We had a lovely weekend of almost summer-like temperatures. We took every opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy it while we could. The little ones stopped by several times to check the garden and play in the field. As I was watching them I realized how much money we, as a society, waste on toys and things to entertain the children when they don’t need it at all. Nature will grab their attention every time. Today it was a wooly bear that “popped” on my grandson which he found hysterical, but his mother was grossed out by it and sent him packing to wash his hands. Saturday it was a praying mantis.
Hours went by without a complaint or argument between them, other than needing a water bottle refilled often. Dandelions have been renamed “wish berries”. You must make a wish then blow the seeds every where, after which the wish is revealed to all in hearing distance. They were mesmerized by the bees on the wildflowers, They explained to me that we plant the flowers to give the bees nectar so they don’t go hungry and in return they give us honey so we can be healthy. And what child isn’t drawn to a large rock? The praying mantis was the first one I spotted this year. It was busy eating bugs around the compost. The children had never seen one before and sat for a good half hour in one spot watching it stalk its prey. I was shocked to see how long they could sit quietly watching a bug.
I have received more cardboard boxes from the neighboring business to use in the garden. The little ones commandeer them for a day or two then happily remove the tape, knowing it isn’t good for the garden and break down the boxes for me as their way of helping. If there is one “toy” every child seems to love it’s a nice sturdy box.
While still in one piece a box can be a house, a train, a car, boat, and even a cradle for dolls. Of course there are breaks from the cardboard to dig up rocks from the ground or practice balancing….and then it’s’ back to the boxes for more fun.
Another source of fun is dirt, or in this case compost. I never have to worry about turning the compost as they love digging in it and turning it over to see which scraps haven’t decomposed yet. They are always surprised by how quickly the scraps disappear. The walk up the walkway has to be done creatively, you can’t just walk. In this case a hula hoop proved to be an entertaining way to approach the field. And while dirt will hold the attention of one, another needs breaks to sit down and create some art, of course the dirt calls and she quickly returns to help turn the bed.
And then it’s back to the cardboard, with a small break to clean the headlights on mom’s car. An attachment to a vacuum cleaner has been my grandson’s favorite thing to play with now for almost 2 years.
Can you believe there is still more fun to be had with the cardboard? I received another box while they were playing and that brought out more ideas. It was great fun to break down the box and see that if they ran real fast the cardboard would “fly”.
There was one toy that they took outside each day and that is a hula hoop I have here still from when I was able to use it for exercise. It’s no wonder from the fun they have with this why it continues to sell.
There you have a weekend of fun through the eyes of a child.
What is free, or in many cases things we see as trash can be a lot more fun than toys. Above all, nature will entertain better than anything you can buy.
Do you still listen to your inner child?