Nov
16
2011

  Natural Enrichment Activity

I thought I'd tire W out with a walk to the mailbox before nap time, but it wasn't that simple. There was a break in the rain, but it was still generally wet out, so I put W in his old shoes. This turned out to be a good thing, since he was instantly drawn to the muddy puddles along the driveway.

Especially the one that was two inches deep and several feet long. He waded right through that, then stopped. When he was done stomping and splashing with his feet, he bent down and began splashing with his hands. He was quickly becoming soaked to the skin from the waist down, but it wasn't that cold out so I just let him play.

Then he decided he wanted to take gravel from the side of the path and throw it into the puddle. More splashes! I was carrying M, but we have no seating near this part of the driveway, so I just stood there vigilantly standing guard against any delivery trucks that might rumble through. Then I prodded W to see if some leaves would float. I thought they would, but they only floated for a short time before sinking. I was getting bored so I tried to hurry W along, but he refused because he was "washing the leaves". He was really swishing them around like he was hand-washing laundry, which was pretty cute so I relented and let him continue his play.

As I watched him, I thought that this was probably a lot like a "station" that would be set up in the Explorations Play Studio in town. I'm just guessing since I've not been there myself, but it seems like the sort of thing they'd have. Except that there would be a table set up with a bin full of water atop it, and then piles of gravel in buckets nearby. The kids there would probably not get nearly as wet as W did, and they'd stay warmer, not that either seemed to bother W at all. Then I thought that the play studio was probably a really nice resource for people who lived in apartments, who might not have a safe place to play in puddles with gravel. And who would want to set up something like that in their home? Not me, for sure. As messy as W got outside in the wet, I was happy we were outside! But I don't think I'll be going to the play studio myself. There are just too many fun and interesting things to explore right around here, and I don't have to do any set up or clean up, I just take the boys out into the yard.

We eventually made it up to the mailbox and back, but W never tired out. He wanted to keep playing when we got back home, and was making some elaborate blend of sand, mulch, and potting soil near the sandbox. I wasn't paying much attention, M was asleep in the moby wrap so I was sitting quietly on the porch glider flipping through catalogs. When it was time to come in, I just had w take off his pants and shoes outside, where I shook the dirt off as best I could. I'll do some laundry tonight or tomorrow.

W continued to play nicely indoors this afternoon, so much so that I decided to forgo my planned trip to the grocery store and just relaxed on the sofa with M while W played. I started to organize the toys in the play room a bit. I think W is getting old enough he can keep things organized with supervision. He was keenly interested in what I was doing, and was happy to help. For example, when I designated a bin for all his cars and other toys with wheels, he was able to go through the boxes and pull out all the appropriate stuff. And he figured out which toys were "baby toys" for M, which I've now got in the very bottom bins, ready for whenever M decides to start crawling. All small toys are now in the top bins, but I may have to remove them completely once M starts pulling himself up, but that's a very long way away.