Tagged Newton’s Laws of Motion

Toddler Laws of Physics (Toddler Lessons: Part One)

They may live by their own rules most of the time, but even toddlers can’t escape the laws of physics.

Here are ten laws of physics as demonstrated by toddlers. (Well, eight laws of physics/laws connected to physics, and two random principles favoured by scientists, technically.)

1. Archimede’s Principle

(The buoyant force exerted on a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces. The volume of an object can be calculated by the volume of water it displaces.)

Measuring the displacement of water by a toddler in a bath allows accurate calculation of the volume of work involved in cleaning the bathroom following said bath.

2. Boyle’s law

(When temperature is constant, volume of a gas is inversely proportional to the pressure.)

The volume of sleep a toddler has is inversely proportionate to the pressure of the temper tantrum in which the toddler will engage.

3. Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation

(The force with which bodies are attracted to each other is directly proportional to the product of their masses, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.)

The attraction of two toddlers to one another is directly proportional to the likelihood of them hitting one other, and inversely proportional to the likelihood of there being two of the toy they will both want to play with.

4. Pascal’s Law

(Pressure exerted at any point in a confined fluid is transmitted equally at every other point in the container.)

Tantrums exerted by a toddler in any shop during an outing will be transmitted equally throughout all shops on the outing (until the parent surrenders and returns home, or supplies chocolate).

5. Newton’s Laws of Motion

(First Law: An object at rest will remain at rest, and an object in motion will continue to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force. Second Law: The sum of the external forces on an object is equal to the mass of that object multiplied by the acceleration of the object. Third Law: When one body exerts a force on another body, the other body exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.)

Toddler’s First Law of Motion: A moving toddler will continue moving at a constant velocity (known as ‘hyperactive cheetah’) until acted upon by the external force of a wall that came out of nowhere and smacked them in the nose. A toddler who does not wish to sit in the buggy will enter and remain in a state of extreme rest (known as ‘the plank’) until acted upon by the external force of bribery with raisins and wrestled into the buggy.

Toddler’s Second Law of Motion: High speed toddlers brandishing heavy objects with the intent of whacking you on the head are very dangerous.

Toddler’s Third Law of Motion: Two toddlers running will always run with equal zeal in opposite directions, exerting equal force upon each other at the point of inevitable collision. They will both cry.

6. The Theory of Special Relativity

(What is relative and what is absolute about space, time and motion…Oh, yes, I am not even attempting to give a proper summary of the Theory of Special Relativity!)

Bedtime is relative: where parents see bedtime, toddlers do not. Broccoli is relative: parents see food, toddlers do not. Everything a parent says is actually relative. It may have been an order from the parents’ point of view. The toddler, however, heard a gentle suggestion that they have decided not to follow.

Furthermore, according to the Theory of Special Relativity, moving clocks run more slowly than stationary clocks. Grumpy toddlers are also able to influence the speed with which clocks run. This is why an hour in the doctors’ surgery waiting room lasts for approximately eleven years.

7. Uncertainty Principle

(In quantum mechanics, two complementary parameters (eg, energy and time) cannot both be understood to infinite accuracy: the more you know about one, the less you know about the other.)

Toddlers are their own Uncertainty Principle: the more a parent believes they know about what their toddler wants, the less they actually know. This is why your toddler is crying because they asked for a jam sandwich and you gave them a jam sandwich.

8. Causality Principle

(Cause must always precede effect.)

Causality does apply to toddlers, but not as we know it. Every effect has an alleged cause, but it is not necessarily relevant in any way and it might not have happened yet.
‘Why is the baby in a toy storage box?’
‘Because I’m going to wear my wellies tomorrow, aren’t I?’

9. Occam’s Razor*

(The hypothesis with the fewest assumptions, providing the simplest answer, should be selected.)

Now, toddlers disapprove of Occam’s Razor. They prefer the most ludicrous explanation imaginable for any given situation. However, toddlers are walking manifestations of the principle. They are the simplest explanation. Jam on the baby? Toddler did it. Shoes in the bread bin? Toddler did it. Crayon on the tv? ‘Peppa wanted to be blue’ = Toddler did it.

According to Occam’s Razor, if it looks like a toddler did it, the toddler did it. Do not be fooled by spurious accusations about the cat’s involvement.

10. Murphy’s Law

(If anything can go wrong, it will.)

Self explanatory: in parenting toddlers, if anything can go wrong (and it can), it will.


(Please Note: Absolutely no level of scientific accuracy should be assumed in the contents of this post. If you are studying the Theory of Relativity, step away: nothing here is going to help you. Though, interestingly, if a great enough mass of toddlers are concentrated in any area, they DO create a black hole from which no toy that enters will ever emerge. But I digress…into nonsense, I may add, not General Relativity. Step away.)


You can see other posts in my Toddler Lessons series here.