August 10, 2009
Why being 'poor' with nothing to do is good for the kids
~ They make their own laptop computers with paper and cell phones with wood. Each letter on their homemade keyboards includes a drawing for the sound. An apple for "A". A ball for "B" etc. I love how they mimic texting. It's a riot. (BTW this was their idea - not mine)
~ They work. A slumped shouldered little one comes into the house and utters the outlawed statement "I'm bored." Immediately, the offender is given work to do. Laundry gets folded, drawers get reorganized, weeds get pulled and of course a little character gets built in the children too.
~ They invent. Yesterday, the children lounged around sitting upside down on the couch or with legs lazily thrown over the coffee table while they laid on the floor. "Oh we could make a snack maker! All you have to do is push a button and out would come whatever you wanted to eat." "How would it work?" "Well, one compartment would be for the milk, another for the sugar and flour" etc. They thought of everything. In the end they could have made a million "real" snacks instead of inventing them in their head. Benefits? Critical thinking skills, imagination, problem solving, creativity, communication etc. etc. - and no sugary calories consumed.
With a little more brainstorming, Sophia invented a special closet you could enter for undressing and dressing. In this closet you always come out with a great outfit and you never have to fold, iron or put away clothes.
~They act. The other day our neighbor friend came over and with the girls put on a 5act play. It had something to do with a mayor and rats and a tea party. I don't exactly know what it was about, but at the end of the day, there were lots of giggles and "Oh yeah's" from recounting their costumes and the fun they had. I liked seeing our 12 year old neighbor forget all about her cell phone and act like a "little girl" again.
~They explore. The children packed up for an adventure with sleeping bags, machetes, and the new BB gun on their backs. They went for a walk on the "trails" with Mr. Santos. We only live on five acres, but somehow the adventure lasted two hours. The family came in breathless with the fun they had and the stories they wanted to share. "Mom were home! It was so fun!" I took advantage of the "home school" moment and made them write their memories in their notebooks. They were more than eager to. In fact, our neighbor came right on over when she heard all the commotion. She helped write the stories adding her own little embellishments and ideas to spruce it up.