Look, here’s the thing that’s been bugging me a bit lately. I’m seeing kids (my own included) looking for quick fixes and getting frustrated at their inability to do something, finish something or get something. We can instantly create fantastic cakes from packets, change channels quicker than we can make up our minds, we can buy clothes and electronic goods for cheaper prices than fixing things or making them ourselves. SOciety throws away so much packaging, wasted produce and perfectly good stuff, without even thinking about how quickly we’ve become accustomed to short-term gains. Heck, if I don’t want to make dinner I can go down the shops and buy it, or buy ready-made dinners from the supermarkets so tat I don’t have to do all the ‘hard work’. But I’m not here to rage against the machine, I just want to level out the playing field with experiences that really count, for the kids that I care for.
But sometimes I have trouble with waiting too….
I purposely introduced my 8-year-old daughter to layby, so that she can feel the build up and wait for something she *thinks* she really wants. As we all know, Christmas gifts can sometimes be wished for so eagerly and when they get them, be superseded by something entirely different.
The work that’s been going into redeveloping play concepts in my yard and room have had me enthused and patting myself on the back. However, in creating play areas that I want to see being used for real learning through play, I’ve forgotten that it often takes time for the children to adapt to that. That sometimes new toys are used in old ways, before old toys can be used in new ways.
but they are kinda related to this post!*
So today, I was fabulously surprise to extend on an observation of one of my co-workers. She’d noticed one boy throwing a ball at our ‘limbo rungs’ and then knocking it down with a baseball bat. SHe had been watching this relatively harmless play incase it led to more destructive play or wilder, more dangerous swings and come to the conclusion that he was playing cricket! He was role-playing at knocking the wickets down. I was pretty darn impressed, knowing that if she hadn’t been watching his role play may have been misconstrued as destructive play.
Still the play was drawing attention and getting a little bit wild. So I quickly grabbed a basket so that he would have something to aim the balls into and my fabulous co-worker figured out how to balance the basket using the limbo rungs for support 🙂
We adjusted the height a few times to get it at a slightly challenging level for throwing, but still low enough that the whole thing wouldn’t tip over when they went to retrieve their balls.
We added rings to create a boundary that made the throws larger, and not just dropping them into the basket. WE found some little plastic nets in home corner that acted like lacrosse sticks. Overall, the games were well-played and visitors were welcomed in.
Now I know I have to get working on more ‘project’ based activities; seeing the plants grow, developing artworks by layers, working together to create stories and the like. I know that the long-term rewards for teaching children patience and that it’s worth putting the extra effort in to reap what you sow. But sometimes, a little instant gratification can be a nice reward!