Thursday, August 25, 2011

Down the Tubes

First, let me start by saying that this post has nothing to do with anything being flushed down a toilet. We did have a little incident recently which involved a small bottle of aloe, left by the sink, being poured out so that Kiddo could play with the bottle, but that's not the topic of this post, either. But what was behind the Pouring Out of the Aloe, I am dearly appreciating.

What I am celebrating today is Kiddo's sheer inventiveness. For the last day and a half, our zinc washtub has been filled with formerly-sudsy water and all manner of construction on a marble run we built for it. At the top of the three-based run sits an underwater rescue mini-sub, it's hatch door open for water to be poured into before it goes down the tubes, or rather, the marble-run sections. Water goes down a couple of pieces, and is then collected into a blue plastic bowl perched on another part. Below that is a yellow cup, ready to catch run-off. There have been several incarnations of how/where things go that I find intriguing. At one point, our wine-vacuum suction pump (you know, that plastic "t" shaped thing you use to suck the air out of wine bottles) was at the top, for "a pump" for him to pull up and push down on. As I type, pieces from his Tubation toy are being attached, since the cardboard tube he'd brought from his room did as predicted, sogging out in the water. A funnel is requisitioned from my preschool sensory prop bag. (Yes, I'm one of those teacher-parents...in my brain, living with a four year old, preschool is never out, summer or no, and the prop bag never gets put away.) He's figured out a way to wedge the tubes into the marble race and all manner of tubes are being combined, never mind that the holes in some tubes will send water flying out sideways! instead of straight down. I've suggested only using pieces which have two holes instead of three or four, which will eliminate my chant of "get a rag, please, to wipe up that wet floor".

When does it end? When does his brain stop? It's so subjective, what kids want to learn. Trace letters? Not so much. Build a working, nonsensical "fountain" which he calls a "Big Moon with Water in It" and he's busy with trial and error, adjusting and readjusting, having the time of his life and learning, I believe, what his brain was wanting to learn right now. With this downtime to play in, he's noticeably more cooperative and so much happier overall. He also seems more engaged when I ask him to do basic problem-solving. I don't believe this is coincidence.

We'll  have time for workbooks and such while we go out for meals. The last day or so remind me of how busy and adult-oriented we have been. My adult brain, logical and seeking order, would tell him right now to put away many of the items he's pulled out of the bag at present, but my heart, in conjunction with my teacher-brain, understands that this is just what he needs, as he tells a cup and some chopsticks "okay, now you can play water". He is loving his world right now, and I am loving to watch his love of it.

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