How a 5 year old solves the problem of running out of gas

We have a few habits in our household. One is to end the day by saying what was the best of the day (kind of like a gratitude ritual). Another is to solve complicated problems. My 3 year old is still kind of indifferent to problems. In his world, things are still ok and if something needs solving, Mommy will solve it. But my 5 year old thinks it’s a game and it often becomes one of the ‘best things of the day’. You can read how he solves problems such as backpainthe Greek debt crisisthe ash cloud or the dead birds mystery.

So recently I asked him what he’d do in case we ran out of gas. And by that I meant that there is no gas anywhere to be had.

That concept seemed strange to him as he is used to buying or getting whatever we run out of. So his first answer was indeed, to get to the nearest gas station to fill up the tank.

When he ‘got’ the problem, here’s what he would do.

1. Ersatz gas:

I haven’t told him about the origin of the word, but for him the first solution clearly asks for a similar substitute. Not a bad idea. After all, it’s what the industry has been trying to do with biofuel and the likes.

2. Electricity:

Yup, that’s exactly what big car manufacturers bet on as well with their hybrid cars. And also electric cars are up and coming. We really like this one :=)

3. Walk or cycle.

At least if it’s close by. He had no answer to the question on how we would get to the family and friends that live in other, far away countries. So you guys will have to figure something out to come and see us…

4. Make cars that run on money.

Now there’s an original idea. To my son, there is money enough in the world. It comes out of a machine in the wall when you need it. Dad even lets it lie around on the hallway table. So if we have plenty of it, why not try to make cars that run on money?

Let’s take  coins – because burning paper money would not make much sense…

Coins are mostly made of copper, which melts at a very high temperature and thus probably cannot be used as fuel (I was crap at both physics and chemistry, so what do I know…). However, copper is highly conductive and often used for electric wiring. So there is a bit of usability in there.

5. Air and water.

So Mommy, you blow air in the car, and you mix it with water. Then you push it and it will run.

Oh really? Let me google this… Well, looks like my son could start working for Genepax right away, because they apparently have invented the car that runs on water. But of course some people (who, unlike me, understand physics and chemistry) say it’s a lot of bull.

6. Take a kangaroo.

Oh sure! Hop on! But honey, kangaroos live in Australia. How would we get them over here? What with no gas and hence no airplanes.

Mommy! The kangaroo can come in a boat or a canoe!

Ah yes, I forgot…

7. Wind.

The wind pushes us. Like the sailing boat. And if the wind blows in the wrong direction we close it off on one side so it turns.

Gee, I think Mommy has a lot to learn in terms of physics still…

But a sailing car, why the hell not? The idea is actually pretty old. And if we have an electric car and the electricity has been generated by wind power, that’s the closest we get to a sailing car isn’t it? But a company has also here already invented the car.

Nothing earth shattereringly new today. Except that it shows me (again) that little kids can reinvent the world as well as adults can.

So, go ask your kid to solve your problem. He might come up with the solution for you.

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