I stood next to a little girl in the stuffed animal aisle at the Goodwill Store. She had a problem – a hard decision to make. She laid both stuffies on the floor, side by side, closed her eyes, and ceremoniously began to chant – “Eenie, meenie, miney, moe, catch a tiger by the toe. If he hollers let him go. My mother said to pick the very best one and you are not it.”
Even with such an ernest attempt to fairly decide which one to buy and take home with her, it was difficult. She started over again several times, perhaps to see if she could make it come out differently. Her mom came around the corner as I moved along, and I believe the decision was hastened, “one or the other – let’s go!”
There are so many choices out there for all of us in every aspect of our life, from the everyday supermarket variety to the really hard meaningful family and lifetime choices we might face over time. Letting our children experience making their own limited choices about simple everyday things is empowering and often a good way to avoid power struggles.
Choices are a big part of the master plan for The Parenting Place’s Children’s Festival 2014 – where play happens. Children have the opportunity to freely choose whichever activity it is that attracts their interest. And within each activity, we attempt to keep options open so children have the chance and the freedom to select from many different materials and to do it all in their own personal way.
For me it is always so revealing to observe children engaged and “working” at what they have chosen with such focus and purpose. Over the years, parents have recognized and shared their enthusiasm for the types of simple play options we carefully select for our Festival.
I hope you will all make the first big choice and get your buttons for this year’s Children’s Festival 2014 , August 23rd, 9 AM to 12 PM at Myrick Park. Buttons are $4 each, 3 for $10; $5 the day of the Festival; children under one year are free. Please keep in mind that all proceeds will help us continue to fund our free parent education and support programs. Buttons can be purchased at all Parenting Place sites. For more information, call The Parenting Place, 784-8125.
Eenie, meenie, miney, moe,
Off to the Children’s Festival we go!