Once again The Parenting Place’s Children’s Festival has come and gone – yet the glow of the morning’s activities lingers in my mind.
So many folks commented about how peaceful it all felt. How could that be with so many children present?
The answer, I believe, is that the children were busy -with real materials, intentional as they worked at their play, exploring with freedom of choice and deep concentration.
Free to be.
I watched an older toddler, probably around two and a half years of age, digging in the dried corn bin in the “farm” area. She filled her measuring cup with the corn, picked up a plastic egg, realized she had to take it apart first, so put down the measuring cup, took the egg apart, picked the measuring cup back up and, with such “tongue-biting” care, filled just the right amount of corn into the egg, and then snapped it up tight.
There was no concern for who was watching. (In fact I was the only one and she did not know that.) She needed no audience, no “look Mommy, look Daddy”, no “watch me”.
In fact, an audience would have broken the spell.
This satisfaction was totally hers to own.
And so, she then opened up the egg, dumped out the corn and began the process again.
This engagement was not limited to the very young child. There were plenty of older children creating freely at the Art Factory; letting their imaginations take hold at the Soap Factory, the Mud Kitchen and Construction Site; pretending at Dinosaur Island and the “Campground”; building at Cars and Ramps.
Free to be.
Adults stationed at different activities asked me “what should we do when the children come?” I told them, “the children will know” and they did.
At a time in our lives when technology seems to be the answer, the means in which to make our children smarter, quicker, more in touch with their world around them, I wonder – really?