Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Contraption

This evening, my kids built The Contraption. Comprised of paper towel tubes, a broken down tea bag box and an industrial thread spool (I have no idea where that came from!). They ran a little soccer ball eraser through it and had tons of fun.

Why we buy toys for the kids I'm not sure, because left to their own devices they come up with incredible things like The Contraption and it entertains them for hours. The Contraption is still set up in their room, and they will be playing with it come 6 AM. Now this post is not completely about The Contraption, though it does provide entree to talk about a post I read on Catskill Cottage Seed about intuition. Written by my Twitter-friend Richard Reeve it asked the following question:

The question this raises for me: does our education system beat out of us our ability to play? “Stop the day dreaming and do your workbook!” Perhaps it’s wrong to think that daydreaming is nothing but an escape. It’s a disservice to our capability to squash one of the four psychological functions.
I commented there, and believe this, because I see it in my town and neighborhood that the beating begins before kids hit the schools. Kids are running to this class and that class then to this play-date to that one then to this party and then to that party. They have zero unstructured time. Perhaps it's our lack of parenting chops, but our kids, while in some classes, sometimes, have lots of time to play in the mud and muck around in the backyard hunting for rocks and sticks, build forts, play in the sandbox and build The Contraption in their room. We let them be kids. We let them play. We let them explore. We try to stay out of their hair (this a two way street, to be honest). It's a joy to watch and I think they'll be better served in the long run.

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