Last week we made Mother’s Day flowers using coffee filters. It was great, lots of fun. BUT. The real fun started after the flower making.
The table had little pools of water colour paint all over it, there were splashes of paint all over the kitchen cupboards and the floor. Pebble looked at the table then ran off to get something. She came back holding a sticky tape dispenser.
“Let’s put some tape on it!?”, she said. An invitation. A question.
I nearly said no. Nearly. There was mess everywhere, we’d done what we came here to do, the dishes were calling, the mess was calling. Then I stopped myself. I know deep in my gut that this is where it’s at – a child’s inquisitiveness, curiosity, exploration. THIS is the good stuff. I should know it: I studied it for five years. It’s just that sometimes practicality gets in the way. Too often it gets in the way, if I’m honest. I’m so much better at embracing the moment when I’m in the classroom. It’s my job. And I love it. But at home I’m too often in mum mode. Do-the-washing-cook-the-dinner-clean-the-house mum mode.
“Sure”. I accepted her invitation.
I helped Pebble to get the sticky tape that she wanted and watched her fascination and concentration as she placed it just so. Right over a big pool of water. It trapped some of the water, it squeezed some of the water away. Little bubbles formed under the tape.
Pebble let out a squeal of delight as she pushed her fingers across the tape again and again.
So we did more. And more. And more and more.
Then I had an idea. We needed big sticky tape. I couldn’t lay my hands on any clear contact in the moment, but I did have a sheet protector nearby. I snipped it open with scissors and gave it to Pebble. She placed it over the pools of coloured water.
We used tape to secure the sheet protector and she pushed the water and bubbles and colour around and around. We talked about colours and bubbles and water and used lots of fun words like squishy and squelchy and oozy.
Then the sticky tape started to give away. The sheet protector slid off. Pebble had an even better idea. She grabbed another coffee filter. She placed it on top of the water and watched as it was soaked up into the filter.
She grabbed another one and another one and another one.
She pushed the filters around, squeezed them out, soaked up some more water and squeezed it out again.
Then she pushed the coffee filters aside and started swirling patterns in the remaining paint. Swirling and swirling and swirling.
THIS is where it’s at.
Have you ever heard of Sir Ken Robinson? He is an inspiration. If you’re passionate about embracing children’s individuality and creativity, watch this. Actually – if you’re not passionate about embracing children’s individuality and creativity, then please watch this.
Next time a child invites you to play, to be creative, to open your mind and forget about the damn dishes: SAY YES.
Got something to say? Go on, you know you want to…