the atmosphere that is unbalanced.

The movement of rain and ice inside a thundercloud creates an electrical charge, with the negative charge (electrons) forming at the bottom of the cloud and the positive charge (protons) forming at the top.

Opposites attract so the negative charge at the bottom of the cloud seeks out a positive charge to connect with.

Lightning can occur inside clouds, between clouds and from clouds to the ground."

Ok, so my answer may not have been as detailed as the real one, but I was on the right track and at least the information I gave her was correct, even if it was slightly condensed!

One very good thing has come from this week's little lesson though, and that is it seems Munch now has absolutely no fear of storms! She insisted on sitting at the front of the upper deck on the bus so that she could get a better view of the stormy weather, and excitedly shouted "I saw another one, mummy!!" every time there was a flash in the sky.

So, there we have it. Week 2 of our new linky, "Tell me, Mummy". We would love for you to join in and share the big, difficult, embarrassing questions that your little ones have asked you. Did you offer an answer? We're you left speechless? Did your quest for a response lead you to some amazing resources that you'd like to share with others? Whatever it is, if it relates to one of the millions of questions our children ask us, it has a place here! Just enter yourself on the linky and grab the badge code below to add to the bottom of your post! For a more detailed explanation of what Tell me, mummy is all about, take a look here.

Tell me mummy

See you next week!


  1. Loving all your questions Munchkin.

    1. Ducks and ears ... now that's a good one! Well done Emmy! Hmmm, need to throw a tricky one at mummy for Friday I think! Wonder what her knowledge is like on the equation of photosynthesis ...??! Thanks for linking up!