It’s like it was yesterday – my memories of being a child in the early Spring and playing in the puddles from the quickly melting snow. It was one of my favorite times of the year.
There are no two ways about it – we have puddles galore outside now – big puddles waiting to become rivers, bays, streams, canals and creeks – whatever one wants them to be. And there is probably nothing more inviting and nothing more fun and satisfying than for a child to have permission to play in the puddles.
It doesn’t take any special material, except for good boots for some good old-fashioned wading, jumping and stomping to take place. That’s the way it usually starts, but don’t stop them there. Because with enough time thrown in with nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, puddles will offer your children a veritable experience of hands-on independent learning, problem solving, imagination, and total joy. Sticks are fun for stick swishing, pebbles for pebble tossing, rocks and twigs for dams and bridges, leaves for floating, milk cartons for boats, shovels for adding more snow to the mix. How about rushing through puddles on a favorite “ride’em” toy?
My favorite puddle was the smaller “stream” that came from under an overhanging snow bank and meandered in a long and curvy path. We would create a story world of our own, in the unrushed afternoon sunshine. We were “workers”, busy, happy, involved, and focused with a project at hand.
I remember our young daughter at her fun alternative school playing out in the backyard area where a large pool of water had formed. Egypt having been a recent theme at the school, this puddle naturally became the Nile River and many extended lunch hours were granted to take advantage of this rich cooperative river play.
I encourage all of you to make use of the puddle days we most certainly have ahead of us this Spring. Puddle play lends itself beautifully to different ages playing together – children empowered by freely exploring and creating their own special adventures.
Childhood – still full of wonder.