Saturday, July 07, 2012

I say, "Let them play."

There's a disagreement in our house.  Daily, at least.  I think this is the kind of disagreement that comes when you are around kids A LOT.  Like I am.  Suddenly, things they want to do, experiment, play with really do seem like good ideas.  I don't let them dabble with power tools (without supervision) but I do let them PLAY.  My "yes" or "no" isn't generally driven by "will that make a mess."  I just assume that everything will make a mess.  I'm usually right.

Here's an example:

This is Mimi in our backyard.  She is playing, an okay version, by my account.

Yes, she is wasting water.  Well, kind of.  She watered the beans behind her in the pot.  Now, she's doing science.  She's adding water to chalk to investigate the solubility.  She's also learning elementary physics.  That's a hammer you see and she's pounding the tar out of chalk . . . some wet and some dry.  It's a big hammer and she might smash her finger.  In fact, I think she did.  She cried, I checked for real injury and then I said, "if you're gonna use a hammer, you have to be really careful not to smash your fingers."  She said okay and went back to smashing, now with more caution.   She's practicing hand-eye coordination and she's figuring out the world around her.  She's figuring out how things work by destroying them.

What's your take?  Or rather, what's your parenting style?  Does my above paragraph make sense to you, or are you gasping with your hand over your mouth and saying, "She's wasting water!  She's making a mess!  She's ruining her skirt!  She shouldn't have a hammer!  She's making a mess! She's making a mess!  She's making a mess!"

Parental disclaimer:  Obviously, I AM nearby, supervising this escapade.  I can see what she's doing perfectly well from behind the camera lens.


Heather said...

Let them have science! This is just the sort of natural exploration that children should be free to do! Structure is important, but too much can be stifling. I think it's fabulous that Mimi is investigating the world around her, and good on you for encouraging her (and keeping a close eye on her poor fingers)!

Homestead said...

1. Water is cheap. (Ok... I have a well... my water is cheap.) 2. Mess? It will hose off. If she was doing this on the living room carpet... then I'd say no. 3. Skirt? Or fabulous oxy-clean commercial? Clothes wash... and I have yet to meet a stain I can't fix. 4. Hammer... I have no comment... my 8-year-old has a hatchet. And, do you know how much fun you can have with a bag of stale in-the-shell peanuts and a 16 oz rubber mallet?? 5. You forgot art. She will learn about mixing colors to make new ones here in a second.... And when you hose it all off together she will learn a new color.... puce.