Here in Maine we’ve had more rainy days than sunny days lately. That means we’ve been wearing our rainboots a lot. Yesterday, as I was trying to convince my daughters to wear their rainboots instead of sneakers my four-year-old asked “what’s rubber?” To which I replied that it’s a waterproof material used in boots to keep our feet dry. That, of course, prompted her to ask where it comes from. I explained to her that it comes from trees kind of like maple syrup comes from trees. And now she wants us to grow a rubber tree. That prompted another line of questioning about why we can’t grow rubber trees in Maine.
If you have a child in your life who is also curious about where rubber comes from, Maddie Moate has a video for you. In Where Does Rubber Come From? Madddie visits a forest in Thailand to learn how rubber trees are tapped and how the sap is used to make products like rubber boots.
On a related note, here’s a short TED-Ed lesson on how the rubber glove was invented.