Yesterday we had a policy in our home for the day. ” No electronic screen whatsoever.” I’m happy to announce that it was successful. After an entire summer of “do whatever you feel like”, we are at a point when I’m trying to get things back in order. I really didn’t spend a ton of time with the boys yesterday because I spent the majority of the day painting cabinets outside. There was a minimal amount of complaining from my electronic addict Adrian but he managed to forget about that monkey on his back by about 1:00. The result was that I heard laughter the entire day!! It was wonderful. I’ll list a few of the things I noticed them doing while I was in and out of their world.
-Sturdiest Structure. They made up a new game using marbles, jenga pieces, weights and the dog.
Surely this was Dominic’s idea. He will spend hours and hours creating buildings, structures with a purpose and ships with whatever material he can get his hands on. On this day, they were competing to see who could come up with the Sturdiest Structure, which is also what they called that game. To the untrained eye, it just looks like fun but to an unschooling mom of a kid with SPD, it looks like math, art, training for a future life as an architect, building critical thinking skills, fine motor planning, working on auditory processing, i.e. Adrian taking direction from Dominic and hearing/understanding/following through/not getting frustrated, tactile work (the feel of wood is sometimes bothersome).
-Golden Warrior Ninja Training They used all of our sensory equipment plus furniture, toys and various other objects for this game.
I can say with complete certainty that this was Adrian’s idea. This guy will surely grow up to become a starring act in Cirque du Soleil. He LOVES this kind of thing. Anything dangerous that requires building obstacle courses, crashing into things, hanging upside down, jumping, rolling….you get the picture. This is where he comes alive and you’ll see him the happiest. Not a ton of learning going on here except if you are counting gym and overall creativity . The game also required Adrian to think up, plan and dole out different powers based on what kind of dangerous scenario they were involved in. I wished I was playing a few times. It sounded like a blast. I saw them playing but I also saw them working on (big, fancy words coming up warning) proprioceptive and vestibular input, planning or praxis, bilateral coordination, the list is kind of endless here.
-Planning Houses Dominic can do this deal all day too. It’s really just taking a piece of paper and drawing out plans for a house, hotel, park or another building. Each piece is a different floor and they’ll contain things like master bedroom, bathroom, kitchen delivery nook, viewing room, laboratory and so on. Each floor usually has a theme but he will include doors, windows, toilets, fireplaces and then use another paper to elaborately explain what each room’s purpose is, what it will contain, who will use it, what the color scheme will be, what the style of furniture will be and that sort of thing. Yet again, you can see their personalities and what they are drawn to played out here. I imagine that Dominic will have a long happy career in some type of design. It may be through any number of ways but if we encourage him and give him opportunities to use this gift, I’m sure that he will be happy in life. I can see so many ways that this activity helps them both but I think I’ll stop right there. This post is already long enough.
In our lives, every moment can be a learning opportunity. We try to make sure that we are raising our boys with a sense of wonder and imagination that will not leave them as they grow up. It’s so easy to drop that mindset when the pressures of adult life begin to loom. I want their brains to be trained to see the fun and value of every situation that they’ll encounter, even when it’s unpleasant or hard. I know it’s a little dramatic to think of a lack of t.v. or video game as difficult but for a couple of kids that have had free run for a few months it probably seemed terrible at first. Every time I noticed a what they were doing, I made sure to tell them what I saw them doing. We’re hoping that it’s a foundation for that continuation of joy while understanding that there are real life circumstances involved and that even and especially in the midst of struggle, there is ALWAYS an opportunity. I am just thankful for the opportunity for all of us to be on this journey together.